For the second consecutive year, Indian River High School advanced to the Division II State Dual Meet Championships. Both time, they have had to wrestle No. 3 Hodgson. Not much has changed – Hodgson is still the top Division II contender and Indian River is still chasing, though they are closing the gap.
Last year, Indian River won four matches (two pins and two decisions) in a 48-18 loss. But that was last year. This year, Indian River is stronger and much more competitive as a whole. But the result remained the same — just a different score.
Indian River lost 44-27 but didn’t give anything up. Hodgson had to earn every pin and every decision and a few times had a victory snatched away despite leading the match.
P.J. Barch (wrestling at 119 pounds) was behind, 7-1, to Brad Miller but kept at it and earned the six points back in the second period to tie it up.
“I knew I could win. I just had to keep at it,” explained Barch.
Barch held top position in the third period but Miller was able to prevent him from turning him or gain a hold for point, so it went to the ever-contentious overtime.
Barch went for the points early in the overtime period and had the match-winning score negated on an overrule from one of two referees. But he would finish Miller off with 27 seconds remaining. That gave Indian River a 9-6 advantage following a Mike Magaha pin of Coltan McFatridge (Magaha lost to McFatridge in last year’s dual meet.).
Despite the good start to the meet for the Indians, Hodgson stormed back to win the next seven matches, three by pin (at 135 to 145 pounds) until Andy Bokinsky (171) could stop the bleeding with a 2-0 pin in the first period. Perry Townsend (189) pinned his opponent with 59 seconds remaining and, like Bokinsky, is undefeated against Hodgson the last two years.
Phillip Townsend (215) fell behind 5-0 in the first period and nearly pulled off the upset. Bryan Lynch (HW) completed the match with a 6-1 pin with 1:15 left in the second period.
Overall, Head Coach Jeff Windish was pleased with his team’s effort and noted that his guys will be more than ready for the state and conference tournament.
“P.J. (Barch) beat a ranked kid in a tough match, and Mike (Magaha) beat a No. 2. Perry (Townsend) beat a No. 2 and Phil (Townsend) nearly beat a No. 1 seed. And, honestly, I’m more proud with the way Phil wrestled because it showed that he can wrestle with anybody,” said Windish.
“We don’t concede matches – we’re a scrappy team and the young kids that lost didn’t give up,” Windish continued. “We only gave up two or three pins, so I’m pleased.”
Hodgson Head Coach Stan Spoor couldn’t agree more.
“We knew IR was going to be a tough match, and they gave us hell,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy match to win.”