JEFFERSONVILLE — Every wrestler from Columbus East and North stayed alive Saturday in the postseason.
The Olympians set a school record by advancing all 13 of its regional qualifiers to semistate, while all four of the Bull Dog grapplers also advanced to the Evansville Semistate with top-four finishes in Saturday’s Jeffersonville Regional.
Eighth-ranked East — behind nine individual champions — scored 250 points to repeat as regional champions —154 points ahead of a second-place tie between Seymour and Jeffersonville. Jennings County finished fourth in the 20-team field with 90 points, while Columbus North took sixth (56) and Brown County tied for 10th (19).
The Panthers moved six wrestlers on to next week’s competition, and the Eagles will send two.
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East coach Chris Cooper said his team performed well under pressure.
“It was just a fantastic day,” Cooper said. “At practice this week, we just talked about getting everyone through. It’s one thing to talk about it, but for the kids to come out and do it is just fantastic. The main thing is that our kids believe in getting better every day. They know they can be better each time out. It’s a testament to their work ethic, coachability and willingness to improve.”
East 113-pounder Jeremy Clark was the first Olympian to emerge with a regional title, defeating Madison’s Camden Spears by major decision (13-3). At 120, Jennings’ Victor Antunez won by decision (6-3) against East’s Joey Gordon, the Panthers’ lone individual champ.
East’s Cayden Rooks won at 126 over North’s Keandre Watson 15-7, and the Panthers’ Xavier Barberis finished third in that class. The 132 final saw the Olympians’ Graham Rooks pin Jennings’s Dalton Craig in 3:51.
Dawson Combest was champion for East at 138 with a pin on Jeffersonville’s Trent Brown in 4:41. Combest said that the team, which was up by 103 points going into the finals, came to compete.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s a big confidence booster,” he said. “ We’ve put a lot of work in this season and in the offseason. It’s pretty cool to be a part of a team that’s still breaking records at Columbus East.”
The fifth champion for the Olympians was Jake Schoenegge, who won all three of his matches by pin.
The 152 match up proved the toughest on the day. In the final, East’s Corban Pollitt gutted out a 1-0 decision against the Panthers’ Brooks Wathen.
Nick South won his final two matches by technical fall to claim the 160 title for the Olympians. East claimed the final two matches of the day, with Jacob Bolte (220) and Dalton Anderson (285) finishing at the top of their brackets.
East’s Nate John (106) finished third. Andy Davidson (170) and Noah White (182) each placed fourth.
Cooper said the Olympians need to turn up the intensity again next week.
“I don’t think it matters who you are (facing),” Cooper said. “Four guys advance for a reason. There’s no reason the guy who got third or fourth out here can’t qualify for state. We’re going to make sure everyone has the mentality that they can get to state.”
North’s Morgan Smith was runner-up at 106 to Seymour’s Isaiah Pichardo. The Bull Dogs’ Brigham Kleinhenz (170) and Bradley Guiterrez (220) each took third.
“It’s what we expected with having four finalists last week,” North coach Justin Cooper said. “We did our job this week. We are doing well. We want to be sure we are always attacking. We can’t be afraid to win, we always want to be pressing forward.”
Jennings’ Zane Beineke was runner-up at 170, with a 10-6 loss to Jeffersonville’s Kameron Fuller. Teagan Johnson was fourth at 106.
“We thought they wrestled exceptionally well,” Jennings coach Howard Jones said. “It comes down to the luck of the draw now. A lot of times, you will have a first place winner from another regional that isn’t as good as a fourth place from another regional.”
Brown County’s Levi Mullins (195) finished third, and David Tucker (113) took fourth to also advance.