Pendleton finishes fifth at HHC

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MUNCIE — The Pendleton Heights wrestling team finished fifth at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Delta High School.

The meet was also attended by Yorktown, Greenfield-Central, Delta, New Castle, Mt. Vernon, New Palestine and Shelbyville high schools.

All Arabian wrestlers placed in the top six after the first round, but only three made it to the final round.

The team sat in third place heading into the final round, but the Arabian team was unable to hold its position because it didn’t have enough wrestlers.

“We had a pretty poor round — we wrestled badly, and made bad decisions,” head coach David Cloud said. “We didn’t push the other guys; we didn’t wrestle very well and lacked in performance in the last round.”

Zach Sanford (106 pounds) placed sixth, Jacob Fiew (113) placed fourth, Jace Longere (120) and Elijah Bauer (126) placed sixth, Ben Avey (132) placed second, Caleb Gibson (138) placed fourth, Derek Sikorski (145) placed sixth, Alex Johnson (152) placed second, Dawson Miller (160) placed third, Clayton Todd (170) placed fifth, Brandon Johns (182) and Andrew Surber (220) placed fourth, and Holden Lawson (285) placed second.

Seniors Johnson (152), Avey (132) and Lawson (285) won their semifinal matches, but all three wrestlers fell to Yorktown in the final round.

“Our conference is one of the best conferences in Indiana for wrestling,” Cloud said. “So it’s just getting the kids to wrestle at their highest level at every round. You can’t just do it once or twice — they have to do it every time they step on the mat.

“Some of that is youth and inexperience and not being ready to start a match, or getting themselves down early and losing a close match because they’re not ready to go. It’s just a part of sports; you have to be ready every time you step on the mat. … We don’t expect them to win all of their matches, but we expect them to be ready to wrestle every time.”

Cloud said the team must improve on that front if it’s to attain its goal — to win sectional.

“We’ve come a long way, and we’re always looking to get better. I feel like we have a lot more to do, but I feel like we can get it done before sectionals.”

Pendleton Heights chalked up a total of 158 points for its final team score at the Hoosier Heritage Conference. Yorktown took first place.

Pendleton Heights wrestled its last regular season match at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 (after press time), against Frankton High School.

The Arabians head to sectional on Jan. 28.