WATERLOO — When coaches find their team in the midst of a difficult season, they begin to look for little signs of improvement. They begin to set the more basic goals in order to move the team closer to the larger goal of overall success.
With six varsity wrestlers out of the lineup due to injury or match limits, the Columbia City wrestling team traveled to Northeast Hoosier Conference rival DeKalb Wednesday to face the Barons.
The Eagles ended up on the short end of a 64-9, but raised their level of intensity to meet one of head coach Blane Culp’s goals for the evening.
“Monday was our only day of practice and we made it our theme to never give up,” Culp said. “We didn’t want to give up takedowns, cheap takedowns. We didn’t want to give up easy turns or pins.
“We talked about how North Carolina State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano had cancer, but never gave up and we sort of made that our theme, and it showed tonight. We didn’t give up any cheap takedowns, and we were in most matches.”
Things started off well for the Eagles, as senior Justin Trigg got Columbia City on the scoreboard with a second period pinfall win in the opening match of the evening.
Trigg began the second period of the match at 140 pounds in the down position and quickly reversed DeKalb’s Anthony Adame. Trigg scored the pinfall with a cradle 49 seconds into the period. The win gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead.
Columbia City junior Eric Shepherd and DeKalb’s Jeff Mason battled through three periods deadlocked at 2-2. Mason was able to score a takedown in the first overtime period to notch the 4-2 win at 145 pounds.
The Barons ran off a string of four straight matches to take a 25-6 lead going into the contest at 215 pounds between Columbia City senior Nathan Strange and the Barons’ Bayley Coleman.
Strange built an early 7-3 lead, but Bayley came back to take a 9-8 lead in the third period. Strange knotted the score at 9-9 on an illegal hold by Bayley, then added an escape and a late takedown to seal the 12-9 win for the Eagles.
Both seniors really went after it tonight, with both of them getting wins for us,” coach Culp said. “Both of them could have very easily given up, but neither one of them did.”
Strange’s win was the final one for the Eagles as the Barons closed out the final matches for the 64-9 win.
The Columbia City JV wrestlers earned a 12-12 tie with the Baron reserves with Austin Applegate scoring a pinfall win over DeKalb’s Blake Kugler at 135 pounds, and Kyle Weigold pinning the Barons’ Ross Thompson 19 seconds into the second period of their match at 215 pounds.
The Eagles join fellow Whitley County squad Whitko Saturday at the Goshen Invitational.