If there was anything lacking for the Eldon wrestling team Tuesday night it certainly was not motivation.
Not only was it the first home meet of the season for the grapplers of Eldon, but it also happened to be senior night as well and the Mustangs made sure it was a good one as they knocked off Hallsville 54-25 and Southern Boone 48-26 in Tri-County Conference action.
“It was bittersweet, but that also made it better just because we had to go as hard as we could or else we’ll always regret it,” said Eldon senior Trenton Kidwell who began his night with a forfeit win and closed it out strong with a pin at the 220-pound class.
His fellow seniors were on the same page as they made sure to not walk away without winning at least one match either. Edward Wester (132) earned a pin and forfeit win and Bobby Harkness (182) came up short in an 11-9 decision in his first bout, but quickly secured a pin to finish his night as well.
“Senior night symbolizes me saying goodbye to wrestling and it makes me really sad because I really like this sport and it has helped shape me to be who I am today,” Wester noted. “It was also a home meet so many of my peers, my friends and lots of people from the community that I know were here and I could not let them down.”
Harkness certainly agrees with that sentiment.
“There definitely was extra motivation because I had to win at least one match on my senior night,” he stated. “Just the thought of losing both of my matches, I did not want to do that. That’s for sure.”
Eldon coach Ryan Bird was certainly proud of his seniors, which also includes Jasey Brandt who has been unable to wrestle so far this year due to not being cleared by his doctor. Although the coach has only known them a short time being his first year with the program, they have done everything he has asked and have lead by example.
“We mesh pretty well together,” the coach remarked. “We have a good relationship and we all joke around and have a good time, but I’m really glad they were able to come out and get wins. Edward and Bobby have been a part of the program for four years so it was good for them to go out on senior night with wins. I bumped Trenton up to 220 so he could get a match and Trenton said he was pretty strong, but he did good things and got the pin.”
It is an example the coach would certainly like the rest of his team to follow.
“They do what they are supposed to in the room, they are always working and making sure things are getting done. So they might not be the most vocal leaders, but they show what to do,” Bird said.
It was a solid night for the rest of the team as well. Isaiah Simmons (113) stayed undefeated with two pins. Nathan Sullivan (138) recorded a forfeit win and pin. Brent Mullet (152) picked up a forfeit win. Trenton Dillon (160) and Dawson Brandt (170) did not get to wrestle with two forfeit wins each. Last but certainly not least, John Schoenfeld (220) and Scott Johnson (285) also recorded a forfeit victory each before the night was through.
“For the most part we wrestled pretty well,” Bird noted. “I was impressed with the way the junior varsity guys wrestled. They are starting to pick up on what we’re doing and lots of guys are... There were a lot of opens and I wish we could have got some more matches in, but it is what it is. You got two young programs that don’t have a lot of wrestlers so I understand that. We are getting better and all in all, I don’t have anything to complain about.”
Going forward, Bird said it will be about maintaining the grind because the team has entered a part of the season where there will be plenty of duals and tournaments and only time for two or three practices a week for the rest of the month.
“We just got to keep wrestling hard when we have competitions and really absorb what I and Coach (Mike) Walton are teaching in the practice room and apply that to the mat,” the coach said. “To this point we have taught them enough to be successful and now we just have to start tweaking and building on that. So they’ll do alright, we just have to keep working.”
Eldon will visit Clinton on Thursday for a tri-dual with the host school and Bolivar.