Columbus North’s wrestling team had been suffering from a lack of confidence during the early part of the season. Saturday’s performance should help with that.

It wasn’t a perfect day, but the shorthanded Bull Dogs put forth a strong performance at the Columbus North Invitational, posting three convincing victories in the morning and holding their own against a pair of tough afternoon opponents.

“That boosted our confidence a lot, especially coming off last weekend,” said Isaiah Peetz, who was a perfect 5-0 on the day at 120 pounds.

The Bull Dogs started the day on a high note, posting a 42-27 win against Brown County and rolling past Madison, 57-21, and Southport, 55-24. The competition got significantly tougher in the final two matches, with losses to Bloomington North and Edgewood, but the positive momentum built during the morning was still evident.

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“Early on in a tournament, if you can get team wins, that just boosts everyone’s confidence,” said Alex Davidson, who won all five of his matches at 145 pounds, “and everybody’s had a better attitude throughout the day. So it was definitely good for us as a team.”

Davidson was one of many North wrestlers who came into the day in need of a pick-me-up, and he definitely got it, scoring three pins and a major decision.

“Alex Davidson was having confidence issues early in the season, and I think today may have been a big day for him,” North coach Nick Skinner said. “He still wrestled some tough kids and came away with five wins today, so he has to have some confidence now. He beat some good wrestlers.”

Saturday was also a good day for 170-pounder Andrew Chapman and 285-pounder David Redding, both of whom won four of five. Redding had four pins on the day, a strong showing for a first-year competitor still learning the sport.

“He’s picking things up,” Skinner said of Redding. “I’m trying to throw the kitchen sink at him, trial by fire, and he’s doing okay, so I’m excited to see what happens with him at the end of the year.”

Even in the losses, the Bull Dogs were able to find some silver linings that they can build from going forward. Without a full lineup, Skinner had been expecting his team to get trounced in the final two matches, but North held its own.

The Bull Dogs fared better against Bloomington North than they did earlier in the season despite missing two starters that competed in the previous meeting.

“We wrestled tough and wrestled a lot better than what I think our team thought we’d do, but we’re capable of doing it,” Peetz said. “We have good wrestlers. They just don’t believe in themselves yet.”

Perhaps they’ll start to now.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.