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Danville takes lumps, gains experience at sectionals

The weekend’s Section 4 Small School Duals didn’t go how Danville wrestling coach Joey Sallee would’ve liked — his Admirals went 0-5 in the tournament — but he still saw strong individual performances that were encouraging.

“Our section was invited to wrestle this event during the National Wrestling Coaches Association Multi-Level National Duals,” Sallee said. “We spent two days wrestling alongside some of the best Division II, III, and NAIA programs. The tournament also included the top collegiate women’s programs as well as the top junior college programs in the nation. This was an excellent experience for our kids. 

“We did not get the results we wanted, but we gained some valuable experience for our young team in a very intense environment.”

Jaxsin Clontz, wrestling at 285, won a major decision over Wayne County’s Cameron Hughes 11-2 and put in good showings in his other two matches.

Clontz really picked it up at 285. He lost matches, but the effort was there,” Sallee said. “He stayed off his back, and managed to be in a position to win right up to the very end.”

Kadin McWilliams went 4-1 in his matches at 182. He started the event off with a major decision loss to Boyle County’s Ben Rush, but took down Wayne County’s Dustin Vaughn in 5:03 for a win in the second dual. After claiming a win via forfeit in the Perry Central dual, McWilliams went on to win by decision over Julian Blaylock of Knox Central and McCreary Central’s Keandre Gigilo.

But it wasn’t enough. The event was bookended by big losses for Danville — starting with a 73-6 loss to rival Boyle County and ending with a 69-9 loss to McCreary Central — with some closer losses (42-40 to Perry Central and 45-33 to Knox Central) inbetween.

“Not the performance we like to see at this point in the season. We had some good individual performances, but as a team we failed to show up,” Sallee said. “Both of our girls, (Charlie) Blevins and (Alicia) Campbell, gave it all they had at 106 and 113. We have several middle school kids that are wrestling varsity for us — (Cameron) King, (Kaleb) Wilcher, (Gavin) Rodriguez — that are taking their lumps right now. Their day will come.”

For now, all the Admirals can do is keep on the grind.

“We will be back at it on Monday. We will make adjustments, continue to fix things, and move forward. It doesn’t get any easier,” Sallee said. “We will be in the Dragon Invitational at South Oldham on Saturday. It’s always a tough tournament.”