There have been a lot of five-player Polk County starting lineups take the floor of the school’s gymnasium over the years.
Odds are that a Wolverine wrestling team hasn’t produced one of those. Not, at least, until Thursday.
Injuries and absences left the Wolverines with just five healthy wrestlers for Thursday’s home match with Owen. Four of those five won their matches, but the abundance of forfeits gave Owen a 54-24 victory and a quick return trip home – even with a couple of extra matches that were held, action wrapped up in less than 30 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, that has become a common occurrence this season. Polk County has just nine wrestlers on its squad, meaning that even when everyone is healthy, the Wolverines still enter every match giving up 30 team points in forfeits. When everyone isn’t healthy, as is currently the case, that number usually grows.
“It’s not good going into a match knowing you’re going to lose,” said Polk County head coach Phillip Miller. “Until the kids we have get back, that’s all we can do.
“Wrestling, for us, is an individual sport now. We’re trying to make region and get a good seed. The team aspect is out. Each person trying to get better each day is the only goal we can work on.”
Two of Polk County’s four wins Thursday came, ironically, via forfeit, Chase Underwood and Gabe Lail having their hands raised without a match. Braden Miller earned a pin at 182, downing Kameron Harper late in the first period, while Devin Panchyshyn notched a second-period pin of Travis Rice at heavyweight.
Polk County travels to Hendersonville on Friday and likely will still have just five available wrestlers. Miller is hoping to get at least one or two of his missing group back in the next few days, but isn’t certain whether senior standout Dustin Calvert, sidelined with a fractured ankle, will be back before postseason tournaments begin.
Of course, given the rash of unusual injuries that have befallen the Wolverines in the most unusual of seasons, Miller has come to expect the unexpected.
“You name it, we’ve had that issue,” Miller said.
Owen 54, Polk County 24
103: Lorenz Hooper (O) p. Tristan Watkins
113: Colby Smith (O) by forfeit
120: Double forfeit
126: Alex Harper (O) by forfeit
132: Wesley Melton (O) by forfeit
138: Chase Underwood (PC) by forfeit
145: Waleed Khalil (O) by forfeit
152: Giuillermo Vargas (O) by forfeit
160: Tanner Riddle (O) by forfeit
170: Thomas Neal (O) by forfeit
182: Braden Miller (PC) p. Kameron Harper
195: Chance Watkins (O) by forfeit
220: Gabe Lail (PC) by forfeit
HVT: Devin Panchyshyn (PC) p. Travis Rice