Panthers Win Regional Crown (video)00:00 AM February 03, 2018
It took every member of the Panther team to win a regional title and unfortunately for Trevor Pratt it came down to his 285# third place match to seal the win. Pratt, a junior, had not wrestled until this season. He showed steady progress during the campaign and found himself in a position that any first year athlete would probably not envy.
Going into the final weight class of the day, the Panthers trailed Mercer County by 2 points for the team title and Pratt needed to a win by decision to ensure the Panthers their first regional title since 2010. Pratt rose to the occasion and put his opponent on his back for a win by fall in just 36 seconds.
Going into the meet Orion was the favorite with Mercer County and the Panthers close behind. Last week it was discovered that several Orion wrestlers did not certify their weights correctly, which forced them to wrestle at higher weights. That proved very costly for the Chargers as several of their wrestlers did not do as well as projected.
The Panthers were able to capitalize on that situation and picked up a few points that might not have had otherwise. They also wrestled as well as they have all season to earn the title.
The Panthers got on a roll early in the day qualifying 10 wrestlers for the finals, which are the top four places. EP stumbled early as Carter Jepson, Cameron Abell, and Chris Bonnell all lost their final matches, but then EP caught fire. "At the heart of our lineup you start with Naftzger at 152#, Passmore 160#, Garrison 170#, and on through 285#, " said coach Tod McCullough. The Panthers would only lose 1 of their next 7 matches.
"I knew if our kids came to wrestle, if our kids did what they are capable of doing we could have a great day," added McCullough. "I'm just proud of all the kids."
The regional title qualifies the Panthers for the state dual tournament. They will compete at Morrison against Princeton with the winner going to the state team finals. That tournament starts on Tuesday, February 20th.
Regional Team Scores
Mercer County- 147
106- Carter Jepson- 4th
113- Cameron Abell- 2nd
120- Chris Bonnell- 2nd
152- Calvin Naftzger- 3rd
160- Garrett Passmore- 1st
170- Matt Garrison- 2nd
182- Gabe Friedrichsen- 3rd
195- Mack Foy- 3rd
220- Lucas Carey- 2nd
285- Trevor Pratt- 3rd
Watch the video- Pratt's final match, the trophy ceremony, and comments from some of the Panthers.