By Nicole Minier
SOUTH WHITLEY — Churubusco’s wrestling team placed fifth at the Whitko Invitational, with Joe Leazier and J.T. Kilgore garnering titles for the Eagles.
The Eagles also placed fifth the previous week at the Jay County Invitational, and coach Sam Riesen continues to strive for more.
“Our kids are still working hard to put together a full team performance like we hope,” Riesen said. “If we can ever get all of the kids going right on the same day, we could have a dangerous team.”
Riesen said the team’s youthfullness has been a vice for this year’s team.
“Youth is really hurting us right now as far as wins and losses, but it’s awesome to see these young guys out there putting their all into every match,” Riesen said. “We are so close to putting a handful of extra guys on the podium — we need to keep positive and working toward the right direction.”
Leazier’s win was his second first place in two weeks.
“He is wrestling very well right now,” Riesen said.
After suffering his first loss in the previous week, Kilgore came back to take first place in the 220-pound weight class.
“J.T. had an oustanding day,” Riesen said. “He was able to knock off two solid opponents in the semifinals and championship matches. Those kids were really tough, and he was able to control both matches very well.
Reece Wicker also advanced to the championship round in the heavyweight class.
“That is very hard to do as an undersized freshman at heavyweight,” Riesen said.
Wicker had a lead, but lost his position and got pinned.
“Obviously it’s not how we wanted the day to end for him, but the sky is the limit and we are really proud of how he wrestled,” Riesen said.
Other grapplers with strong performances were Korbyn Reister in fourth, Trevor Kelley in fifth and Andrew Boggess in sixth.
“Those guys stepped up and beat some solid kids during the day,” Riesen said. “They navigated tough brackets to finish on the podium in a tournament that only places six.”