It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Selbyville Middle School wrestling team.
Graduating a slew of talent from an 8-2 squad last season — including current Indian River High School standouts Ta’Jon Knight, Will Rayne and Ramon Turner — the SMS Indians returned only six wrestlers for the 2016-2017 season.
But with an influx of brand new wrestlers going on to breakout seasons, the Indians still managed to finish the year 5-4, with a fifth-place finish at the conference championships held at Milford Central Academy on
“We figured we’d be lucky to get to .500, only bringing six guys back,” said SMS head coach Neal Barch of expectations heading into the season. “But we’re pretty happy with how the season turned out.”
Saturday, Feb. 4.
Top finishes at conferences for the Indians included seventh-grader Colin Hudson taking second place, seventh-grader Ian Shaubach finishing third and eighth-grader Michael Taylor taking fourth in their individual weight classes.
Taylor capped the regular season a perfect 9-0, after the 124-pounder earned a major decision in Selbyville’s final regular-season meet, against Georgetown Middle School on Thursday, Feb. 2.
“Since the first day of practice, I worked my heart out. I’m really glad to be 9-0,” said Taylor, a co-captain for the Indians this year. “That was my first goal since the beginning of the year.”
The Indians would fall in that match to GMS by just six points, after the Knights came back from a deficit to take the match in the higher weight classes.
“We did well. We just couldn’t get the pins,” said Barch of that match. “The guys we were expecting to get the pins won but didn’t get the pins, and the guys that they expected to get pins got pins. That was the difference.”
The Indians cited their high point on the season as their Jan. 25 match against Milford. After falling to the Bucs by just one point last season, on a technicality, they’d get some redemption with a 43-38 win.
While most of the SMS eighth graders were planning on continuing to together at Indian River next season, Barch and his squad at SMS will being losing the majority of their starters again but will still be still going into the season with high hopes.
“You always have high hopes,” he said. “We’re pretty heavily eight-graders again, so we’ll have to reload again from first-year wrestlers, like we did this year.”