JEFFERSON – Rossville sophomore Austin Rangel didn’t expect to be a varsity wrestler this season.
The 145-pound spot was held down by a senior – Seth Querry – who had success throughout his prep career at both Rossville and Western. But that weight class became open after Querry was kicked off the team.
And Rangel has taken full advantage of it.
After pinning Clinton Prairie’s Lars Hovde in Tuesday’s dual meet, Rangel pushed his overall season record to 11-5 – continuing a win streak which included a perfect 3-0 mark in the county meet to win the individual title at 145.
“I didn’t think it was a realistic goal (to win county) but I just had to put my mind to it,” Rangel said. “Going from JV to varsity’s a big jump and going from a lightweight to a regular weight is a big jump.”
Rangel said his favorite match was pinning Frankfort’s Miguel Martinez in the county meet, in large part because Rangel moved from Frankfort to Rossville before the school year. H e also wrestled for the Hot Dogs last season.
“I just had to focus and figure out what I should do next, think ahead and be one step further ahead than him,” Rangel said. “That gave me a lot of confidence in myself and as a wrestler in general.”
Rangel pinned all three opponents at county. He wrestled his first varsity match against Tri-Central on Dec. 11, the Hornets’ sixth event of the season.
“He’s come ready to wrestle,” said Rossville head coach Mike Fadness. “It clicked within the last couple weeks. We’ve been drilling hard and he’s really thinking smart with it. It’s paying off.”
Querry was 15-9 in his matches before leaving the team.
Just six days after Rossville (11-20) beat Prairie 54-30 at the county meet, the two teams went head-to-head Tuesday in Jefferson. The Hornets earned another victory, winning this one by a 48-36 decision.
Every match was decided either by pin or forfeit.
Rossville’s pins were Kyler Crow (126) over Korey Murphy in 31 seconds, Adam Easterday (132) over Jakub Wallsmith in 2:59, Trent Fadness (138) over Austin Biery in 1:53, and Jacob Guffey over Monty Young in 2:00.
“The lower weights are really where our money’s made,” Mike Fadness said. “Kyler’s probably one of my most raw and talented wrestlers I have. He’s going to be dynamic. He won the Frankfort invitational as an eight-grader so he’s a good wrestler. He’s just naturally gifted.”
Prairie’s (9-15) pins were Jerehme Walker (120) over Zak Soiseth in 37 seconds, Nathan Moore (152) over Shayden Hughes in 3:05 and Tyler Casey (220) over Billy Dotson in 3:10.
“(Walker) wrestled the kid in county, and it’s a nice couple victories for him,” said Prairie head coach Jeremy Corbin. “He’s also down a weight class. He was wrestling 126 when he shouldn’t have been.
“Nathan’s been wrestling the best he’s ever wrestled this late in the year, so that’s good. Everyone’s finally getting down to the weight class they need to be at. Lars took a hard loss but he can compete with (Rangel).”
Tyler Fadness (106), Chase Latizia (113) and Kraig Tumey (285) won via forfeit for Rossville, and Kenneth Boller (160), Tyler Smith (170) and Brandon Wilhite (195) did the same for Prairie.
In junior varsity action, Rossville’s Devin Hodgen pinned Stephen Good in 1:09, Prairie’s Bailey Jenkins beat DJ Stitts via decision, 12-10, and Tumey pinned Alec Byrd in 15 seconds.
Rossville sophomore Austin Rangel prepares to battle his opponent, Clinton Prairie’s Lars Hovde, in a 145-pound match in Tuesday’s dual meet.
Clinton Prairie’s Nathan Moore has the advantage over Rossville’s Shayden Hughes in a 152-pound match in Tuesday’s dual meet.