Even if several wins come from simply having somebody who can go the mat and get his arm raised, it represents progress for the Van Horn wrestling team.
Due in part to having a full deck of cards to deal, the youthful Falcons won the round-robin of Crossroads Conference wrestling teams Thursday, beating Butler 60-18 and Sherwood 60-24 on its home mat.
Van Horn, which improved to 17-2 in duals, won half of the six bouts and gained eight forfeits in the opener against Butler. Against Sherwood it recorded six pins and had a 4-1 advantage in forfeits. In between, Sherwood beat Butler 48-24.
“That’s really a key for us,” Van Horn coach Jeff Tolbert said of having a deeper, more spread roster. “I can remember not too long ago when we didn’t fill a whole lineup – sometimes we only filled half a lineup.
“We had to shuffle some kids around in the Sherwood dual because they’re a good team, and we had a starter out sick (138 pounds). We knew we had to have a few guys step up and fill a role.”
Tyler Horton (152 pounds) and Andrew Huddleston (126) won by decision against Butler, Huddleston’s win by a 16-11 count. Avery Crocker (160) added a pin in 1:48 after he reversed out of a takedown.
Carlos Cubas (182), Demerick Freven (220), Junior Ulmer (285) and Josh Faustlin (152) all had first-period pins against Sherwood, while Marcus Wilkins (126) and Michael Duncan (138) got their pins in the second period. Freven reversed out of a five-point move before getting his pin.
“I feel good about the effort, but I also feel good about the technique,” Tolbert said. “I’m very pleased with how we performed.”
Deymi Gonzalez (106/113) and Jayme Kennedy (113/120) each gained two forfeit wins. Faustlin and Wilkins also went 2-0, getting forfeit wins a class down against Butler.
Wilkins was the lone senior on Van Horn’s squad until he convinced ROTC friend Leeland Lityna to join.
“In years past I had good times,” he said. “This being my senior year, the younger guys, they’re all a little ornery, but they’re so much fun to be around. They put out a good vibe to be around.”
Wilkins said he’s seen improvement among the Falcons in their commitment and dedication to certain moves after consistent drilling.
“Coach, he’s been beating it into our heads that it’s basic,” he said. “It’s the basic stuff that will get you there.”