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The Columbus East wrestling team had a lot of momentum going into the final round of the East 8-Way tournament with 11 wrestlers guaranteed at least a fourth-place finish.
While 132-pounder Dalton Noblitt was the lone overall champion for the Olympians, seven wrestlers won their medal-round matches, giving the Olympians the team title with 209.5 points.
Noblitt rushed through the first two rounds with pins, but found the going much tougher in his championship match against Richmond’s Alston Bane.
A third-period escape put Noblitt up 4-3, and he picked up an additional penalty point to secure the 5-3 victory.
“I just didn’t want to take any chances,” Noblitt said after allowing the final 30 seconds to tick away without shooting on Bane. “He had to work in the end and try to get a late takedown, but I stayed defensive and wrestled my match.”
Four other wrestlers secured spots in the finals for the Olympians as well, but came up just short of claiming the title.
At 106 pounds, East’s Evan Bullock dropped a 2-1 decision to Brown County’s Evan Bullock. East’s Logan Doyle was unable to keep a hold of his 2-1 lead in double overtime, getting reversed with 15 seconds remaining in a 3-2 loss to Dillon Deckard of Edgewood at 138 pounds.
Will Bucklew also took second for the Olympians, falling 7-2 to Levi Scott of Western Boone at 160, and Jimmy Fisher lost 8-2 against Gabe Koontz of Edgewood at 170 pounds.
East won five of its six matches in the third place bouts and had three wrestlers place fifth or sixth.
Olympians freshman Jared Stadtmiller, who put up two pins en route to his third-place finish at 220 pounds, said the team’s hard work has been paying off.
“It is more of a motivation thing,” Stadtmiller said. “We always pick each other up and stand by the mat when they wrestle, and it’s those little things that can boost a team’s confidence.”
East coach Chris Cooper said the team kept its focus throughout the tournament.
“Ten guys in the top three is pretty solid,” Cooper said. “We had only one champ, but the team came together and put up a pretty good tournament.”
Cooper said the team should’ve finished better in the first-place matches.
“We’re not where we need to be by any means,” Cooper said. “One champion is not going to get it done come sectional time.”
The Brown County wrestling team went three for three in the finals, and took a third-place finish with 171.5 points. Greensburg was second with 195 points and had two champs.
The Eagles got their winning ways started with Evan Bullock pulling out the narrow victory against Connor.
Connor put the first point on the board with an escape with seven seconds remaining in the second period, but Bullock responded with a quick double leg takedown 15 seconds into the third period to go up 2-1.
Connor had a chance to score with 30 seconds remaining in the period with a near reversal off a loose tilt by Bullock, but Bullock reset himself and rode Connor out.
“I mostly tried to keep the legs in to hold him down,” Bullock said. “I tried to get back points, and he almost put me in a bad position.”
Brown County’s Austin Ely went through the invitational in dominating fashion, pinning his first two opponents and winning by a 12-2 major decision against Zack Bartosz of Greensburg in the finals at 113 pounds.
Jake Strickland also put up a solid performance for the Eagles in the 126-pound final, pinning Ryan Weireter from Richmond in 3:10.
Brown County won its first six matches in the final round, with nine wrestlers placing fourth or higher.
Eagles coach Mark Bruner said the team’s performance at the lower weights was key to its success.
“Our lower weights really stepped up for us today,” Bruner said. “We had guys get some last second wins for us today and gave us big points.”
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