The list of accomplishments grows almost every week for the Seymour Wrestling Club.
This past weekend, the grapplers added another achievement to their résumé at the state level.
In their second time ever attending the event, Seymour finished in fifth place at the Indiana State Wrestling Association’s Elementary Team State Championship at Franklin Community High School in the large-school division.
There were 17 weight classes ranging from 40 to 175 pounds, and the wrestlers came from pre-kindergarten to the sixth grade.
Story continues below gallery
Seymour brought 21 wrestlers, including two wild cards allowed by the tournament from different programs, to the tourney.
The wrestlers represented a number of local schools: Jackson, Brown, Cortland, Emerson, Redding and Immanuel Lutheran.
Last season, the Owls finished eighth overall of 20 teams.
At the 2017 event, there were 23 schools with 16 teams in the large and seven in the small divisions. It was the first time that the competition was split based on population. Large schools were divided into pools of four.
Seymour placed second in their pool to Penn, which would go on to finish third overall behind Perry Meridian, Avon and the champion, Center Grove.
“We did pretty good,” Brown Elementary third-grader Tyler Zimmer said. “It felt really good to get fifth. We got to wrestle a bunch of times and learned some stuff. They didn’t mess around and worked hard.”
Zimmer went 4-1 at 55 pounds for Seymour.
Seymour Wrestling Club opened against Penn, losing 42-33, but it was a match to remember.
“It came down to the last match,” Ratliff said. “It was an exciting meet, the first in the pool. The championship round for our pool was essentially the first one of the day. There was a lot of good coaching and wrestling.”
In the second and third rounds of pool play, Seymour beat Jay County 51-40 and Franklin Community 61-30.
Seymour then avenged an early-season loss to Southport 55-27 before topping Terre Haute South 60-38 for the fifth-place match.
“We came in last year and surprised a lot of people I think,” Seymour Wrestling Club coach Justin Ratliff said. “I think there were some people out there that didn’t think we could place again. That got the boys excited; they wanted to prove something.”
Last year, South defeated Seymour by two points in the seventh-place match.
“It was pretty exciting; I think we did pretty good for our second year of doing it,” Cortland Elementary fifth-grader Brayden Rorick said. “It was fun to help each other during matches. We cheer each other on. Win or lose we give high-fives to each other.”
Ratliff said that the team represented the community well in the packed field house.
“Wrestling starts and ends with shaking the hands of your opponent,” he said. “The wrestlers shake the hands of the opposing coaches. For Seymour, win or lose, when that wrestler comes off the team is lined up waiting to give him a high-five. I told the kids that even though they go onto the mat alone, they’re not alone. They have someone in their corner cheering for them.”
Carter Mikels went undefeated at 5-0 at 45 pounds, and Ashler Ratliff finished 4-0 in the 70/75 pounds divisions.
Wild cards Coy Hammack (75/80) and John Purdy (105/115), from Mauer Coughlin Wrestling Club), both finished 5-0 joining the Owls.
This weekend, the Seymour club will compete in a newly formed Indiana Wrestling League. The league was created this year and boasts six schools from Indianapolis and five teams south of the city.
“You’ve got a lot of great competition there,” Ratliff said. “We face each other in duels during the season. We just had a seeding meeting the other night, and we will have a championship on Sunday at Center Grove. We’re excited to do this in Indiana, a lot of the big wrestling states already do this at the elementary level.”
Joey Shepherd, who recently moved to Seymour after a job promotion, joined the coaching staff.
“We came to a program that we’re hoping that turns into a powerhouse,” Shepherd said. “The staff is really easy to work with and the kids all listen and take direction well. They’re all really good at catching on to stuff, which makes it enjoyable for a coach.”