By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Chillicothe High School's wrestling Hornets lost at home to the neighboring Brookfield Bulldogs, 51-18, and that was good news, comparatively.
In their first season under the head coaching of Drew Passley, who was on the opposite bench as a BHS assistant last January when they failed to win a contested bout as they dueled Class 1 state power Brookfield, two Hornets won by falls over their Bulldogs foes Thursday night.
"We've got some work to do, of course," Passley commented following only his team's second home appearance of the 2012-13 season. "That's a good opponent for us to see and realize what we need to do to get better. That's good for us now.
"We've just got to learn some and move on."
Earning Chillicothe's on-mat triumphs last night – Brookfield was open at 106 pounds, giving Hornet Matt Scobee a walkover win – were a pair of sophomores, Matt Shaffer and Luke Plummer.
Plummer, at 195 pounds, worked the shortest time – 44 seconds – before stopping Brycen Corf.
Having dropped down to 138 from 145, Shaffer also didn't see a second period, ending his bout with Gage Maxwell, who was wrestling "up" a weight class, in 93 seconds.
On the night, the Hornets lost by fall four times, compared to five (plus one technical fall) in last year's 52-18 loss to the Brookfield powerhouse, which last night had seven 2012 state qualifiers and four state medalists in its lineup. Chillicothe's only wins in last year's bouts came when BHS was "open."
"I do feel positive," Passley said of a trend of improvement he's seeing in the Hornets in his first year in charge and where it could lead. "The guys are all working hard and, if we keep working hard, when districts roll around, we're going to have some guys that qualify for state, and the guys are starting to realize that."
Last night's match had a great opening act as Hornets 2012 state medalist Kyler Sewell had his second battle in less than a week with Brookfield star Garrett Zahner, the 2011 Class 1 state champion at 103 pounds.
Zahner, who qualified for state at 113 pounds last year, but was injured and unable to compete, followed up his 8-2 decision over Sewell in last Saturday's Marshall Invitational Tournament with a 6-1 victory last night.
In last year's CHS-BHS dual, Zahner major-decisioned Sewell 11-1.
The next action for the Chillicothe wrestling team will be Saturday, Jan. 12, when it participates in a tournament at Plattsburg.
Junior Caleb Stull of the Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets tries to pull Ramzie Cooper of Brookfield to the mat during their 160-pounds weight class bout during last night's dual match in Chillicothe. Cooper finished with a 12-1 major decision victory, part of BHS' 51-18 team win. (C-T Photo / Butch Shaffer)
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