INDIANA — Indiana won seven of the 12 bouts on the mat and had just enough at the end to surpass the Punxsy junior-high wrestling team last Friday, 47-39.
The Chucks (0-1) were boosted by four-straight wins by fall from 110 to 130 pounds, but Punxsy struggled to win just one match after that once the weight classes grew larger.
Ahead 39-29 with three bouts remaining, Punxsy bumped up Austin Covatch and Troy Peace, giving Indiana a forfeit at 185 pounds. Covatch and Peace, however, each lost by fall, ultimately pushing Indiana ahead for the eight-point win.
Punxsy head coach Bill Burke said that Peace was in the middle of a tight bout before running out of gas and losing by fall with only eight seconds left to Christian Kucinski.
"He was down only 3-0 going into the third and was working hard on top, but just could not turn Kucinski. We feel there was a bit of stalling on their part, but we never got the call," Burke said. "Bumping up may or may not have been the right move, but it was worth a shot. Kucinski was a little bigger and better than I anticipated. Sometimes, that's just the way it goes."
Punxsy led 6-0 through three weight classes, as a Zoie Smith forfeit was followed by two no-contests. After a win by fall, a forfeit and a victory by decision, Indiana was ahead 15-6.
The decision victory came from Benjamin Turner, who edged Ryan Jones of the Chucks, 5-2.
"Ryan Jones suffered a tough loss at 100," Burke said.
Indiana bumped around Punxsy's Kaleb Young at 105 pounds, only for Darin James of the Chucks to win by fall at 110 pounds. James need just 2:13 to dispatch Joe Cook.
"James took care of Cook at 110," Burke said. "Darin wrestled a really nice match."
After James' win, Punxsy jumped ahead 36-14 after three more victories by fall thanks to Matt Burke, Ty Berringer and Perry Arrington.
Matt Burke needed just 64 seconds, Berringer won in 29 seconds, and Arrington's win by pin took 3:27.
"Ty is looking really good this year, coming back out after several years of not wrestling," coach Burke said. "After a bit of a slow start, Perry took care of business at 130, then 138 was sort of the turning point in the match."
That turning point led to Indiana finishing the match on a 33-3 run. It started when Trent Orr pinned Punxsy's Logan Rend in 4:04 after Rend was ahead 11-2 in the third period.
"Logan Rend dominated the first two periods. He was up 11-2 in the third before he got caught and turned to his back to suffer a disappointing pin," Burke said. "It happens. That's why we wrestle three periods; it's never over until it's over."
Burke said that Rend, a second-year wrestler, was simply in a poor position long enough for Orr to take advantage. But he still isn't denying how improved Rend has been so far this season.
"Logan is doing really well, though," Burke said. "He listens well and should have a bright future."
Punxsy's Jeff Bottenhorn suffered a 7-1 loss before Keegan Fischer earned a decision victory of his own — 6-4 over Brody Halliwell of Indiana.
"He definitely could have wrestled a little better match, but still got the job done getting the win," Burke said.
Fischer's win was Punxsy's final victory, as Travis Perry was pinned in 3:29 before a forfeit and two falls ended the match in Indiana's favor.
Burke said that the Perry versus Edu Campos match was a back-and-forth thriller, but the second-year Punxsy wrestler was quickly reversed and put on his back after converting on a quality shot near the edge of the mat during the second period.
"Travis Perry met someone of equal or greater strength than himself," Burke said. "This match was a really good learning experience for him."
In a pair of exhibition matches, Punxsy's Connor Rees won by fall and the Chucks' Mason Cunningham tied Kevin Simpson, 5-5.
The Chucks return to the mat at 6:30 p.m. tonight when they visit Marion Center. The junior-high match will be followed by Punxsy's first varsity competition of the season.