East wrestlers finish 6th in State Duals

FORT WAYNE—Four Columbus East wrestlers went undefeated against some of Indiana’s top teams at Saturday’s IHSWCA State Duals.

The Olympians came in seeded sixth and placed sixth after going 2-2 in the 3A division. That is a significant improvement from their 0-3 showing last year.

East’s two wins came from a 37-24 win against Carroll and a 44-19 victory against Castle. East lost to No. 3 seeded Evansville Mater Dei 35-24 and fell to No. 5 seeded Avon 33-26.

“I’m just real proud of the kids,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “Even the two duals we lost, we won seven matches battling. We’ve got some young guys in the lineup. We focused the past couple of weeks on just saving the points.”

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No. 1-ranked Graham Rooks won all four of his matches at 132 pounds. He faced two top-ranked opponents in No. 9 Eli Dickens of Evansville Mater Dei, whom he beat in a 3-0 decision, and he also beat Avon’s No. 15 Jaden Reynolds 13-4. His other wins came against Carroll’s Reis Schrock (19-4) and Aidan McGhee, whom he pinned 1 minute and 51 seconds into the first period.

“Mainly it was good for me wrestling guys that I know I’ll see at semistate and state,” Rooks said. “Even with wins, there are still things you can take away from it. There are definitely some things I need to work on, especially with the Mater Dei kid.”

Nick South is ranked No. 9 at 160, and he also went undefeated in his four matches. South had a tough match against Nathan Conley of Avon who is ranked No. 15 at 132. The Oilers thought Conley had a good shot at beating South if they bumped him to 160, but South managed to survive with a 1-0 victory.

South’s other wins came against Ethan Hicks of Carroll (3-0), Ian Hartz of Castle (11-3) and Meter Dei’s Nolan Weidner (8-3).

“I was a little bit nervous, but I knew if I just went out there and did what I could do then I would beat him,” South said of Conley. “I feel like I’m kind of like under ranked because I didn’t wrestle last season.”

No. 4 Dawson Combest, who also went undefeated at 138, had his toughest match against Avon’s Mason Miranda, who is ranked No. 5 in the same weight class. Combest found himself in a 1-1 tie when a two point takedown allowed him to get the 3-1 victory over Miranda.

He also pinned Carroll’s Justin Davis and beat Matt Kincaid of Castle in a 3-0 decision. Matt Lee of Mater Dei fell to him 5-2.

The Olympians’ other undefeated wrestler came from Jacob Bolte who went 3-0 at 220 and 1-0 at 285. He beat Reeve Muncie of Carroll 3-2, Jacob Carter from Castle 3-2, and Avon’s Andrew Frank 2-0 at 220. His win at 285 came from Roman Graves of Mater Dei, whom he also beat 3-2.

No. 2 ranked Cayden Rooks’ only loss at 126 pounds came from the No. 1 ranked Asa Garcia of Avon. Rooks lost a competitive 3-1 match and finished the day with a 3-1 individual record. He and Garcia have wrestled each other a few times over the years, and could possibly see each other again in the state finals.

“All the matches have been real similar,” Cooper said. “We’ve got some things that we need to work on and fix, so when it really counts in February we’ll see where we’re at. I tell our guys all the time taking a loss is not a bad thing…it points out our weaknesses.”

Jake Schoenegge and Corban Pollitt switched off between the 145 and 152 weight classes. Both of them finished 3-1. Andy Davidson also finished 3-1 at 170 after a two point takedown in overtime against Samuel Osho of Avon gave him a 7-5 loss.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.