Olympian wrestlers gear up for duals

When the IHSAA disbanded the postseason dual-meet state tournament following the 2011-12 season, the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association decided to form their own in-season dual-meet event.

On Friday, 36 teams — 12 in each of three classes — will converge on Fort Wayne’s Allen County Memorial Coliseum to battle for the state duals crown. Columbus East will be in the big-school division.

The Olympians will be making their first appearance at the state duals.

“It’s a big opportunity for our program,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “I was just telling the guys (Tuesday) that a lot of the guys and the coaches have put the work in for years to get this chance to go against the best kids in the state.”

Each class is divided into four three-team pools. The winners of each pool will battle for first through fourth place, while the second-place finishers in each pool will battle for spots 5 through 8.

The 13th-ranked Olympians are in the same pool as No. 4 Perry Meridian and No. 19 Penn. Perry Meridian, which is the overall No. 2 seed in the 3A division, beat East 48-18 Dec. 10 in the Falcons’ own invitational.

“They’re very good,” Cooper said. “They’re a high-quality team. To beat them, we definitely have to be on. Penn is a very strong program. I think we match up with them pretty well, but you have to come out and wrestle.”

The Olympians are led by four state-ranked wrestlers. Sophomore Cayden Rooks (120 pounds) and juniors Graham Rooks (126) and Dawson Combest (132) all are ranked No. 4 in their weight classes, while sophomore Jake Schoenegge is No. 8 at 138.

Columbus North to host loaded field

There won’t be a weak link in the tournament when eight teams battle in the Subway/Columbus North Invitational today and Friday.All eight teams have winning records. Zionsville is ranked No. 4 in this week’s Class 4A poll, while Center Grove and the host Bull Dogs are receiving votes.

North (8-3), which has won the tournament each of its four years, opens play at 6 p.m. today in Memorial Gym against Evansville Memorial (4-2). At the same time, Mooresville (8-4) and Merrillville (8-3) will play in Gym 2. Then at 7:45 p.m., Center Grove (10-2) and Elkhart Central (7-5) will meet in Memorial Gym, and Jeffersonville (8-4) and Zionsville (12-1) will play in Gym 2.

Losers of today’s games will play at 10 a.m. Friday in both gyms, and winners of those games will play at 11:45 a.m. Friday in both gyms. The seventh-place game will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Gym 2, and the fifth-place game will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Memorial Gym, followed by the third-place game around 5;15 p.m. and the championship around 7 p.m.

Other teams in tourneys

The Columbus North girls won’t be the only local basketball team playing in a holiday tournament this week or next week.The Columbus East and North boys will play in the Noblesville Tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bull Dogs will play Fishers at 10 a.m., and the Olympians will face Crown Point at 4 p.m. Tuesday. First-round losers will play again that night and then once on Wednesday, while first-round winners will play twice on Wednesday.

The East girls will play in the Southwestern (Hanover) Rumble on the River Dec. 29-30. The Olympians will open with Charlestown at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 29, then win or lose, will play again at 5 p.m. that day, and then twice on Dec. 30.

The Hauser and Jennings County boys will play in the South Ripley Tournament today and Friday. The Jennings girls are in the Franklin County Tournament today and Friday, and the Hauser girls are in the Union City Invitational Wednesday and Dec. 29.

The Columbus Christian boys will host a tournament Tuesday and Wednesday. The Edinburgh, South Decatur and Trinity Lutheran boys will play in the Edinburgh Tournament Tuesday and Wednesday. The Trinity girls will be in the Eastern Greene Tournament Monday and Tuesday, and the Brown County boys will be in the Monrovia Tournament Dec. 29 and 30.

Teams to host baseball camp

The Columbus East and Columbus North coaching staffs and players will host the Youth Baseball Skills Camp from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at North and Dec. 30 at East.The camp, which is for kindergarten through eighth-graders, will cover hitting and defensive skills. Players must bring a helmet, glove and bat.

Cost is $50 and includes a T-shirt. To register for the camp, visit Donner Center, call 812-376-2680 or visit columbusparksandrec.com

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