By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — Short in numbers and long on inexperience, the Fairborn Skyhawks varsity wrestling squad fell to Brookville 45-11, Thursday night, in a tri-match that also included Kettering Alter.
Skyhawks 106-pounder Trevor Landon won his match by a 19-4 technical fall over Brookville’s Devin Miller to start off the night’s opening dual. Landon ended the match with a final takedown with 1:12 remaining to earn his fourth win of the season.
The other Fairborn match win came from the team’s top returner, 2015 season state qualifier A.J. Warner, who pinned Alex Monnig 37 seconds into the second round. Warner is 5-0 thus far.
“He’s a state qualifier, and I think the rest of the team looks up to him. He probably puts in more work than anybody. He does a great job in terms of leadership with this team,” former Xenia coach and now first-year Fairborn coach Bill Dawson said.
There were a few other matches where Skyhawk wrestlers nearly claimed wins against Brookville.
Senior Daniel Kehoe lost a 4-2 decision at 152 pounds. Kehoe is the lone senior who wrestled in the Brookville match and he’s now 3-3 in matches this season.
In perhaps the first dual’s most competitive match, junior Jesse Jones wrestled at 160 pounds against the Blue Devils’ Ethan Ashworth. The two nearly pinned the other, and each of the wrestlers reversed out of those difficulties to nearly pin the other guy. Ashworth eventually came away with a 17-10 decision, however.
Fairborn’s Spencer Burton, Michael Coker and Jacob Mowen each fell victim to first-round pins, then freshman 200-pounder Gavin Murphy lost just his second match in six tries with a 9-5 decision to Brookville’s Alex Cruea.
Dawson knows his team has plenty of work to do if they want to improve. And it didn’t help that he had to forfeit matches at 113, 132, 138, 145 and 285 pounds.
Neither Brookville nor Fairborn had a wrestler in the 113, 132 or heavyweight divisions, but those were potential points Fairborn could’ve used to keep things close in the final points standings. A forfeit is worth six points each.
In the dual with the Alter Knights, Fairborn actually won three of the five contested matches — with first-round wins by Landon, Kehoe and Burton — but the forfeit bug bit the Skyhawks and cost them a 36-33 loss.
“We’re a young, small squad. We’ve got lotsa holes, so we don’t have a full lineup, and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Dawson.
They’re young, but the coach isn’t treating each match like a learning session.
“Personally, I’m not someone who likes to go into a match and tell my guys that it’s a learning experience. I knew we were giving up 24 points from the get-go in forfeits, so it’s an uphill battle from there. I don’t want my kids making excuses, and I don’t make any excuses.
“We tell them, let’s go out there and get the job done. We just have to do what we gotta do.”
Fairborn returns to action Saturday for the Tipp City Tippecanoe Holiday Tournament. The Skyhawks then are back on the mats Dec. 28-29 for the annual Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday tourney at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.