Despite having just seven wrestlers available, the Highland Bulldogs turned in a valiant effort on the mat Wednesday night at Mt. Olive.
It wasn’t quite enough to come away with a win in the tri-meet as the Bulldogs finished third, falling to host Mt. Olive and losing to East Alton/Wood River.
“It was a pretty close (meet) considering all we had (to wrestle with),” Highland coach Terry Ohren said. “The effort was real good and they all wrestled their hearts out, there’s no doubt about that.”
Against Mt. Olive, Tanner Schranz at 113,Garrett Metz at 120, Ben Mitchell at 126, and Colton Brown at 132 all notched victories.
The Bulldogs stayed close throughout the Mt. Olive match but ended up just falling short 42-39. All of the Bulldog wins against Mt. Olive were forfeits due to the Wildcats being short on available wrestlers.
“If Garrett would have pinned (in his match) we would have tied,” Ohren said. “ He won by points, so we lost by three (points).”
In the East Alton/Wood River match, Highland was again competitive, after falling behind 18-6 early, the Bulldogs rallied and stayed within six points or less of the Oilers through the middle and upper weight divisions.
Brown defeated Julian Marshall of East Alton Wood/River in the first period to get his second win of the night at 132. Bryce Kirsch also did well, scoring a first-period victory over Noah Maron to keep the match close.
Once again, the lack of grapplers hurt as the Bulldogs dropped a 38-35 decision.
“It’s hard to win when you give up when you’re forfeiting and when you give up 42 points to start like that,” Ohren said. “The kids I have are doing an awesome job wrestling. I just wish I had seven more kids to fill out these other weight classes.”
Highland has been winless in dual and tri-meets due to the lack of depth, been better in tournaments. The Bulldogs turned in a respectable 13th place finish last weekend in the 58th annual Murdale Invitational Tournament in Carbondale with just six wrestlers.
“We are more of a tournament team than a dual team because of all of the forfeits,” Ohren said.
Ohren is hoping to get a couple of wrestlers back by next week including Devin Wills (152). Wills missed the meet due to a bruised leg he suffered during the Murdale Tournament last Saturday.
“Hopefully we’ll have him back by next week for Hillsboro and Roxana,” Ohren said.
The Bulldogs finish out the week with a tri-match Thursday night at Vandalia with Litchfield and Vandalia.