Caleb Jarrell isn’t a sure thing to make Fairmont’s wrestling lineup every match and he knows it.
But after an unlikely win here Thursday, “for now I am,” beamed the Firebirds junior.
It was a fitting throw-back high school wrestling dual meet in an era of the sport that has been dominated by day- and weekend-long and multiple-match invitationals. A vocal and appreciative crowd that trickled into both balconies of Beavercreek’s Ed Zink Fieldhouse saw Fairmont flex its might as the area’s top-ranked Division I program.
Trailing after eight matches, the Firebirds won five of the last six matches to pin a 41-24 defeat on their Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division rivals. With the annual coaches holiday tourney coming up, the conference meet and postseason, it was just a warm-up to how often these teams will face off.
It also served as a heart-warming combined fund-raiser between the two programs to benefit the Mobley Family Fund. Four family members died in a recent Kettering house fire. Beavercreek coach Gary Wise is a native of and still resides in that neighborhood.
“With me living in Kettering and coaching here at Beavercreek, I thought that it was something that both communities could get together with,” said Wise prior to the teams gathering prior to the meet’s start and posing with a giant placard of a $3,200 check.
That even won over his longtime coaching rival, Fairmont’s Frank Baxter. “(Wise) did it out of the kindness of his heart,” Baxter said. “That’s pretty cool.”
So was the way that Jarrell passed this week’s lineup test. With just one varsity exhibition to his credit, Jarrell was the chosen one whom Beavercreek juggled its lineup for a more favorable matchup.
Instead, Jarrell battled Beavercreek’s Ben Heiland to a scoreless standoff after regulation and hit an overtime takedown to earn an emotional 2-0 victory.
That pushed Fairmont’s lead to 31-21. Brad Carroll (138) added a pin and Jordan Holbrook beat Jacob Keller 3-2 after losing by a major decision to Keller last week. That secured Fairmont’s No. 1 ranking in the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Coaches Association poll over No. 2 Creek.
Jarrell was just as excited about helping bump the Mobley Fund as he was winning.
“It was a really big deal,” he said. “(That’s) a ton of money. It was a great thing for the Kettering family. We felt really good about it and it was really heart-warming.”
Fairmont also has dual meets with Centerville and Miamisburg, the area’s other program heavyweights. Each dual has its brand name and a traveling trophy to win. Fairmont beat Creek in the “Battle of County Line.”
Count Baxter as a dual meet proponent.
“We need more of this,” he said. “People can come here and get excited for two hours and go home. People would be interested in wrestling if they saw this. Sitting in a gym for 10 hours is not fun even for the coaches. We’re going to be at a tournament this weekend and my whole life’s gone for the entire weekend. It’s crazy.”
Caleb Jarrell will be giddy to be part of that craziness. He earned it.