“To finish second in a sixteen team tournament makes you feel pretty good, and is something that we as a team can be proud of. This is also my personal best as a head coach, our second place finish,” exclaimed Coach Sam Riesen. “Today was a whole team effort, we had several wrestlers finish ahead of where they were seeded today. But then again we left some points out there, a couple weight classes we should have scored more but that will come with more experience.”
Senior Jordan Hamilton took the top spot in the 171 lb. weight class, and despite being a number three seed entering the tournament he worked his way through the brackets. Winning by pins in each of his first two rounds, set up a semi-final match with undefeated Dylan Seriff (16-0) of Triton. Hamilton remained focused and used his experience to defeat Seriff by a major decision 15-2. In the final match against Jimmy Krause of Knox, Hamilton pinned Krause just before time ran out in the second period to claim the 171 lb. title and run his record to 18-1 on the season. Hamilton was runner-up here last season in the 160 lb. weight class.
“I was more confident this year than I was last season, coming back knowing what you have to do and what it takes to be the champion and it helped me being confident all day,” explained Hamilton. “With one loss already this season I need to remain focused, take every match as they come and work harder to get back down there again.”
Zack Armstead in the 135 lb. class and A.J. Herron at 140 lb. class both placed second in their weight classes. Armstead won all three matches by decision, including the semi-final match, which he won 1-0 with an escape. Armstead was defeated in the finals by Austin Nelson of Tippecanoe Valley by pinfall.
Herron made quick work of his first round opponent pinning him in just 31 seconds. He won his next two matches by decisions 7-6 and 4-1, setting up a final match with Darius Stevens of Triton, who won by decision over Herron 6-2.
In the 189 lb. weight class Braxton Siddons finished third on the day. Two early round pins put Siddons in the semi-finals, where he lost by pin to eventual champion Matt Hurford of Culver. Siddons came back and defeated his Triton opponent by decision 3-0 to claim third place.
The Eagles had two fourth place finishers, Jason Nicodemus at 125 lbs. and Adam Boggess in the 130 lb. class. Jordan Nicodemus finished in fifth place in the 160 lb. division. Jordan finished the day with three pins and a major decision. His second round loss to champion Malcolm White of SB Washington was his only stumble on the day. Clint Bechtold grabbed a sixth place finish at 112 lb. Both Austin Boggess, the Eagles’ 119 lb. wrestler and Bryce Shively at 152 lbs. finished seventh.
“We scored well and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come now that we are in the tournament season,” stated Coach Riesen. “Now we need to make some noise in the Woodlan Invitational, at Conference and in the Sectionals. This is a fun time of the season for our guys. This is what we wrestle for, to see where our kids place and to see where we are at as a team.”
The Eagles return to action this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. hosting Huntington North.