By Will Willems
Throughout the final month of the season, Zionsville junior 120-pound wrestler Preston Mantel continued to get better.
He saved his best for last Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, placing sixth in the weight class at the state championships.
“It feels really good,” Mantel said. “I got in a good groove. The kid I wrestled Friday, I had lost to him earlier so it was good to get that win. I had a tough loss in the quarterfinals but I turned it around and had a good day.”
Zionsville head coach Bob Brennan said he was proud of his junior grappler.
“It is fantastic,” Brennan said. “Preston, all year long, has gotten better and better and has really improved in all those things that help you get to this point. He had a great Friday night win, then a tough loss in the quarters. Came back with a win against a kid that beat him last week and then went to OT against a really tough kid from Merrillville. I am really pleased with how his season has gone and am really proud of him.”
Mantel advanced to the placing rounds with a 2-0 victory against 16th-ranked Joshua Davis of Evansville Reitz. After a loss to eventual runner-up Drew Hughes of Lowell in the quarterfinals, Mantel avenged a semi-state loss in the consolation rounds with a 5-0 win against sixth-ranked Andrice Martin of Franklin Central.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.