The area’s longest sectional title streak couldn’t stop the Big Train on Saturday. Carroll saw its nine-year run atop its own wrestling sectional ended, as Garrett used three individual champions to claim its first team sectional title in school history.
“We were trying to make history, trying to win a sectional,” said Garrett’s Colton Weimer, who took a 5-3 sudden victory decision over Carroll’s Ben Sloffer to win the title at 113 pounds. “It’s history for Garrett, and that’s just really cool. We’re doing it for (Coach Nick Kraus). He created all of us, and we’re doing it for him.”
The Railroaders scored 208.5 points in the team competition, the lone squad to break the 200-point barrier. Carroll advanced a sectional-best 10 wrestlers to the Carroll Regional, and won two of three head-to-head battles against Garrett for championships, finishing with 192 points while Columbia City netting 171 for third. The Eagles and Chargers also claimed three individual titles, with Garrett and Columbia City both sending nine wrestlers to regionals.
This season, Kraus’ seventh leading Garrett, will stand out for multiple reasons. The sectional championship, to be sure – but also for the birth of his fourth child, Piper, who was born on Jan. 18, almost four months early.
Kraus drove separately from the team Saturday so he could head directly to the hospital, staying in steady contact with his wife, Emily, as each updated the other on the day’s happenings.
“Obviously every day’s going to be a process with that, so having a good day today is nice,” Kraus said.
Freshman Hayden Brady (106) and senior Clayton Fielden (170), who will wrestle for West Point next year, won titles in their respective weight classes. Fielden earned a pinfall and technical fall victory before pinning Columbia City’s Alton Mullinax in 2:57 to claim his championship.
“Not that it feels good to end (Carroll’s) streak, but it feels good to get a title of our own,” Fielden said. “It’s nice to be a part of the team that starts building that tradition. In the offseason, everyone’s working to get better. That’s why we’re passing teams.
“You’re seeing individuals beating kids that beat them in past years. My job is to just drill hard and get everyone else to drill hard. Working hard is contagious, I just have to instill that in everyone else, and Coach Kraus and all the coaches do a great job at getting us to work hard and work efficiently.”
NEW HAVEN SECTIONAL: In New Haven, Snider scored 226 points to run away from its competitors, while the host Bulldogs edged Homestead 201.5-201 for second. Homestead’s Joe Parrish improved to 36-0 with 27 pins on the year, while New Haven’s Elijah Chacon handed Wayne’s Josue Sotero his first loss, a 10-8 decision in sudden victory for the title at 138.
Leo’s Sam Ford (106), Ian Heath (132), Clayton Jackson (145), and Tom Busch (285), Homestead’s Thomas Herman (113) and Matt Mills (195), Snider’s Brady Ester (120), Beau Humphrey (126) and Jacob Kreager (160), Woodlan’s Dan Herschberger (152) and Jacob Saylor (182) and Tristen Martz (220) of New Haven each won titles.
JAY COUNTY SECTIONAL: In Portland, Bellmont held off NE8 foe Norwell, 235-210, for its first sectional title in three years and its 43rd in school history. Bluffton’s Landon Bertsch (126) and Norwell’s Cale Gray (220) each stayed unbeaten in claiming their weight class, with Bertsch improving to 32-0 while Gray has won all 26 of his matches this year.
Other area champs include Bellmont’s Isaac Ruble (106), Kyle Lawson (138) and Caden Friedt (195), Norwell’s Tonner Johnson (132), Gage Schuckman (152) and Zach Christianson (285) and Southern Wells’ William Fiechter (145), Jed Perry (160) and Jacob Duncan (170).
WESTVIEW SECTIONAL: In Emma, East Noble amassed 221.5 points to win its 13th sectional title in school history, 29 points ahead of runner-up West Noble, which edged DeKalb by 1.5. Individual champions included East Noble’s Keegan Malott (106), Aidan Sprague (113), Blaine Malott (126), Garner Owens (145) and Jacob Graden (170), Angola’s Jett Boots (120), Coy Brames (220) and Brandon Villafuerte (285), West Noble’s Kyler Brown (132) and Gustavo Taylor (152), Fremont’s Isaac Hawkins (138) and RJ DIlbone (195) and DeKalb’s Blake Rowe (182).
PLYMOUTH SECTIONAL: In Plymouth, Wawasee bested the host Pilgrims, 261-221.5, to defend its sectional championship and claim the school’s 23rd sectional title, while Warsaw finished three points behind third-place Tippecanoe Valley’s 167. Logan Stuckman (106), Dylan Tom (120), Jace Alexander (126), Gavin Malone (138) and Garrett Stuckman (152), won titles for the Warriors, while the Tigers’ Brock Hogenson (132), Jacob Linky (160) and Brandon Estepp (182) also took first.