Seaforth’s historic dual team wrestling season fell just short of a grand finish Saturday.
In the program’s first ever dual team state championship appearance, Seaforth lost to Trinity, 31-36, finishing as the runner up to the 2A title.
Holding a 13-6 lead after the first four matches, the Hawks failed to capitalize on the advantage. Seven straight losses in the following bouts quickly turned the small cushion into a deficit too large to overcome.
“It’s disappointing,” Seaforth head coach Ryan Armstrong said. “The boys wrestled hard. They prepared well. We just didn’t win the critical matches. I’m proud of every one of them.”
The opening match between the 285-pound heavyweights initially seemed to have set the tone for what was to come for Trinity. Trinity’s Joseph Trahan took less than a minute to take down and pin Seaforth’s Palmer Moad, bringing the Bulldogs’ fans to life.
The noise was quickly silenced, though, when Seaforth’s Gabe Rogers (106) pinned Trinity’s Aiden Burkholder to tie the dual in the very next match.
The Miller brothers, Jordan and Josh, then followed that with wins of their own. Jordan Miller (113) beat Trinity’s Edgar Vasquez by a close, 8-5, decision, and Josh Miller (120) did everything but pin Brayden Hall in a major decision victory to push Seaforth’s lead to seven.
But after Trinity won the next two matches, the Bulldogs only found themselves down 12-13, setting up a decisive 138-pound match between Jaden Allred and Seaforth’s Noah Lisk.
Lisk wrestled with aggression and urgency, coming close to completing two single leg takedowns for points in the first round. However, Allred did a good job with sprawling and keeping off his back.
After Allred got Lisk on his knees late in the opening round, he set up the finishing move in which he turned Lisk on his back for the pin. Trinity reclaimed the lead, 18-13, turning the momentum back in its favor.
Down 13-24 at the start of the 160-pound match, Seaforth’s Pierson Moad looked to be on his way to a big win. Moad held an 11-4 lead over Trinity’s Zane Schloemer early in the second round, but multiple locking penalties for Moad, coupled with some successful moves from Schloemer, cut the lead to just 11-10 early in the third round.
Up 13-10 with just 28 seconds remaining, Moad got called for his fourth locking penalty, resulting in his disqualification and six points on Trinity’s team score. Instead of Seaforth coming back within one match, Trinity stretched its growing lead to 30-13.
The Bulldogs clinched the title in the following match after Trinity’s Lawson Coltrane (165) pinned Seaforth’s Alex Hinchman. Trinity forfeited the remaining three matches.
Despite the tough loss for Seaforth, heads stayed high for the most part, as the young program shared gratitude for competing for a state title.
The Hawks finished their third season with a 27-2 record and won the 2A East Regional title with a team of mostly underclassmen. Seaforth is only losing Josh Miller, the lone senior in the starting lineup, and is returning a team of talented wrestlers that feel like they’ll be right back on the same stage in the future.
“It’s amazing to compete on this stage,” Josh Miller said. “We’ve only been a program for three years, so we’re already making history. Just because we’re making history right now, the future is bright. Just because we lose today, (it) doesn’t mean we’re going to lose tomorrow.”
Seaforth still has time to make history this season as it looks for its first individual state champions in the coming weeks. Keira Rosenmarkle will compete on the girls side after finishing first in the Mideast Regional for the 152-pouind weight class Saturday.
The boys will compete in the Mideast Regional at Morehead High School Friday. Rogers and Josh Miller will look to complete the mission after finishing as state runner ups in the 106 and 113 weight classes, respectively, in 2023.
“The great season doesn’t end today,” Armstrong said. “Next week, we’re back on the mat at Morehead, and we’re ready to move forward.”