Local wrestlers show dominance on the matsJanuary 29, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — Schools across southern Indiana broke out the headgear and singlets this past Saturday, as scores of wrestlers gathered at Huntingburg Memorial Gym to push, grab, and slam each other on the mats for the right to call themselves sectional champions.
The Floyd Central Highlanders took home top team honors with 245.5 points overall. But the Southridge Raiders also had a strong showing, placing second with 222 points and sending 12 wrestlers to regionals next week to compete for berths to semistate.
“I am really happy with our team and how we did,” said Southridge wrestling coach Dave Schank, who’s son Tucker won the 160-pound sectional championship Saturday. “All we can really control is what we did, and I think we did a really good job. We know we’re not a real technical team, but we got some tough kids. All we ask them to do is go battle and be tough. I’m happy with it.”
Sophomore Brad Springer defeated North Knox’s Colten Foster to claim the 152-pound sectional title in a 2-1 decision, and weathered a bracket run that saw him take on the top two wrestlers ranked in his weight class as he made his way to the championship. Schank described him as a “funky-style” wrestler who you can never count out of a match.
Springer displayed good body positioning, ring craft, and control of his opponent as he wrestled his way to the top spot at the winner’s podium. Springer admitted he felt nervous when he looked at his path through the tournament, but that did not stop him from taking care of business.
“I felt really good. I wasn’t too confident about my last match because my guy (Foster) was undefeated,” Springer said. “But I wrestled above my seed, beat my two-seed, then went on to the championship and won. I was very excited.”
“(For) Brad I was a little bit nervous; how would he react, since it’s the first time for him,” added Schank. “He beat a kid who was seeded number one, and he came back and beat the number two. He had the toughest day. Brad doesn’t ever show much emotion, but he wanted this today and wrestled like it.”
But Springer wasn’t the only one to take home top honors, as junior dynamo Tucker Schank, won his third sectional championship after he defeated Mitchell’s Ethan Bohnenkamp in the 160-pound weight class. Even though the championship coat is not a new thing for Tucker at this point in his athletic career, he still maintains a level-headed attitude about his success and the work that’s required to earn a sectional title.
“Being seeded number one, I knew I had a lot to live up to,” he said. “I didn’t want to let the fans down. I didn’t want to let myself down. I knew with the addition of Floyd Central and some other schools it would be a tougher route to the finals. It felt good to get out of this one.”
“Tucker’s been around the block, he’s wrestled so many times,” said Dave Schank as he talked about his son, who also scored the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion for Southridge in the 2A state football title game in November. “He puts this all in perspective. I wasn’t really surprised with him, but I’m proud of him.”
Southridge also had seven other wrestlers who placed in the top three in their divisions at the conclusion of the sectional meet: Tanner Kane (third place, 113 pound), Gavin Duncan (third place, 120 pound), Matt Springer (second place, 132 pound), Sam Schroeder (third place, 145 pound), Cole Calvert (second place, 182 pound), Mitchell Carter (second place, 220 pound), and Wyatt Kramer (second place, 285 pound).
Jasper finished fifth overall with 142 points on the day, with junior Zachary Flynn claiming the 170-pound sectional title. They will also send six wrestlers to Bloomington for regionals.
“We were really pleased with our guys,” said Jasper wrestling coach Jace Brescher. “We were really proud of (Flynn); he’s starting to put stuff together. He made that match look easy, and we’re really excited for his chances up at regionals next weekend.”
In addition to Flynn, the Wildcats also had top-three finishes from junior Landon Betz (third place, 138 pound) and sophomore Sam Bies (second place, 145 pound).
Forest Park finished in ninth place with 40 points, but sophomore Isaac Brosmer did make it to the final round of the 106-pound division before falling short against Floyd Central’s Gavinn Alstott.
“He did all that he could do. The kid that beat him is a phenomenal kid,” said Forest Park wrestling coach Craig Recker. ”But I’m pretty happy with him, he’s a solid wrestler and had a good day.”
Recker said it was a tough year for his young team. The roster filled out with nothing but freshmen and sophomores, and Recker expected his boys to take their lumps over the course of the season. But he is happy about the progress his team has made, and has relished in the challenge of getting all of the boys up to speed and competitive, in spite of their lack of experience.
“We’re way better wrestlers (from where we started),” he said. “After the first round I couldn’t have been any happier. We had a great morning and wrestled really well. We’ve come a long ways all year. I’m pretty optimistic for what the future holds.”
In total, Dubois County will send 19 wrestlers to Bloomington to compete in regionals next weekend. It’s an opportunity to keep working toward a state title for all that are involved, and will be a test of each team’s grit and champion spirit as they battle to take the mat one last time for all the marbles.
“The whole entire mantra is ‘Win One More,’” said Dave Schank. “No matter what position they got today, they win one match and they’re going to wrestle at the Ford Center. Some of those kids up there will be tough, but we feel good about our odds.”
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