JEFFERSONVILLE — Friday night’s Hoosier Hills Conference wrestling tournament went well past midnight, but it was all worth it for a Columbus East program that had won its second consecutive conference title.
Six individual champions and 12 top-three finishes helped the eighth-ranked Olympians outscore runner-up Floyd Central by a 261-194 margin.
“Six champs — that’s the most we’ve ever had,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “At 14 weights, when you’re winning six weights, it’s almost like winning a dual meet against the conference’s best. I’m really proud of our guys.”
Jennings County earned one individual HHC title and three second-place finishes to earn 149 points for fourth overall.
Story continues below gallery
The Olympians had several wrestlers keeping their conference champion streaks alive, including No. 1-ranked senior Graham Rooks, who has held the HHC title all four years after earning his final one at 132 pounds. His younger brother, No. 2-ranked junior Cayden Rooks, extended his streak to three after winning the 126-pound weight class title, even though illness left him wrestling at less than 100 percent.
No. 4-ranked senior Dawson Combest won his final conference championship at 138 pounds for his third consecutive title. Senior Corban Pollitt won his second HHC title, placing first at 152 pounds.
No. 5-ranked Nick South won his first HHC title at 160, and Dalton Anderson closed the night with the final East conference title at 285.
“I’m ready to go (for the postseason),” said Combest, who beat top-ranked Blake Mulkey of Brownsburg in overtime the night before. “It’s my last year, my last ride and I’m just glad I can enjoy it with my fellow seniors and lifelong friends on the team.”
Second-place finishes for the Olympians came from Jeremy Clark (113) and Jake Schoenege (145). Joey Gordon also placed second after losing to Jennings’ Victor Antunez at 120 pounds. It is Antunez’s second consecutive year holding a conference title.
“It’s just even better to win it again this year,” Antunez said. “… I’ve worked a lot over the years to get to this point, so it’s good to see it’s paying off.”
Antunez’s title was followed by three second-places for the Panthers in Xavier Barberis who lost to 16-5 to Cayden Rooks at 126; Dalton Craig, who lost to 23-2 to Graham Rooks at 132; and Zane Beineke at 170.
Jennings’ lone third-place finish came from Brooks Wathen at 152. The Olympians earned third-place finishes from Nate John (106), Andy Davidson (170) and Eric Cardoso (220).