Only three of coach Curtis Miller’s five senior wrestlers were available Tuesday night (Jan. 21), as Batesville hosted Indiana School for the Deaf (Indianapolis) on senior night 2020.

This went a long way in swaying the outcome in ISD’s favor. After seven matches and a 36-36 deadlock, it was the Bulldogs surrendering more forfeits on the evening. With that being the first tiebreaker in the rule book, the Orioles were awarded the victory.

“Overall, we wrestled very well against a very good team,” said Miller after the dual. “There were some kids, who had they wrestled, could have helped us tonight.”

One of those certainly was 145-pound JT Linkel, holder of seasonal and career pin records at BHS. Linkel – one of five seniors on this year’s roster – was sidelined with a minor skin infection.

His teammates nearly picked up the slack, earning four hard-fought victories by pin.

“In a lot of matches, we dug deep and got pins when we needed them,” Miller remarked. “I feel the effort out of those who wrestled was good, but I wish we could have pulled off the win.”

After two wins by the Garcias – senior Axel at 170 to start the meet and sophomore Christian at 195 – the Bulldogs had their biggest lead at 18-0.

Axel needed just over a minute to earn a fall. Sophomore Jy’lil Chappel received a forfeit at 182. Christian was locked into a high-scoring affair that featured a series of reversals and near-falls; after a takedown late in the third period to go up 16-13, he secured the pin at 26.9 seconds.

The 220-pounders were next, with sophomore Brandon Manning facing an early 6-0 deficit. The ISD wrestler won by pin at the 14.5 mark of the first period.

Batesville gave up the 285-pound class to make it 18-12. Sophomore Alex Murphy had little trouble with his opponent at 113 pounds, following a double forfeit at 106.

Senior Caleb Bischoff-Niese took a 5-1 lead into the second period in the 120-lb. division. He was then taken down and pinned a hair before the next horn sounded.

The Orioles tied the match at 24 with a forfeit in the 126-pound class. Junior Tyler Schaeffer had the same result at 132, putting his team back in front briefly before Linkel’s spot gave six points back to ISD.

At 152, sophomore Josh Mobley had to battle into the third period but controlled his foe to the tune of a 12-3 score. With 1:22 on the clock, he picked up a pin.

Senior Nick Nobbe’s goal would be to avoid a pin to keep the Orioles at bay. Unfortunately, he got down 4-1 early and suffered a pin at 1:05 in the first.

Despite an off night for the seniors, Miller was thankful for each of them giving four years to the program.

“Having that many seniors brought a lot of leadership and experience to the wrestling room, that wasn’t there as much in my first two years,” said Miller. “A lot of what drives a wrestling team is seniors putting in work and leading by example.”

He continued praising the group.

“JT’s had a very good career and is at 105 wins,” he said. “Axel’s come on strong, and is pretty high up in wins and takedowns. Finishing third at conference puts him in good position for the sectional.

“Caleb’s been a team captain the last two years,” added the coach. “He takes down some of his best opponents, but sometimes falls short. He’s a hard worker and will come back to make regional. Nick’s a kid we can throw out there either at his weight or up a weight, who always fights strong. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Jonah (Chase) for much of the season.”

Batesville finished the regular season at 9-25 and had 10 days to rest before the state tournament begins at Franklin County Feb. 1. Seedings for the sectional should be released by Tuesday.

EASTERN INDIANA ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (Jan. 18)

Nine of 11 Bulldog wrestlers placed, with four in the top three, at this year’s EIAC meet hosted by South Dearborn. BHS finished 7th among 8 schools; East Central won going away.

Mobley was runner-up at 152 pounds. Mobley had one forfeit and a 13-4 major-decision victory before a loss to conference MVP Bryer Hall of EC (ranked 3rd in Indiana).

Murphy went 3-1 with one pin, tech fall and forfeit. Linkel also was 3-1; his three pins give him 28 on the year, rebreaking his own school record. A. Garcia went 3-1 with 1 pin and 2 decisions.

C. Garcia had a 5th-place finish, going 2-2 with a pair of major decisions. Bischoff-Niese, Jonathan Lamping, Jonathan Schrank and Manning each had 1 win to place 6th.

Will Fehlinger can be contacted at sports@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, ext. 220112