As Fort Osage’s senior wrestlers entered the gym one by one and joined their parents in front of the mat, Brandon Wackerman noticed it was taking some time to get through the ceremony.
And he was just fine with that.
“We had a lot of seniors,” Wackerman said. “That’s a nice thing. That’s the most seniors we’ve had in the past four years.”
Fort Osage sent its 10 seniors – six boys and four girls – out in style Wednesday night. After the ceremony, the Indians picked up two convincing dual victories, whipping Shawnee Mission Northwest 69-6 and Raytown 72-0 in their last home duals of the season.
Fort Osage’s senior-laden squad won every competed match in both duals, 11 of them with pins. Except for the 170-pound division, Fort Osage had a competitor in every class in both duals, which pleased Wackerman about as much as honoring the seniors.
“We wrestled fine and we wrestled well as a team,” Wackerman said. “It was nice to have the gang all back. A lot of teams are dealing with attrition, a lot of teams are dealing with injuries, but we had a very full team tonight.”
Gavin Roller, the Indians’ 220-pounder, celebrated his final home appearance with two pins. He got out of early trouble against Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Marques Cook for a second-period fall and scored another second-period fall against Raytown’s Zane Scanlon. The two wins lifted Roller’s record to 28-6. Last year, injuries and other issues held him to just seven matches.
“Wrestling so far this year has been amazing for me,” Roller said. “Coming off a seven-match season last year, it’s a blessing for sure.”
A blessing that Wackerman feels Roller, who has the highest match count on the team this year, has truly earned.
“He’s one of the only wrestlers on the team who hasn’t even taken a forfeit win this year,” Wackerman said. “He’s competed in every event we’ve had – every dual, every tournament. He’s had a lot of mat time and that pays off.”
Sophomore Dylan Reed also pinned both of his opponents at 120 pounds. Kyle Lehotta (113 pounds), Jeremiah Phillips (152), Josh Rieck (160) and Stevie Gabb (285) had falls against Shawnee Mission Northwest; Keegan Emerick (106), Ethan Lopez (145) and Connor Barney (182) scored pins against Raytown.
With just one more tri-meet to go, Fort Osage is now 10-1 after Wednesday’s wins. If the Indians beat North Kansas City Feb. 4 at Rockhurst, they will win the Suburban Middle Seven title outright.
And the seniors will have something else to celebrate.
“Our team has definitely worked phenomenal in the wrestling room,” Roller said. “We’ve been wrestling our hearts out.”