FORTVILLE — Chad Masters took ribbing with a smile at the hands of Mt. Vernon senior Jeremiah Kolter on Wednesday night.
Sharing a playful moment with Kolter after his Marauders wrestling team fell 60-18 to visiting Shenandoah on senior night, the head coach happily absorbed the impromptu roasting.
“He gave me his hairstyle, and I like it,” Kolter joked while stroking his black locks as Masters wiped his closely-shaved scalp. “I love the tie he’s wearing, too.
“You know coach, you should quit when we’re done. I can’t come back. I can’t be a super senior.”
One of Masters’ eight seniors, nothing could spoil the mood for Kolter or Masters despite the outcome on the scoreboard following the team’s lone home meet of the year.
Joining the Mt. Vernon wrestling program as an assistant in 2013 where barely 15 kids occupied the roster, Masters, who has been head coach the past four years, won’t soon forget his seniors or their success, and neither will they.
“I love you coach,” Kolter added as he wrapped up his stand-up routine with a hug. “Thank you.”
“I love you, too,” the coach responded.
For seniors Peyton Wuerch, Drake Tackett, Luke Stanley, Kolter, Noah Hanson, Gavin Hanson, Jackson Bond and Nigel Powe, the night was a celebration of the journey and the Marauders’ record-setting 2016-17 season spearheaded by their upperclassmen.
Three years ago, the team mustered 10 dual meet wins. Last year, they soared to 17. Their 22-11 record this year set a new standard, and it was inspired by competitors like Kolter, Masters said.
Living with cerebral palsy, Kolter has wrestled since middle school despite his condition and all four years under Masters’ watch. He never takes a second off, the coach emphasized.
“I’ve never seen a kid with that big of a heart,” Masters remarked. “He goes out there and fights. He’s an amazing kid. All of them are.”
On senior night, three of them took the mat for the regular-season finale in Kolter, Gavin Hanson and Tackett. Two were unfortunately sidelined by injuries with Wuerch, the team’s starting heavyweight, and Noah Hanson (18-9), a 145-pounder, out.
Wuerch is battling a sprained ankle, while Hanson’s season is over with a groin injury he endured during last weekend’s Hoosier Heritage Conference meet.
Hanson’s brother, Gavin, gave his ailing brother something to cheer about, however, scoring the team’s fastest pin at 1 minute, 18 seconds at 145 pounds. The fall was his 13th on the year and ran his record up to 17-16.
“I told him before he went out, I have to have it tonight. You have to go out and pin the kid, and he responded,” Masters said.
The Shenandoah Raiders won behind nine pins, coming off of a strong Class A runner-up finish at the 2016-17 IHSWCA Team State Duals last month.
Living up to their billing, the Raiders only gave up two contested matches and a forfeit.
Mt. Vernon sophomore PJ Sterrett (24-14) won his match at 182 by pin in 3:17 while sophomore Chase Wilkerson (35-6) won at 120 by forfeit.
What was most impressive for Masters, though, were the efforts of hard-nosed kids like Kolter and Stanley, who wrestled his first match of the year on Wednesday at 195.
Losing by fall, Stanley heard the appreciation from the crowd and his team.
“Tonight was special. It was huge having Luke out here. He dislocated his knee his freshman year. He’s had knee issues pretty much the entire time,” Masters said. “To get him back on senior night, he was just cleared last week, that’s something I’ll remember.”
The team’s record 22 wins won’t fade anytime soon either.
“It’s amazing because we set the record. We came out this season with 30-plus kids and we knew we would have a really good team with a lot of seniors,” Gavin Hanson said. “We really wanted it and we worked to get it.”
Shenandoah 60, Mt. Vernon 18
106: AJ Black (S) win by forfeit
113: Blake Alfrey (S) def. Jeremiah Kolter (MV) by fall 3:46
120: Chase Wilkerson (MV) win by forfeit
126: Dallas Pugsley (S) def. Max Hayes (MV) by fall 5:10
132: Hayden Lohrey (S) def. Chris Wilkerson (MV) by dec. 1-0
138: Ryan Surguy (S) def. Aiden Alford (MV) by fall 4:28
145: Jordan Rodecap (S) def. Matt Wheeler (MV) by fall 0:39
152: Gavin Hanson (MV) def. Jake Webster (S) by fall 1:18
160: Josh Gee (S) def. Drake Tackett (MV) by dec. 3-1
170: Silas Alfred (S) def. Drake Kendrex (MV) by fall 5:53
182: PJ Sterrett (MV) def. Colten Walls (S) by fall 3:17
195: Gabe Walker (S) def. Luke Stanley (MV) by fall 3:22
220: Coleson White (S) def. James Corbin (MV) by fall 0:43
285: Austin Walls (S) def. Jackson Bond (MV) by fall 0:20