SOUTH WHITLEY — A short-handed Whitko Wild-cat Wrestling squad rallied from a 15-0 deficit to down visiting Three Rivers Conference foe Rochester 36-33 on a cold blustery Thursday night.
The Wildcats forfeited in five weight classes as injuries depleted the Whitko lineup. Rochester forfeited three classes of their own.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, two classes were double forfeits, so the effect of the limited lineup was lessened.
The Zebras built the 15-0 lead thanks to a 16-10 win in a high scoring match at 106 pounds, a forfeit win in the 113 pound weight class and a first period pinfall at 120 pounds.
The Wildcats then went on a tear of their own, taking the next four matches, winning each by pinfall to take the lead.
At 126 pounds, junior Colton LeTourneau got Whitko on the board. While leading 9-0, LeTourneau put Rochester’s Bryce Roberts on his back for the pin at the 3:52 mark.
Senior Austin LeTourneau extended the Wildcat lead with a 49-second pin over Rochester’s Tyler Downhour in the 145-pound match-up. The win put the ‘Cats up 24-15. Rochester closed the gap to 24-21 with a first period pinfall win at 152 pounds.
In the last contested match of the evening, Miller, leading 4-1, scored the fall at the 1:44 mark of the first period to give the Wildcats a 36-27 lead. Rochester picked up a forfeit at 195 pounds to account for the final 36-33 score.
“We have a very young, very thin team, so it’s nice to be able to see some improvement throughout the season,” said Bumgardner. “It’s good to be wrestling well at the right time of the year. It’s nice that our guys are getting some rewards for all the hard work that they have put in.”
The Wildcats return to action this Saturday when they travel north for the Goshen Invitational.