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Grover becomes two-time LKC champion

By Staff | Feb 11, 2009

THE DEVIL WENT DOWN — Cullen Grover sets up a pin on a St. Marys wrestler.

This past Saturday the Silver Knights wrestlers traveled to Williamstown for their conference championship tournament. Four schools in the LKC had repeating champions this year, and Tyler Consolidated was one of them as Cullen Grover emerged as the winner in the 215-pound bracket last season.

Two other Knights nailed down place finishes in the event. Brody Northcraft came in third at 160 and Nate Taylor earned the fourth place at 140.

Grover was seeded first in his weight class, and he did not disappoint expectations. He had a perfect day on the mats, registering three falls. The first was over Tyler Gould of Clay County and the second was against Jacob Haught of Calhoun.

That took him to the finals where he faced a familiar foe in Robbi Wigal of Williamstown. The two had met last year in the finals of the 189-pound class, at which time Grover scored a fall to win the gold. It was the same match-up this year, with the same outcome only this year the Tyler Countian had to bounce back from a 20 deficit early in the match.

Northcraft earned his laurels by chalking up three wins against a single loss. He started the day with a fall against Zach Freeland of Ravenswood. In the next contest he dropped a very close match to Andy Taylor of St. Mary’s by a scant 5-4 decision.

Brody bounced back to Score a major decision over Ramsey of Clay County, and a fall against Tom Collins of Williamstown on his way to third place. Nate Taylor went 2 2 at 140 and ended up fourth. He decisioned Wade Poling of St. Mary’s 7 3 and Eric Gentile of Braxton county 10 0 while dropping decisions to Eric Jarvis of Roane and Harley Hamrick of Calhoun.

“Cullen breezed through his weight class although Bobbi (Wigal) drew first blood in their match and made Cullen work hard for his win,” said Head Coach Larry Richie. “Coach McKeever and I felt that Brody and Nate were capable of going a bit further than they did. They each gave up a very close match in their weight classes. But it was not for the lack of effort. With only a few exceptions we were both pleased with the determination that seemed to be a part of our team effort. We got a good look at some of the competition in the southern end of our region, and we will be better able to make some decisions and work out strategy for the Regional tournament which is in two weeks.”

The only other member of the Black and Silver to win a match was Brandon Grimes. Operating in the 171-pound division, Grimes scored one fall and a 4-0 decision, but missed placing in the tournament by one match.

“There was some really fine wrestling at this tournament this year,” Richie continued. “The fact that there were 33 State ranked wrestlers entering the competition is an indication of the level of the wrestling we were facing. Calhoun is strong all the way through their line-up. They placed 13 out of their 14 wrestlers. Williamstown has a great team balance and is very competitive this year, and Roane County simply dominates the lower weight classes. And so, in a nutshell, we were pleased to get as far as we did.”

Calhoun County won the tournament with 232 points, followed by Williamstown’s 193. Tyler Consolidated finished eighth out of the eleven teams with 52 points.

Earlier in the week the Knights wrestlers hosted what was called a “Quad-Plus.” Originally scheduled as a tri-meet, the match was extended by two teams to make up for some matches that had been cancelled by the weather.

Tyler wrestled two of the five teams, South Harrison and Ritchie County, winning both of these encounters. In the match with Ritchie, John Brosky, Zack Robinson, Dustin Phillips, Brody Northcraft, and Cullen Grover received forfeits. Nick Robinson shined as he scored a fall in 2:57.

Against South Harrison, the Knights were awarded four forfeits, which went to John Brosky, Zach Robinson, Nathan Bolin, and Calvin McCune. Dustin Phillips, Brody Northcraft, Brandon Grimes and Cullen Grover each produced a fall.

The Knights will next see action tonight as they host Cameron, St. Marys, and John Marshall in a quad. This will also be parent and senior night. Ceremonies begin at 6:00 in the Tyler Consolidated Wrestling Arena.