Wrestlers find momentum with county tourney ahead

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PENDLETON — Arabian wrestlers are prepping for their pursuit of an eighth-straight Madison County Championship with big wins during the weekend and against Anderson Dec. 13.

Pendleton Heights bested visiting Anderson 42-29 with wins by fall from Elijah Wolf, Elijah Creel, Jackson Todd and Blake Nicholson, and a decision wins for Jay Covington, Jameson Walford, Ethan Childers and Chris Crank.

On Saturday, the Arabians hosted their own Super Six Invitational with the Arabians going 4-0 for the day.

Creel, Nicholson, Todd, Childers, Boyne Chen and Sam Mossoney went undefeated for the day. Wolf, Covington and Crank were 3-1.

“We wrestled pretty well,” coach Dave Cloud said. “We’re a really young team.”

Cloud noted that with 25 of the 44 team members being freshmen, there are not a lot of older wrestlers for the younger ones to look to for advice and experience.

One inspirations, though, is the athletes want to be successful for their teammate Colin Gillespie.

Gillespie and sister Ashlyn were injured in a devastating car crash on Nov. 22.

“They really want to do well for Colin since he can’t be at the meets,” Cloud said.

He mentioned that Colin’s father Bill gave them marching orders to “get out there and practice hard.”

While the boys were at home, the female wrestlers traveled to Lebanon where they competed in the Lebanon Girls Invite. Kyla Hannah placed fourth, Savannah Coppell placed sixth and Kasey Cruse placed eighth.

The Arabians play host to the Madison County Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 18, with matches beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The Arabians have won the title 30 times since its start in 1972.

Cloud said the tournament has deep meaning for the team, and keeping the trophy in Pendleton is important.

“Pressure is a privilege. It means a lot,” Cloud said. “George King (founder of the tournament) always said ‘Let’s bring that trophy home where it belongs.’ It’s something to put pressure on ourselves.”

Between practice and matches, the team found time to give back to the community with their annual Christmas shopping trip.

Donors provided the means for the team to help three families this year.

“It really means something for us to be able to do this. It’s a great thing for all of us,” Cloud said.

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