GUYS MILLS — Maplewood celebrated its senior wrestlers during Wednesday night’s non-region dual against the visiting Commodore Perry Panthers. Although the Tigers came up short by a 33-27 margin, three of the four Maplewood seniors came away with memorable wins in their final home matches.
Steven Heme, Lucas Kennedy, JD McFadden and Jonathan Woge were honored in a pregame senior ceremony before taking to the home mat for the final time of their varsity careers.
Heme (285) and Kennedy (138) landed pins, while McFadden picked up a win by decision at 182. Woge was kept on the mat by a tough opponent who had placed in three tournaments that Commodore Perry has competed in so far in the campaign.
It was a bittersweet night for Maplewood coach John Parker to see his senior class compete at The Woodshed for the final time.
“I’ve coached JD and Steven since they were in kindergarten,” Parker said. “It’s a little emotional and a proud moment for me. Woge and Lucas, I’ve had them both too. I’m proud of all of them. They’ve wrestled a lot of matches with me, and I hate to see them go.”
Kennedy was matched up against Zane Grinnell in the first contested bout of the evening after Commodore Perry’s Ashton Armagost claimed the first six points on a forfeit at 126. Early on, Kennedy and Grinnell exchanged a handful of takedowns and escapes before the Tiger senior worked for a slim 6-5 advantage at the end of the first period. Following a scoreless second frame, Grinnell’s choice of taking the bottom to start the third came back to haunt him, as Kennedy was able to land the pin 36 seconds after the whistle.
“I just gave it all I had,” Kennedy said. “It felt really good. That’s probably the hardest I’ve wrestled all season, and I gave it everything.”
Heme was also to earn six points on senior night despite battling an illness. The Maplewood heavyweight made quick work of his opponent, Rory McTighe, by finishing off the bout in 43 seconds.
“It meant a lot,” Heme said about getting the win. “I just tried to get it over as fast as I could because it was hard to breathe. It’s awesome to have everybody cheering for me.”
McFadden squared off against a familiar opponent in Domanic Leonard. The Tiger senior earned a second-period pin in their prior meeting at the Hickory Invitational Tournament on Dec. 6, 2019, but the win didn’t come as easy on Wednesday.
In a 7-1 decision, McFadden earned a takedown in the beginning of the first and third periods, while adding in an escape to begin the second and two points for stalling in the third. It was McFadden’s 105th career victory.
“I’ve wrested him a few times before, and I knew he was a quality opponent no matter (what his record was),” McFadden said. “I got my two takedowns so I was happy about it. I didn’t wrestle my best match, but I still got the win, and I’m excited about it.”
In addition to the victories by the seniors, Maplewood got a pin from Tucker Urey (145) and a win by forfeit from Joey King (220).
Despite the loss, Parker thought his team “wrestled well.” Maplewood has been trying to stay fresh on the mat despite only having one dual per week since the beginning of January.
“We’re just trying to keep them focused and having fun,” Parker said. “It’s a long season and they’re tired of the practices. I’ll probably give them some time off because they’re where they need to be (heading into the postseason).”
Maplewood has one final regular-season dual on Feb. 12 at Girard before the individual postseason begins with the Section 1 Tournament on Feb. 14-15.
Commodore Perry 33, Maplewood 27
126 — Ashton Armagost (C) by forfeit. 132 — No bout. 138 — Lucas Kennedy (M) pinned Zane Grinnell, 4:36. 145 — Clayton Smith (C) dec. Austin Parker, 6-1. 152 — Tucker Urey (M) pinned Hunter Yeager, 4:45. 160 — Gage Musser (C) pinned Greg Roae, 1:58. 170 — Evan Hamilton (C) pinned Logan Gross, 3:58. 182 — JD McFadden (M) dec. Domanic Leonard, 7-1. 195 — Ryder Knierman (C) pinned Jonathan Woge, 2:22. 220 — Joey King (M) by forfeit. 285 — Steven Heme (M) pinned Rory McTighe, 0:43. 106 — Hunter Geibel (C) by forfeit. 113 — No bout. 120 — No bout.