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Bull Dogs suffer slow start at tournament

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 The Columbus North wrestlers were inconsistent throughout the Conference Indiana Tournament and did not have a strong showing as they would have liked.

The Bull Dogs finished in fourth place with 131 points. Perennial powerhouse Perry Meridian won with 289.

North coach Nick Skinner said they wrestled to their expectations toward the end, but would have liked for the team to start off on a strong note.

“Overall, we wrestled very well in the consolation brackets,” Skinner said.

“We didn’t have our best showing in the championship bracket initially. We kind of choked in those big matches that could have gotten us to the finals in the individual matches.

“We need more mental toughness, as we gave up points early in the matches, especially on the out of bounds line where we allowed takedowns,” he said. “We’re improving, but we still have a lot of work to do before sectional in two weeks.”

Senior Luke Teague finished third in the 182-pound class.

“I feel like in my first match, I could have done better. I was disappointed at first,” Teague said. “I didn’t think I was mentally ready, and I fell out of sync and not in my comfort zone. I bounced back nicely after that loss though and fought hard the rest of the way.”

Other third places finishes for the Bull Dogs were from Evan Speaker at 113, Cody Speaker at 126, Mason Day at 160 and Brandon Woods at 220.

“Coming in, I was projected to finish third in my (weight) class,” said senior Evan Speaker, who won his third-place match with a 6-4 decision. “I did excellent overall. I would have liked to wrestle in the finals.”

Jessee Holt and Jacob Lashley placed fifth in the 132 and 145 pound classes, respectively. Brandon Hinckley took sixth place in his 138 pound class.

Senior Andrew Jones had a strong showing in his semifinal match against Perry Meridian’s Michael Thomas. However, Jones ended up tweaking his shoulder during that match. Skinner decided to pull Jones from the tournament after that for precautionary reasons.

“He probably would have come

in third place here,” Skinner said. “He told me he was fine and still wanted to be out there fighting. I knew he could still go, but I made the decision so I could have him 100 percent healthy when we get to sectional.”

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