ELKHART — Tommy Kendall was not sure if he would wrestle as a Memorial High School senior.
But the Crimson Charger is sure glad he made the decision to come back for his final prep grappling season.
Kendall knows that he wants to be a football kicker/punter in college and he was focusing on getting better and weighing his options in that sport when he got the urge to return to the mat two weeks into workouts.
“I like to wrestle too much,” said Kendall, who moved to 10-0 on the campaign with a first-period pin at 170 pounds in Tuesday’s 70-9 dual victory at crosstown rival Central. “I’ve got to do it. It’s my last year.”
First-year Memorial head coach Brian Pfeil was understanding with Kendall.
“We were patient with him,” said Pfeil. “We knew once we started, he would miss it.”
Kendall counts a win against Penn’s Jeff Wiseman with a takedown in the final seconds at Saturday’s Jim Nicholson Charger Invitational as his best of the season. Kendall and Wiseman finished 1-2 in the 170-pound bracket. The two could meet again on Dec. 22 in the inaugural Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Duals at Westfield High School. Memorial and Penn are both in the big-school class of the 24-team event.
With that tournament on the horizon, Pfeil decided to keep some of his varsity wrestlers out of the lineup Tuesday so they will not have too many competitive dates to be eligible come postseason — 195-pounder Tieshawn Johnson (12-0) among them.
Sickness and injury caused Central to have several holes in Tuesday’s lineup. The Blue Blazers (1-6) forfeited seven of 14 weight classes.
Of the seven matches on the mat, Memorial (9-1) went 5-2. Besides Kendall, Charger winners were Kody Gerger (major decision at 220), Ronnie Longbrake (pin at 152), Eric Blodgett (pin at 145) and Philip Mathiak (pin at 132).
Central’s first of two wins was Johnny Tredway’s tooth-and-claw 4-2 decision against Nick Vaughn. Three days after topping Vaughn in an ultimate overtime period at the Charger Invitational, Tredway put Vaughn on his back in the final seconds for the decisive points.
“They are both competitors,” said first-year Central head coach Zach Whickcar. “We knew if they wrestled again, it would be a close match.”
The Blazers’ other winner was Eliseo Guerra (pin at heavyweight).
“We’re young and we’ve got to get better,” said Whickcar. “The guys are working hard. These guys are putting the work in. It’s going to come in time. It doesn’t make losing any easier. It’s just a part of the process.”
Memorial 70, Central 9
(Competition Began at 138)
106 — Johnny Attkisson (M) by forfeit. 113 — Eugene Moody-Neukom (M) by forfeit. 120 — Tony Vaughn (M) by forfeit. 126 — Codey Flickinger (M) by forfeit. 132 — Philip Mathiak (M) pinned Jacob Mausar 2:00. 138 — A.J. Gushwa-Williams (M) by forfeit. 145 — Eric Blodgett (M) pinned Nick Edwards 3:57.
152 — Ronnie Longbrake (M) pinned Felix Williams 1:33. 160 — Johnny Tredway (C) dec. Nick Vaughn 4-2. 170 — Tommy Kendall (M) pinned Jared Tucker 1;12. 182 — Gus Whicker (M) by forfeit. 195 — Tyler Stewart (M) by forfeit. 220 — Kody Gerger (M) maj. dec. Elden Granados 11-2. Hwt — Eliseo Guerra (C) pinned Dustin Roberts 3:10.
Records: Memorial 9-1, Central 1-6.
Next: Central at SB St. Joseph Thursday; Memorial at Yorktown Invitational Saturday.
JV: Winners: Memorial — Nick Ritchie, Derico Wyrick, Alex Badillo; Central — Vincent Snipes.
Officials: Adam Tomlinson, Will Scharp.