A competitive day of wrestling saw Robinson High School's wrestling team go .500 on the day at the annual Robinson Duals event Saturday (Jan. 6).
The Maroons went 2-2 as a team in their four matches, which saw strong performances by several individuals throughout the day.
"We knew that every team here this weekend was fairly even with Mt. Carmel being the favorite," RHS head coach Joe Cunningham said. "I knew that we would really have to wrestle well to win any duals against these teams and I might have settled for 2-2 before the day began. However, now I think that if we had wrestled with a little more confidence we might have had an opportunity to have done better."
Robinson scored wins over Lawrenceville-Red Hill (50-24) and St. Joseph-Ogden (37-25), while dropping close contests to Mt. Carmel (43-30) and Cumberland (40-35).
"When we wrestle Lawrenceville-Red Hill we know that we will have to do well in the toss up matches or they will definitely beat us," Cunningham said. "Saturday we were able to hold on in those matches and earn the win. St. Joe always comes with some outstanding wrestlers and has a history of developing state placers and champions. Saturday we were able to rely upon the balance of our line-up to offset some of their strengths and walk away with the win. They were also without their best wrestler at 170 and he definitely would have made this match closer."
Individually, Robinson had two wrestlers - Jeff Hermann at 138 and Taren Williamson at 285 - finish the day with 4-0 marks, while nine of the 13 wrestlers that competed finished with records of .500 or better.
"Taren and Jeff are having very nice seasons and this weekend they led the way," Cunningham said. "Next week we might need great performances by other wrestlers like (Landon) Shonk or (Elliott) Stifle to lead us to victory. The balance in our line-up is what I am most proud of and I think some of our kids are starting to understand that we still have a lot of room to improve. These are great young men and they represented our school really well on Saturday."
Two more wrestlers - Jordan Caballero at 106 and Fernando Zuniga at 195 - both went 3-1, while finishing 2-2 were Stifle (113), J.D. Caballero (152), Roger Cornwell (170), Grayson Wolf (182) and Dalton Davis (220).
Also for RHS, Shonk (106), Alex Hermann (145) and Nick Eby (160) all went 1-3 and Nick Rice went 0-4 at 132.
Cunningham noted the highlight of the day was J.D. Caballero's win over St. Joseph Ogden's Carr in four overtimes.
"The gym was really rocking for a while as J.D. and Carr battled in that overtime match," Cunningham said. "J.D. is a kid who works very hard every day and I am so happy that he was able to enjoy that special moment."
Other notable performances included wins by Jordan Caballero and Williamson against Lawrenceville-Red Hill and strong efforts by Wolf, Zuniga and Davis against Mt. Carmel.
"Jordan and Taren brought their best and I am happy for both boys," Cunningham said. "Grayson is symbolic of our program with his development as a wrestler. (Mt. Carmel's) Ryan Johnson has been a very good wrestler for a long time and Grayson is halfway through his third year and has really closed the gap. Fernando and Dalton were both putting in strong performances against Farrar and Kight before losing by fall. I hope that kids like Grayson, Fernando and Dalton will take the experience of this weekend and realize that they have come a long way and have earned the right to believe in themselves."
Robinson had a quick turnaround, as they returned to the mats Monday (Jan. 8) for dual matches at Shelbyville against Shelbyville and Hillsboro.
The Maroons were able to pick up two more wins as they rolled over Hillsboro 54-21 and Shelbyville 51-18.
"I was fearful that we would come out flat after wrestling at our duals on Saturday and then having a short turnaround with a long drive on Monday to Shelbyville, but the kids were loose and ready to wrestle," RHS head coach Joe Cunningham said.
Six wrestlers produced 2-0 records on the night, including Jordan Caballero (106), Stifle (113), Rice (132), J.D. Caballero (152), Wolf (182) and Zuniga (195). Finishing 1-1 were Shonk (120), Jeff Hermann (138), Alex Hermann (145), Eby (160), Alex Douglas (170) and Davis (220), while Conner White dropped his only match at 126.
"Team captain Alex Hermann helped to place the night in perspective for me on the way home," Cunningham said. "Alex told me 'Coach, it does not seem so very long ago that we came here and we were the team that was on the opposite end of this situation.' Alex is correct, these boys truly have turned this program around and we need to be appreciative of the efforts they have been giving us."