Olympians cruise past Grizzly Cubs

The draw for Thursday night’s Columbus East-Franklin wrestling battle gave the advantage to the Grizzly Cubs at the beginning.

But once the lower weight classes came up, the Olympians were unstoppable.

Tenth-ranked East (7-0) won the seven lightest weight classes and nine of the final 10 overall to claim a 50-16 victory.

Starting at 182 pounds, Franklin (3-4) won three of the first four matches to take a 12-3 lead. But then the Olympians’ Braeden Berger scored a pin in only 27 seconds at 106 to ignite a 37-0 run and a 47-4 finish over the final 10 matches.

“Coach (Chris Cooper) told me it was a very important match, and I thought I needed to help out the team,” Berger said. “I just used the same mentality as I use against my varsity (teammates). It’s just like practicing in the wrestling room.”

Joey Gordon followed with a 12-10 decision at 113 to tie the match at 12-12. Then, Cayden Rooks won by pin in 2:27 at 120, and Graham Rooks scored a pin in :58 at 126.

Dawson Combest picked up a 16-7 major decision at 132, and Jake Schoenegge won by pin in 2:39 at 138. After Corban Pollitt prevailed by injury default at 145, East had clinched the victory with a 40-12 lead.

The Grizzly Cubs stopped the run with a major decision at 152. But then the Olympians’ Austin Wilson scored a 17-6 major decision at 160, and Hunter Dickmeyer won by pin in 1:40 at 170 to finish off the victory.

Franklin coach Bob Hasseman said he was missing two injured wrestlers, so he bumped his 170, 182 and 195-pounders up a weight class. Burk VanHorn, who is ranked No. 1 in the state at 170, won by pin at 182 to start the match.

East’s Jacob Bolte won a 7-3 decision at 195. The Grizzly Cubs then scored a pair of decisions before the Olympians began their run.

“For this dual meet, it didn’t help us out starting where we did because that was kind of their strength,” Cooper said. “But that’s a random draw — nothing you can do about that. I anticipated this being a pretty close dual, and there were a lot of close matches, but we just won them all.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.