CRAWFORDSVILLE – All season long, the Zionsville wrestling team has been gearing their training toward the post-season, and making sure the team was peaking at the right time.
That strategy paid off big time Saturday afternoon at the Crawfordsville Sectional.
The Eagles won seven weight class titles, advanced all 13 of their wrestlers to next week’s regional, and cruised to the sectional title with 278 points, 69 more than second-place Southmont.
“Everyone wrestled at their seed or above their seed,” Zionsville head coach Doug Welch said. “I am really proud of their effort, the hustle and the attitude they displayed. They support each other and we got going right away in the first round, having 12 pins, and then we won 11 of 13 in the last round, which is great.”
The Eagles had 43 matches on the day and won 37 of them.
Of those 37 wins, 27 were by pin, nearly 73 percent.
“We have worked on that all week,” Welch said. “Coming in, we knew it was going to be a battle with Southmont, so we had to put people away when we had them on their backs. That was the gameplan.”
The Eagles had five champions who won all three of their matches by pins, including three that never made it to the second period.
Hudson Harreld won all three of his matches via pin, including against Southmont’s Gerald Hutson at 3:15 in the championship match at 132 pounds.
Logan Wagner dominated the field at 138 pounds, pinning all three of his opponents in less than 100 seconds, including a pin of Fountain Central’s Austin Pickett in the championship match.
Shane Bates pinned all three of his opponents at 152 pounds, never needing more than 80 seconds. In the final, he pinned Willie Frazee of Fountain Central to win the title.
The most dominant performance of the day came from Luke Davis at 160 pounds. Davis pinned all three of his opponents in the opening minute, including Western Boone’s Trevor Weakley in 40 seconds in the final.
Chase Poynter was the fifth Eagle to win all matches via pin, doing it at 170 pounds. In the championship match against Southmont’s Ty Welliever, Poynter found himself down 4-3 early in the third period, but secured a takedown and finished it off with a pin.
“Welliever is really tough and has a good family tradition,” Welch said. “We knew it was going to be a battle, but Chase wanted it bad and was able to put him away.”
Those five were part of a stretch, along with Vincent McDonald at 145, of six-straight champions for the Eagles between 132 and 170.
McDonald won his first two matches by pin before beating Western Boone’s Jaden Bailey 10-3 in the final.
Welch said that group pushes each other every day.
“It’s just one after another,” Welch said. “They just continue to take people out and put them down. They are super close and they feed off each other. Iron sharpens iron, so it’s no wonder they are excelling.”
The Eagles final champion was at 285 pounds in Cam McDaniel.
In the final, he controlled the match from the opening whistle, and topped Crawfordsville’s Kalob Brown 5-2.
“Cam’s a monster,” Welch said. “He was just consistent. He has a really good head on his shoulders, he is listening and being coachable. He is doing a great job of buying into the system and is doing a great job for us.”
The Eagles had two other finalist on the day.
Richard Keesee made the finals at 113 pounds, but lost to Western Boone’s Evan Trent in the final.
At 126 pounds, Mason Fairchild lost to Southmont’s Dillan Lauy in the final.
Aiden Dorsey was third at 120 points, Gregory Mariacher was third at 182, Chris Pappas was third at 195 and Ben Jones was third at 220 pounds.
“We talked about it last week, it’s all about the team and helping everyone out,” Welch said. “It’s about being part of something bigger. They get that, they fight for each other and now we get to see all of them move on to the regional which is pretty special.”
The regional is at North Montgomery, where the four advancing individuals from the Crawfordsville Sectional will face the four advancing individuals from the Frankfort Sectional.
Wrestlers have to win their first match to advance.
The Eagles have wrestled nearly every team at that sectional, and will be able to come up with a game plan for next week.
“It definitely helps,” Welch said. “We will come up with something based on what we have seen in the past, and our guys are confident. I have great coaches by my side, they come up with great game plans, and I am very confident that we will have a great strategy. The kids feed off that from the coaches.”