Three Bulldogs advance to wrestling regional

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ELWOOD — Three Lapel wrestlers will advance to regional action after the team took seventh place at the Elwood sectional Saturday, Jan. 28. The team chalked up 82 points in the 11-team event won by Pendleton Heights.

Cully Upperman (126 pounds), Harrison Hadley (106) and Marc Fensler (138) will represent the Bulldogs at regional competition, which is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Pendleton Heights.

Hadley went undefeated through his final match. He is the only Bulldog to take home a first-place title from the sectional this year.

“I just trained to win, and to do the best I can no matter what,” Hadley said. “If I lose I lose, if I win I win, but I always take a learning experience out of it as a way I can get better.

“It takes a lot of pressure off of me, so I don’t have to be just focused on winning. If I just focused on winning, I tend to just stress myself out,” he said. “I just kept thinking about the big picture, but there are little steps you have to take to get to the big picture, and it took me a little while to understand that. It took me the whole season to have that mind-set.

The once-undefeated Sparky Manis (113) placed fifth for the Bulldogs, as did Phoenix Mills (170); Teague Scherer (285) placed sixth.

Manis has cited staying calm throughout the entire match as a reason why he has won so many of his matches, but unfortunately, the extra pressure of sectional didn’t work in his favor.

“I was pretty calm throughout of the match,” Manis said. “But at the end, I got out of position and as soon as he rolled me, I freaked out.

Fensler, who took third place in his weight class, cited nerves as his biggest challenge.

“This is the day that matters — the next three weekends are the days that matter.”

Fensler shook off the unwanted nerves and defeated his opponent in the third period, but not without struggle.