After winning the school’s first-ever team sectional championship last Saturday at Carroll, Garrett wrestling coach called the trophy “the most important trophy we’ve won” in his seven-year coaching stint.
Funny how quickly things can change. Advancing 10 wrestlers to Saturday’s Carroll Regional, seven Railroaders qualified for semistate, including a trio of champions, as Garrett claimed the school’s first regional championship. For the second straight week, Carroll placed second in its home tournament, scoring an even 100 points to Garrett’s 106.5, with Snider scoring 92 points for third.
“At our school, we have to win a regional team championship to get your picture up on the wall, so that was kind of a big deal, something we wanted,” Garrett coach Nick Kraus said. “Our school only recognizes IHSAA accomplishments, and we don’t have a class system, so we don’t get many chances to do this. We had some individual outstanding efforts.”
Hayden Brady and Colton Weimer started the Railroaders off strong, winning regional titles at 106 and 113 pounds, while Clayton Fielden turned in a surprising performance in taking the championship at 170.
With the seeds holding true, the final at 170 featured Fielden and Homestead’s Joe Parrish in likely the day’s most anticipated matchup, as Parrish, ranked fifth in the state according to IndianaMat.com, entered regionals with a perfect record, while the fourth-ranked Fielden had just one loss.
Knowing the team championship still hung in the balance, Fielden took Parrish to his back and pinned the Spartans senior in just 51 seconds, drawing stunned oohs and ahs from the crowd.
“I know he’s super tough and he’s going to bring it for six minutes straight,” Fielden said. “He actually beat me for third place at regionals my freshman year. He started tying up with me, and I just let it go, let it fly. It’s what I’m good at, so it’s nice to be able to rely on that. I knew that I really, really needed to get a pin to secure the team title.”
Carroll dominated the upper weights, taking home individual titles at three of the top four classes. Luke Schwehn defeated New Haven’s Jacob Saylor 9-4 to win at 182, with Matt Lepper immediately following suit, edging Concordia’s Cooper Harris 5-3 at 195.
Reeve Muncie turned in the day’s quickest championship path, picking up falls in 68 and 45 seconds to advance to the finals, then pinning Leo’s Tom Busch in 1:56 at 285.
In the midst of its unprecedented run, Kraus and his grapplers stand proud knowing the team photo will make its way upon the walls at Garrett. Will the team shot say semistate champions as well?
“I don’t know,” Kraus said. “I don’t know. We’d have to have a great day and we’ll have to see what the other guys have, but maybe. You never know. We’d have to have a special day. I know today’s pretty awesome though.”
Jay County Regional
In Portland, Bellmont scored 130.5 points to second-place Delta’s 123, with the Braves claiming the school’s 32nd team regional title, good for second-most in IHSAA history. Norwell placed third with 115.5, while Southern Wells used four individual champions to finish fourth.
Bluffton’s Landon Bertsch improved to 39-0 in winning at 126, while Norwell’s Cale Gray also stayed perfect, getting a 95-second pinfall in the finals to win the title at 220 and moving his record to 29-0. Other area regional champions included Bellmont’s Isaac Ruble (106), Kyle Lawson (138) and Caden Friedt (195) and Southern Wells’ William Fiechter (145), Josh Beeks (152), Jed Perry (160) and Jacob Duncan (170).
In Goshen, Northern Lakes Conference champion Northridge ruled the day, scoring 160 points to win the team title, 52 ahead of runner-up NorthWood. East Noble tied Jimtown for third in the team standings. East Noble’s Keegan Malott (106) and Aidan Sprague (113) joined Angola’s Jett Boots (120) as individual regional champions.
In Mishawaka, a banner day from Mishawaka ruled the gymnasium at Penn, as the Cavemen scored 186 points to win the team title by 59. Wawasee tied South Bend Riley for third, with Warsaw finishing sixth. Wawasee’s Logan Stuckman (106), Jace Alexander (126) and Garrett Stuckman (152) and Warsaw’s Jacob Linky (160) all claimed regional titles in their respective weight classes.