Rockets grapplers take down Tigers
On Thursday, December 20 the Marshall County High School wrestling team hosted intra-county rival Forrest at the Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg in a match won by the Rockets 42-18.
The Tigers are back on the mats this year for the first time in almost a decade and a half and they are under the tutelage of two former Forrest grapplers in head coach Spenser McGuiggan and his brother Nicholas McGuiggan.
“I didn’t think that hard about it being my old school,” Spenser McGuiggan said. “Coach (Chris) Slaughter has helped us out a lot, so mostly it was just another way of them helping us, that’s the kind of way I was thinking.”
“It was a practice in front of our fans.”
Both McGuiggan brothers had successful careers at Forrest as All-Region selections and state tournament participants and they are hoping that experience can help bring the Tigers back to prominence.
The Tigers’ 18 points versus the Rockets came via forfeit wins by Casey Southerland (132-pounds) and Shawn Wray (285), while sophomore Colton Haun came up with six points when he secured a first-round pin over Austin Connell in the 195-pound match.
“I think we could do a lot better, but I also think we could do a lot worse,” McGuiggan said. “I’m proud of the guys, they work harder than any group of guys I’ve ever been around and they get better and better every time they get on the mat.”
“Our short term goal is what I tell these guys every time….win, lose or draw is we learn from every match and we get better every time we get out there.”
Forest Ozburn (113) and Cole Getting (170) won by forfeit for the Rockets (11-3).
After Ozburn’s forfeit to start the meet, Forrest freshman Asa Nance pinned Marshall County’s Dawson Christy with 1:38 remaining in the second period after taking a 7-0 lead in the 120-pound weight class.
There was a double forfeit in the 126-pound weight class and Southerland took the forfeit at 132.
Two-time defending state champion Jeff Gross took the mat next versus Will McAdams and Gross took a big lead before pinning the MCHS sophomore with 42 seconds remaining in the first period.
Gross (14-1), who won state titles in the 113-pound weight class in 2016-2017 and in the 126-pound weight class in 2017-2018, has moved up to the 138-pound division this season.
Gross is currently 71-2 over the last three seasons, including a 26-0 record last year.
Carson Blackwell was next up at MCHS as the Forrest junior took on Marshall County’s Aaron Foster in the 145-pound weight class in an exciting match that went three rounds with Blackwell leading 10-6 before getting the pin with 25 seconds left in the battle.
There was a double forfeit in the 152-pound weight class before Forrest senior Justin Leonard came up with a first round pin over Micah Wright at 160-pounds.
Geeting took the forfeit at 170-pounds and there was another double forfeit in the 182-pound weight class.
Haun took the mat next versus Austin Connell in the 195-pound match and the Tiger sophomore took a lead over the Forrest senior before getting the pin with 1:23 remaining in the first period.
The last competitive match of the event was in the 220-pound weight class as Marshall County’s Chandler McMahon took on fellow sophomore Noah Hill.
Hill took a 2-0 first period lead and battled with McMahon until garnering a pin with 56 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Rockets travel to the Battle at Independence on Saturday, while the Tigers’ (3-11) next bout is Thursday, January 3, 2019 at home versus Spring Hill and Grace Christian-Franklin.
McGuiggan talked about trying to build the program back up at MCHS and the hard recruitment issues he faces at Lewisburg.
“We have got to get kids to come watch these matches and let them see that we are beating up people were are not supposed to be beating up.” McGuiggan said. “As a new school we are not supposed to win matches and we already have a couple of team wins and a lot of individual wins.”
“We are successful and I think when the other kids see the success these 10 have had, it will infect the school pretty soon.”
Forrest 42, Marshall County 18
Thursday, December 20
At Marshall County High School
113-Forest Ozburn (Forrest), (For.).
120-Asa Nance (Forrest) over Dawson Christy (Marshall Co.), (Fall 2:22).
132-Casey Southerland (Marshall Co.), (For.).
138-Jeffrey Gross (Forrest) over William McAdams (Marshall Co.), (Fall 1:19).
145-Carson Blackwell (Forrest) over Aaron Foster (Marshall Co.), (Fall 5:35).
160-Justin Leonard (Forrest) over Micah Wright (Marshall Co.), (Fall 1:09).
170-Cole Geeting (Forrest), (For.).
195-Colton Haun (Marshall Co.) over Austin Connell (Forrest), (Fall 0:37).
220-Noah Hill (Forrest) over Chandler McMahon (Marshall Co.), (Fall 3:04).
285-Shawn Wray (Marshall Co.), (For.).