INDIANAPOLIS — Columbus East gained two more individual state champions during the 2018 Wrestling State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to make it three total in two years.
Senior Graham Rooks and Nick South both won state championships to help the Olympians place third overall as a team with 98 ½ points. Indianapolis Cathedral won with 108 points, and Brownsburg placed second with 100 ½.
“I’m so proud of our team. We wrestled amazing,” South said. “We weren’t supposed to be top three, not at all, not even close … We weren’t even supposed to be in the running to possibly win, and we were. We were right up there with them.”
Senior Graham Rooks became the school’s second state champion when he beat Alex Mosconi of Cathedral 4-1 at 132 pounds. The top-ranked Rooks earned an early two-point advantage in the first period before going up 3-0 in the second period. He continued to stay poised as he has done all year to earn his fourth-top four finish in four years.
Rooks wrestled in his last match as an Olympian and finished the season with a perfect 48-0 record.
“It’s bittersweet,” Rooks said. “I’ll never get to wrestle with this whole team again, but coming out a state champ, I know they’re all proud. I just couldn’t be more thankful for the team we had this year.”
No. 5-ranked South wrestled top-ranked Gleason Mappes of Center Grove for the third time this season. South beat Mappes for the first time in last week’s semistate final and won in a 9-6 decision in the 160-pound state final.
South earned the first two points against Mappes but found himself trailing 5-4. South scored five of the last six points to get the win.
“Unbelievable,” East coach Chris Cooper said of the two champions. “I’m so happy for both of those kids. They work so hard, they listen and they’re coachable. Those two guys are in the (wrestling) room every day just go, go, go, go. I’m so proud of them.”
Cayden Rooks earned a second-place finish at 126 after making it to the championship match for the second consecutive year. He won the school’s first state title last season, but came up one point short this year. He lost to 3-2 to Asa Garcia of Avon after beating him a week earlier in the semistate final.
No. 6-ranked Jake Schoenegge ended his season with a third-place finish at 145 after beating a familiar foe in Tristan Sellmar of Floyd Central with a 3-1 decision. Corban Pollitt finished seventh at 152.
“It feel great avenging a loss last weekend (at semistate) and the (Hoosier Hills) Conference where he beat me pretty bad,” Schoenegge said.
No. 3-ranked Dawson Combest had a tough overtime match in the semifinal round at 138 against Kristian Rumph of Portage, followed by another overtime in the placement round against Blake Mulkey from Brownsburg. Combest came back from being down 5-1 to force an extra period against Rumph, but lost 11-9 after Rumph — won went on to win the title — earned the final two points.
Combest finished fourth after losing his second overtime match 3-1 to Mulkey.
Saturday concludes both Combest’s and Graham Rooks’ high school careers. Rooks is committed to wrestling at Indiana University next season, while Combest is headed to University of Indianapolis.
East had eight wrestlers total in the state tournament. Andy Davidson (170) and Jacob Bolte (220) lost their first-round matches Friday night, as did Columbus North’s Brigham Kleinhenz (170).
“I’m really going to miss this group of guys,” Cooper said. “They’re best friends, they hang out all the time. They do stuff together. They’re fun to be around, not only on the mat, but in practice off the mat. It’s a great group.”