GREENFIELD — It didn’t appear Senior Night was going to go like Isaiah “Zeke” Holden planned.
Son of Greenfield-Central long-time head coach Josh Holden, Zeke has spent most of his life either rolling around on or wrestling on the blue and gold mats.
Due to recovery from illnesses and taking precautions before next week’s sectional tournament, Mt. Vernon didn’t have a wrestler in Holden’s 152-pound weight class for Tuesday’s season finale between the Cougars and Marauders.
After all those years of wrestling, 14 according to coach and grappler, he wasn’t going to be able to wrestle in his final appearance at his home away from.
That’s when family stepped in. No, not the head coach pulling rank, the wrestling family.
Junior John Ubelhor stepped away from his 160-pound match to let Zeke wrestle in the final match of the night.
Holden pinned Mt. Vernon’s Shawn Taylor in 30 seconds to wrap up what was probably closer to the Senior Night he had envisioned.
The team dual had already been decided, 42-16 in favor of the Cougars, but getting Holden, and fellow varsity senior, Cohen Hager, the opportunity to wrestle one more time at home, made it an extra special Senior Night for the Cougars.
Holden, Hager, Brodie Morris and Adam Saxon were all recognized before the match. Though Mt. Vernon didn’t have a wrestler in his weight class, Saxon got a chance to wrestle a teammate during the junior varsity portion of the night. Morris, not normally in the varsity lineup, dressed for the big show at 132 and took a win by forfeit.
“This sport and family that we’ve built at Greenfield it’s been my life —and I’m almost 18 — for 18 years,” Zeke Holden said. “Not a lot means more to me than this place, this building, all these people. I didn’t want to go (wrestle) for me. I felt I owed them at least a spectacle or a match or something because of all the love I’ve been given throughout all 14 years of my wrestling career.”
The Marauders initially offered 145-pound standout Aiden Kiner to go up a class to wrestle Holden, but the Cougars weren’t going to take away a match from another senior, Hager.
“When we weighed in there was no other (152),” Zeke Holden said. “I kind of knew they were going to forfeit match. I kind of moseyed along in the warmups. I was fighting tears … (Ubelhor) is my drill partner, my brother. He has gotten me through this year. He did a very selfless act and I’m so thankful to him. He gave me the opportunity to go out and perform tonight. When I got that news, warmup was go-go-go.”
“Getting a chance to celebrate the seniors is big,” coach Holden said. “We went around before the meet and asked, ‘How long have you been here?’ My kid has been here 14 years and he’s only 17. He’s been a part of the program for a long time. This is the last time he’s going to wrestle in this gym. That’s weird to think about. The other guys have been here a long time, too.
“We had a sophomore at 132 step out so our senior could come in and take the forfeit so he could have a special moment. We have special kids that care about each other, pretty neat.”
Of the 14 matches, there were three forfeits, including two double-forfeits. Of the 11 competitions, five were rematches from Saturday’s Hoosier Heritage Conference meet.
All five had the same outcomes. Mt. Vernon got wins from Kiner (at 145 over Hager), Russell Weaver (at 195 over Tristen Lanum) and Eli Broady (at 120 over Cade Zuber). Greenfield-Central picked up wins from Kannon Zuber (at 138 over Tristan Trevino) and Brayden Flener (at 285 over Jake Mellentine).
When Broady defeated Cade Zuber, Mt. Vernon had cut Greenfield-Central’s lead to 21-13, but the Cougars were able to clinch it when, at 126, Dylan Luther earned a pin in 4:48 over Carson Hill and Morris picked up the forfeit at 132. G-C had extended its lead to 33-13 with only three matches remaining.
Greenfield-Central also got wins from Lincoln Parsons (113), Clay Guenin (170) and Silas Frye (182). All were coming off conference titles earned Saturday.
Mt. Vernon’s conference champion, Devin Kendrex (220) had the other Marauder victory.
“This was a good dual. The score may not reflect it, but that was a good dual and there were some great matches,” Mt. Vernon coach Randal Hayes said. “I thought both teams wrestled hard and wrestled well. That bodes well for the sectional for both teams.”