For the Tribune
Sometimes opportunities can be painful.
Seymour 126-pounder John Shuffitt had a terrific first two rounds of the Hoosier Hills Conference Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Columbus East High School, but he ran into a machine in Madison’s Chayce Young in the title match.
Young caught Shuffitt in the first 30 seconds, putting him on his back and forcing him to use valuable energy.
Shuffitt eventually fought his way out and hung tough for a while, but Young was too slick and eventually recorded an 18-3 technical fall.
“I thought my day went pretty well, except for the final,” said Shuffitt, who has a 16-6 record. “My opponent was just stronger than me.
“But I am going to train and think of this day as an opportunity to get better.”
Seymour didn’t fare well as a team, finishing seventh out of eight teams, and Shuffitt was the only Owl to reach the championship finals.
“You know that your teammates aren’t feeling what I am feeling,” Shuffitt said. “You want that.”
Young increased his record to 35-2, but Shuffitt felt he had a chance.
“I wanted to finish first,” he said.
Actually, Seymour 132-pounder Garrett Johnson really had his team’s best chance at a title. Johnson took eventual champion Tristin Dowell of New Albany to overtime in their semifinal match. Dowell caught Johnson and pinned him in the overtime, but he went forward to cruise against Sean Brown of Floyd Central 15-8 in the championship match.
“I really think that (Dowell) and I wrestled a championship quality match,” Johnson said of his overtime loss. “I thought I wrestled well. I have to work on finishing my shots.”
Johnson pinned Columbus East’s Stuart Bryan to earn a third-place finish.
“I’ve got to get focused for the sectionals now,” he said.
Seymour didn’t have any other wrestler place in the top four.
Jennings County crowned three champions to win the team title. New Albany had the most champs with five, but didn’t score enough points through the rest of the lineup and finished second. Columbus East had three champions.
Jennings County won its second consecutive title, pulling away from New Albany with 234.5 points to 209.5 for the Bulldogs. Floyd Central was third with 179 and East was fourth at 175 followed by Jeffersonville (154), Madison (152), Seymour (59.5) and Bedford North Lawrence (41).
Jennings County also got second-place finishes from 106-pounder Victor Manzanares, Logan Applegate (120), Cole Chandler (152), Wes Fergason (160) and Christian Redmond (195).