ZIONSVILLE – Doug Welch loves where his Zionsville wrestling team is at right now as they are approaching the stretch run of the season.
It was easy to see why after Thursday night’s senior night win against Lebanon.
The Eagles won eight of the nine matches contested, six by fall, and topped county rival Lebanon 66-12.
“We are in a really good spot right now,” Welch said. “Our leaders are doing a good job of making it fun for everyone. We have great leadership and it is trickling down to the rest of the team.”
It was the second impressive win in two days for the Eagles.
On Wednesday night, they avenged an early season loss to Westfield by topping the Shamrocks 34-31, then didn’t lose focus on Thursday.
“I am super proud of this team,” Welch said. “They are having fun, doing what we ask and we couldn’t ask for a better group.”
Lebanon had to forfeit four weight classes in the match and are battling some injury and illness as the regular season nears its conclusion.
Tiger head coach Jacob King said the loss Thursday was a good wake up call for his team.
“Our level of competition is kind of all over the place this year with some changes in tournaments,” King said. “It was good to come in here against a good Zionsville team and see how we measured up. I wish we would have been full strength to give them a better match, but we had some good matches and some wake-up calls in there.”
The Eagles took control early, with Shane Bates winning by fall against Eli Fox at 152. After Luke Davis won by forfeit, Chase Poynter pinned Jack Reynolds to make it 18-0.
Lebanon got on the board when John Stillwell won by forfeit at 182, but the Eagles made it 24-6 a weight class later with Chris Pappas pinning Jackson Houghton to make it 24-6.
The Eagles then clinched the win, when Eli Smith topped Devon Wilson 5-2 at 220 pounds before the Eagles won the next three weight classes by forfeit to make it 45-6.
“Eli is a freshman wrestling 220 pounds, where you are normally facing juniors and seniors,” Welch said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. He puts in a lot of effort, he works really hard and you can tell he cares. For him to step in and help the team was pretty cool.”
Aiden Dorsey got a second-period pin of Carson Toole at 120 pounds for the Eagles.
Lebanon’s lone win in a contested match came at 126 pounds when Camren Toole got a second-period pin of Mason Fairchild.
“This was his first match at 126, where he wants to go to the state tournament,” King said. “He was able to get down to that weight the right way and then performed the way a leader performs. He is working hard in the room, the weight is coming off and he continues to get better.”
The Eagles finished the match with three wins, with Hudson Harreld pinning Zack Baldwin at 132, Logan Wagner pinned McKai Smith at 138 and Vince McDonald winning by 7-4 decision over Kenny Getch.
Before the match, the Eagles honored their five seniors.
“They have meant a lot to us,” Welch said. “They are a tough class. They preach to the team the hustle, heart and attitude that we need. They are having fun doing it too which is important.”
Zionsville will host the Hall of Fame Tournament on Saturday, then have a week to get ready for the tough HCC Tournament the following week.
“We are just going to continue what we have been doing, searching for consistency,” Welch said. “The way we train in the wrestling room is the way we compete on the mat, so we have to have that consistency. But I really like where we are as a team, they guys are having fun and it’s all about the team. They are wrestling for more than themselves right now.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the Eagles avenged an earlier loss to Westfield with a 34-31 victory over the Shamrocks.
The Eagles got wins from Vince McDonald, Shane Bates, Luke Davis, Chase Poynter, Cam McDaniel, Hudson Harreld, Logan Wagner and Cooper Cecil in the win.
Hall of Fame Tourney
The Eagles cruised to the championship of their own Hall of Fame Tournament on Saturday.
In pool match-ups, the Eagles topped Elwood 72-12, Crawfordsville 72-6 and Mount Vernon 45-28.
In the final, the Eagles faced HCC foe Noblesville, and topped them 60-15.
Richard Keesee, Hudson Harreld, Logan Wagner, Shane Bates, Luke Davis, Chase Poynter and Cam McDaniel all went 4-0 for the Eagles.
Vince McDonald was 3-0 and Cooper Cecil was 2-0.
Aiden Dorsey and Mason Fairchild were 3-1, and James Rasche was 2-1. Chris Pappas and Ben Jones both went 2-2.
The Eagles will head to the HCC Tournament at Noblesville on Saturday.