COAL CITY — In a record-setting year for both the Wilmington and Coal City wrestling squads, somehow it seems only fitting the final match of the year would come down to the 14th and final weight class. Fortunately for the Wildcats, that turned out to be the 132-pound weight class where senior Andy Rodawold put an abrupt halt to any upstart win by the Coalers.
“I knew at the draw that it was exactly what coach (Rob) Murphy wanted,” Coal City coach Mark Masters said. “At that point I knew they had Rodawold as the hammer.”
With the meet tied at 27, Rodawold nailed down the win by fall in 1:04 to help secure Wilmingotn a 33-27 victory.
Despite the outcome, Coal City had entered its Senior Night having already set a school record for wins at 24. Wilmington had also done likewise at 32. Still, according to Coalers’ senior Michael Czaja, it would have been nice to have ended the regular season on a better note but he has no lingering regrets.
“Of course it stings, but I was glad to see that we battled,” he said. “Things could have been better, but I’m still happy.”
Czaja at 152 had one of the seven wins turned in by the Coalers on the night with the others being his brother Jake at 145, Dylan Pierard at 138, Cody Minnick at106, Corey Jurzak at 113, Casey Brown at 120 and Max Rowell at 126. The Coalers forfeited at 285 and that was the difference.
“We battled. We won seven of the 13 matches we wrestled,” Coal City coach Mark Masters said. “I’m not disappointed. We had a chance.”
The seniors on the Coal City team include the Czaja brothers, Pierard, Terry Blondin, Ryan Naples, Kenton Clayburn and Allen Potter who is injured.
Murphy said that things flushed out about the way they thought.
“We had it figured to be 30-24. It went down just about like we thought,” he said. “We got a big win at 160 (Don Hays). The senior captain did his job and we picked up some close wins from (Kyal) Davis and (Nick) Vancura. We figured they would get seven wins tonight and that we’d get seven wins tonight, it was just going to come down to bonus points.”
Wilmington got three pinfalls.
Pierard and Minnick got pins for the Coalers, who had seven freshmen or sophomores in the lineup.
“The way we look at it is that the team is still taking baby steps,” Masters said. “These young guys have had a great season and a great senior class to learn from.”