By Brady Extin | The Times Post
ELWOOD — Just two weeks ago, a banged-up Pendleton Heights wrestling team finished in last place at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet, scoring just 79 points.
Now at full strength, the Arabians showed that was a fluke, scoring 185 points and finishing in third place at the Elwood IHSAA Sectional tournament on Saturday.
Individually, Pendleton Heights had 10 wrestlers place in the top four in their division to qualify for Saturday’s regional hosted on their home floor. Lapel had two wrestlers advance.
Five of the 10 Arabians to qualify made it to the championship match, but only one was crowned a sectional champion – Jack Todd.
Sitting at 28-0 on the season and ranked No. 4 in the state for class 145 pound wrestlers, Todd made easy work of his first two opponents.
In the quarterfinals he defeated Elwood’s Kyle Shepherd by fall in just 32 seconds, and in the semifinals he knocked off Noblesville’s Christian Livingston by fall in 1:36.
In the finals, Todd faced off against Hamilton Heights’ Carson Fetting who entered with a record of 34-5 on the season. In a hard-fought match, Todd won by decision 6-4 to remain undefeated and win the 145 pound sectional title.
Four Arabians followed him with runner-up finishes.
At 126 pounds, Max Bowers (18-12) was defeated by Hamilton Heights’ Jaylyn Pugh (35-3) by fall in the second period.
In the 132 pound match, Alex Heineman (18-12) fell by first period fall to Hamilton Heights’ Isaac Kuhn (26-2).
Jay Covington (25-9) lost a 7-4 decision to Noblesville’s Carter Richardson (27-12) in the 152-pound championship match.
The last of the Arabians to make the championship round was Nate Walls (8-15). In the 195-pound finals, he lost to Anderson’s Clayton Stephens (21-6) by decision, 6-1.
Advancing to the regional round with those five were Brooks Bond at 106 pounds, Elijah Wolf at 120 pounds, Jameson Walford at 160 pounds, Chris Crank at 182 pounds, and Eli Libler at 220 pounds.
Wolf, Walford and Crank were all winners in the third-place match.
Wolf (26-8) won by fall over Noblesville’s Josh Kauzlick (13-2) in 57 seconds, Walford (22-6) defeated Anderson’s Jensen Shryock (11-9) by major decision 15-7, and Crank (21-8) won by decision 5-1 over Frankton’s Jonah Ellis (11-8).
The two Bulldogs to advance were Cole Miller in the 170-pound division, and Grissom Jernigan at 195 pounds.
Both lost by fall in the third-place match.
Miller (14-17) fell to Tipton’s William Wolford (25-7), and Jernigan (14-19) was defeated by Guerin Catholic’s Alex Sims (17-11).
Helping add to the team score, and rounding out the top six finishes for Pendleton Heights were Jayvith Kissick with a fifth-place finish at 170 pounds and Blaine Bowman with a sixth-place finish at 138 pounds.
For Lapel, Paige Stires finished in fifth-place at 113 pounds, Alan Buzan came in sixth-place at 120 pounds, and Braden Dawson was fifth in the 138-pound division.
Hamilton Heights took home the team championship with a score of 255.
They were followed by Noblesville (189), Pendleton Heights (185), Frankton (126), Alexandria Monroe (119), Anderson (85), Guerin Catholic (78), Tipton (77), Elwood Community (58), and Lapel (50).
The wrestlers that advanced will all be back in action on Saturday for the regional round hosted at Pendleton Heights beginning at 9:30 a.m.