With the state duals just a week away, Columbus East wrestling coach Chris Cooper wanted to see his team make some improvement in Saturday’s East Invitational.
The eighth-ranked Olympians did that, putting 10 wrestlers in the finals on their way to racking up 266 points. Terre Haute South finished second with 182, and Class 2A No. 3 Edgewood was third with 174.
“Looking back on the stuff the last two weeks that we talked about in practice that we need to improve on, we had a noticeable improvement today,” Cooper said. “This is a tournament that we should do well in, but it’s one thing to say it and another thing to come out and do it.”
Seven East wrestlers won their respective weight classes. That included senior Graham Rooks, the state’s top-ranked 132-pound wrestler. He beat Edgewood’s Zane Sullivan by a 17-5 major decision in the finals to remain unbeaten this season.
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Rooks, who became a four-time East Invitational champion, had three pins Saturday on his way to winning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler honor.
“My goal for today was to just go out, get as many takedowns as I could, wear people out during my matches and then the pins come later,” Rooks said. “Coach Cooper told me before my matches that I needed to go out, get into my underhooks and front heads, moving guys and wearing the guy down and making him not want to wrestle me anymore.”
Rooks’ brother, Cayden, ranked No. 2 at 126, scored a first-period pin against Edgewood’s Zack Lane in the final to remain unbeaten. Dawson Combest, ranked No. 4 at 138, also stayed unbeaten with a 20-5 technical fall against Homestead’s Mason Barkes in the final.
East’s Jake Schoenegge, ranked No. 7 at 145, beat Edgewood’s Austin Heckman 11-4 in the final. Corban Pollitt pinned Woodlan’s Dan Herschberger in the 152-pound final, and Nick South pinned Homestead’s Joe Parrish in the finals at 160.
The Olympians’ last win of the day came at 220, were both finalists were East wrestlers. Jacob Bolte pinned Brycen Copeland in 1 minute, 10 seconds.
Also finishing runner-up for the Olympians were Andy Davidson at 170 and Eric Cardoso at 285. Jeremy Clark (113) and Joey Gordon (120) each took third, while Jacob Botts (126) and Noah White (182) were fourth and Brayden Taylor (195) came in fifth.
Brown County finished sixth in the nine-team tournament with 89 points. Levi Mullins led the Eagles with a third-place finish at 195.
Also for Brown County, David Tucker (113), Ben Rygiel (152) and Matthew Duncan (285) all took fourth. Christian Fouts (170) was fifth, and Justin Burns (160) placed sixth.
“We have some room for improvement still,” Brown County coach Josh Sparks said. “We have a couple of weeks until our next tournament, so I think we have some time to improve. The goal is advancing in the state tournament.”