For The Tribune
After a tough day at the Jennings County Sectional wrestling meet Saturday, only three Seymour wrestlers were able to extend their seasons.
Seymour finished seventh out of 10 teams with 81.5 points. Jennings County won the tournament with 268 and Madison was second at 180.
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No Seymour wrestler made the championship finals.
Owls 132-pounder Garrett Johnson had his team’s best day by finishing third.
Johnson was in charge during an 8-3 victory against Scottsburg’s Alex Sexton in the third-place match.
Johnson said he was kind of sluggish early in the tournament as he won by a pin in the quarterfinals before being pinned by eventual champion Jackson Michalski in the semifinals.
He beat Columbus East’s Stuart Bryan 10-7 in the wrestle-back round that got him into the third-place match. He is now 22-8 on the season.
“I think it was just nervousness,” Johnson said of his early struggles. “Overall, I thought my defense was OK, but I need to work on my offense.”
Seymour 126-pounder John Shuffitt lost a pair of close decisions to Columbus East’s Jake Martindale but still managed to qualify for the regionals with a fourth-place finish. The top four finishers qualified.
Shuffitt, after getting through the first round with a bye, lost to Martindale 8-5 in the quarterfinals. He responded, though, with two victories by pin to work himself into the third-place match.
Down 4-1 in his second match against Martindale, Shuffitt exploded with a reverse before turning Martindale with a double arm bar that produced two back points. Shuffitt, who is 20-9 on the season, led 5-4 going into the final period.
However, Martindale managed one final takedown in the closing seconds.
“I was trying to keep my hips away from him, but I got them too close,” Shuffitt said of losing the final takedown. “I’ve got to stop making mistakes.”
Shuffitt believes he has a shot at a top four finish at the regionals, which will be at Jeffersonville High School on Saturday. “If I wrestle as hard as I can, that’s my goal,” he said.
Seymour 170-pounder Tristan Sitterding qualified for the regional with a fourth-place finished. He lost 3-0 to Zack Adams of Scottsburg in the third-place match.
Sitterding won twice in wrestle-backs to get to the third-place match and he now is 19-15 on the season.