On a night that saw six weight classes forfeited, Eastern got the best of Western in Thursday’s Howard County rivalry wrestling match in a 45-36 win in Greentown.
Despite forfeiting five spots, the Comets (2-1) won seven of the eight contested matches, including six by pin to hold off the Panthers in a preview of squads that will see each other again in conference and sectional matches later in the season.
“Forfeiting  points is a downer, but it worked out all right [Thursday] night,” Eastern coach Bob Jarrett said. “It was a good, fun win. Going into the last match [the score] was 39-31, so it was still anyone’s match. Western had a few kids out hurt, so it balanced out. We have some freshmen wrestling varsity, and we’re forfeiting [several] spots because we just don’t have bodies for those weight classes, so that made it even from the get-go. It’s a great team win any time you can wrestle a cross-county rival. Western is always tough, but we have an excellent team too. We had a great crowd that was very pleased. It was a great win for our kids.”
For Eastern, Ty Swisher pinned Aidan Frazier at 106, Isaac Hanny pinned Payton Lechner at 113, Corbin Hetzner was a 3-1 winner over Mason Shepherd at 126, Trevor Farris pinned Baily Paugh at 132, Taylor Arnold pinned Logan Stout at 138, Andrew Turner pinned Tyler Tackett at 160, Chris Biddle accepted a forfeit at 170, and Evan Ellis pinned David Ryan at 285.
For Western (9-4), Caleb Maddox pinned Tanner Reed at 120, while Cody Stout (145), Dustin Hinkle (152), Corey Hinkle (182), Stephen Ptak (195) and Russell McDorman (220) all accepted forfeits for the Panthers.
“We didn’t match up well. That’s just the bottom line,” Western coach Chad Shepherd said. “If the coin toss if different at the beginning – where you have to pick odd or even matches – if we get the coin toss, we probably win the meet. It was just one of those deals. I wish it would’ve worked out differently because I have kids who need mat time and didn’t get any [Thursday] night. Eastern wrestled well and you have to give them credit. I told the kids all week they were going to come at us and they did. Every time we wrestle Eastern we get their best effort, and that’s what you want. We have things we definitely can go back and try to improve. It just wasn’t a very productive night for us.”