FORTVILLE — A young, inexperienced Mt. Vernon wrestling team got an early-season lesson on Wednesday night.
In their first home dual meet of the season, the Marauders fell 60-11 to Carmel.
“Facing a team like Carmel that fights hard helps us emphasize that we’re not fighting hard enough. That’s how you’re supposed to do it,” Mt. Vernon head coach Randal Hayes said. “There were a few matches that they didn’t expect to win, and they won because they fought harder.”
The Greyhounds came out on top in 12 of the 14 matches over a Mt. Vernon team still learning how to compete at the varsity level. The Marauders entered the night with just one senior in the lineup, and just a few juniors.
“We’re still shifting our lineup, still getting guys into the right weights, and we’re just really, really inexperienced,” Hayes said.
Starting at 190 pounds, Mt. Vernon’s Joliba Brogan fought hard for nearly all three periods before Carmel’s Adel Navarrett won by fall late in the final period for an early 6-0 team lead.
Mt. Vernon’s Devin Kendrex answered with the Marauders first of two wins on the night. He defeated Lucas Brock by technical fall 19-4 at 215 pounds.
A forfeit at 285 pounds began a string of four straight Carmel victories and wins in 11 of the final 12 matches.
Close, final-second losses in two of the lightweight matches swung things in Carmel’s favor and made the score look more one-sided than it could have been.
At 106 pounds an escape in the closing seconds gave Carlo Federici the 6-5 win by decision over Ty Barnhart, and then at 120 pounds, a takedown of Connor Bayliss by Carmel’s Jake Gardner with 40 seconds left gave him the win by decision.
At 138 pounds, another late takedown by the Greyhounds secured another victory. In a 5-4 match in favor of Mt. Vernon’s Britton Bitner, Eli Penquite made a late move to secure two points and the 6-5 win.
“We’re so young that we just don’t understand where we are at in the match. We lost four matches in the last five seconds. The score looks lopsided, but that was a much tighter dual than what we thought it would be,” Hayes said. “Our youth with our freshmen and sophomores showed. Those are some of the ones that lost at the end. They were winning and just didn’t understand how to win. They don’t understand how to do that yet.”
The Marauders closed out the meet with losses by fall in four of the final five matches, and on the night the Greyhounds won seven matches by fall.
Carmel’s Jackson Schmidt pinned Mt. Vernon’s Baylor Cobb at 144 pounds, Michael Major defeated Robert Dodson at 150 pounds, Jairo Ojeda won by pin in a hard-fought match with Brooks McKeeman at 157 pounds, and Drew VanBibber pinned Shawn Taylor at 165 pounds.
“That’s just guys not understanding where they are at. The body awareness they just don’t have yet,” Hayes said. “For more than half of this team, this is their first varsity action. They just don’t know what they don’t know yet.”
Along with Kendrex’s technical fall, the other Mt. Vernon win came from another of the Marauders returning state finalists.
At 126 pounds, Eli Broady grabbed leads of 2-0, 4-1, 6-1, 9-1, and 11-1 before eventually winning by fall over Carmel’s Ethan Hurwitz.
“They looked good. Both of them still have some things to clean up, and they know that because they’re coachable. Even though they go out and win by tech fall or fall they immediately come back and look for me to correct some things because they still make mistakes,” Hayes said. “They understand that they still have a ways to go, which is good. That’s what makes those guys as good as they are. They understand that there’s always growth to be made.”
Mt. Vernon will look to bounce back on Saturday in the Shamrock Duals at Westfield.