NORTH VERNON — The Columbus East wrestling team suffered just one dual-meet loss this season — against Jennings County. The Olympians finished second at the Hoosier Hills Conference championship, again coming up just short against Jennings County.
They were not about to be denied again.
Guided by six individual champions, East served up a healthy serving of revenge at the Jennings County Sectional, easily outdistancing the host Panthers for the team crown. The Olympians finished the day with 255.5 points, topping Jennings County by 34.
The sectional title was the first for East since 2013.
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“We didn’t feel like we gave our best effort at conference,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “All the kids even said, ‘You know, I think we can wrestle better than that.’”
As was expected, the Olympians did a great deal of their damage in the lower weight classes.
Cayden Rooks dominated throughout in winning the 106-pound weight class, and Jake Schoenegge posted a 4-0 victory against Jennings County’s Dalton Craig to win the title at 113. Graham Rooks pinned Columbus North’s Isaiah Peetz late in the third period to claim the 120-pound crown, and Dawson Combest held off the Panthers’ Nick South in the 126-pound final.
“To see those guys go out and wrestle well and dominate, it’s easy to follow suit,” Cooper stated. “It’s kind of like they’re setting the tone for the final round.”
The Olympians also got championship performances from Coy Park at 170 pounds and Sean Galligar in the heavyweight division. Corban Pollitt was a 4-3 runner-up to Brown County’s Evan Bullock at 132 pounds, Ben Wilkerson finished second to Andrew Herrin of Jennings County at 152 and 182-pounder Lane Goode lost his title match with Bristen Dial of Brown County.
East’s Jacob Martindale (138 pounds), Austin Wilson (160) and Seth Turner (195) also advanced to next weekend’s Jeffersonville Regional.
Zane Beineke (145 pounds), Christian Redmond (195), Herrin and Cole Chandler, who edged Columbus North’s Andrew Chapman, 2-0, in the 160-pound final, came away with individual titles for Jennings County. Also earning regional bids for the Panthers were Craig, South, Victor Antunez (106 pounds), Xavier Barberis (120), Brooks Wathen (138) and Sam Woolf (170).
Seymour, coming off the best regular season in school history, placed third with 158 points and has nine wrestlers moving on to next weekend.
Garrett Johnson knocked off Jennings County’s Wathen to win first place at 138 pounds, Tyler Bicknell was second at 195 and Chaney Reichenbacker pulled an early upset of top-seeded Dakota Binkley of Scottsburg on the way to a runner-up finish at 145. Also advancing for the Owls are Justin Ruddick (106 pounds), Brendan Penegar (120), John Shuffitt (126), David Shuffitt (132), Zack Newton (152) and Dalton Miller (220).
“It was pretty important to keep the morale up going into regionals,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, we can get a couple more guys to semistate, if not all nine. That’d be pretty great. It was a pretty big showing for us today — it could have been better, but it definitely could have been worse.”
Columbus North finished the day in fifth place with 112 points. In addition to finals appearances from Peetz and Chapman, the Bull Dogs also got third-place finishes from Alex Davidson at 145 pounds, Brigham Kleinhenz at 152 and Josh Larson at 182. Cortez Bandy and David Redding also clinched regional bids at 195 and 285 pounds, respectively.
Three Brown County wrestlers punched regional tickets — Bullock, Dial and 220-pounder Andrew Gardner.
While Columbus East was savoring its victory against Jennings County on Saturday evening, the Olympians have their eyes on bigger prizes.
“We worked so hard to get here, and it just feels really good,” Combest said. “But we need to beat them again next week and maybe again the week after that.”