SYRACUSE — Following five long rounds of wrestling, both Whitely County schools had accomplished at least some of their goals for the day.
For the Whitko Wildcats it was to repeat as Wawasee Super Duals Invitational tournament champions, and for the Columbia City Eagles it was to notch their first match win of the season.
Both teams met their goals with the Wildcats going 5-0 on the day to claim the Invitational title and the young Eagles picking up their first win of the season, a 54-27 win over Tippecanoe Valley.
“The whole goal coming in was to go 5-0 and wrestle well,” first year Whitko head coach Frank Bumgardner said. “We thought we did that for the most part even though there is always room to improve.”
The Wildcats’ first match of the day turned out to be their closest. The Wildcats fell behind 19-0 to host Wawasee before Colton LeTourneau picked up a forfeit win at 112 pound to get the Wildcats on the board.
The Wildcats reeled off three straight pins by Chad Busz, Jordan Gilbert, and Austin LeTourneau to take a 24-19 lead. The Wildcats took the next three matches by decision to push their lead to 33-19 before two late pins by the Warriors closed the score to 33-31.
The Wildcats dispatched Bishop Dwenger in round two by a 58-24 count with Logan Ison, both LeTourneaus, Busz , Cody Bays, Ian Pherigo, Wes Gensch, Ben Hinora, and Tyler Miller picking up wins for the Wildcats.
The Eagles meantime dropped a first round decision to Fort Wayne South Side by a 44-17 score.
In the match, the Eagles picked up wins from Russell Hazelet at 171 pounds, Nathan Strange at 215, Bryce Forrester at 112 pounds, and Joe McCullough at 135 pounds.
In round two the Eagles picked up their first win of the season, recording a 54-27 win over the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings. The Eagles started out with an 18-0 lead with Strange, Joe Fahl and Michael Wright picking up forfeit wins. Forrester picked up a pinfall win to push the Columbia City lead to 24-0.
Wins by Trey Hinen and Alan Trabert pushed the lead to 36-0 before the Vikings got on the board. McCullough, Chais Wilkinson and Hazelet all picked up pinfall wins to complete the win for the Eagles.
In round three the two Whitley County teams met, with the Wildcats posting a 41-30 win. With matches starting at 215 pounds, Whitko’s Logan Ison dropped a narrow 5-4 decision to Columbia City’s Nathan Strange to put the Eagles up 3-0.
Whitko’s Hinora scored a pinfall win over Columbia City’s Fahl to put the Wildcats up 6-3. With Columbia City leading 9-3 thanks to a forfeit at 103 pounds Colton LeTourneau and Bryce Forester, both undefeated at the time squared off at 112 pounds.
With LeTourneau leading 9-3, Forrester scored a reversal and pinned LeTourneau for LeTourneau’s only loss of the day. Chad Busz, Jordan Gilbert and Austin LeTourneau all recorded pinfall wins for the Wildcats to give them a 24-15 lead over the Eagles.
The Wildcats’ Braxton Neely, Josh Busenbark, and Ian Pherigo scored decision wins, while Chais Wilkinson, Russell Hazelet and Zach Perry picked up victories for the Eagles to account for the final 41-30 score.
In round four the Wildcats downed South Side 51-22, with Hinora, Busz, Gilbert Austin LeTourneau, Chris Phillips, and Wes Gensch all picking up pinfall wins for the Wildcats.
Columbia City faced off against Bishop Dwenger, and after all 14 matches the two teams were tied at 39-39.
The tie was broken on the eighth criteria giving the Saints the win. Picking up wins for the Eagles were Kyle Weigold, Forrester, Hinen, Trabert, Eric Shepherd, and Justin Trigg.
In the final round Whitko downed Tippecanoe Valley 51-21 while the Eagles fell to host Wawasee 51-20.
Undefeated Whitley County wrestlers were Columbia City’s Forrester at 112 pounds, Whitko’s Busz at 119, the Wildcats’ Gilbert at 125, and Austin LeTourneau at 130 pounds.