By Brice Vance
FORT WAYNE — Garrett, Eastside and Churubusco all had multiple wrestlers advance to regionals on Saturday when they took to the mats in the sectional round at Carroll.
As a team, Garrett finished in second place with 203 points, Churbusco came in fifth with 95 and Eastside followed in sixth with 90.5.
The Railroaders had 10 wrestlers move on to the next round, six wrestlers advanced for the Blazers and the Eagles had four punch their ticket for regional action.
“We had three matches that we lost, where we were winning in the last 20 seconds, Garrett head coach Nick Kraus said. “That was frustrating. We got 10 qualifiers, could have been 13, which would have been a record.”
“By the end of the day, six going to regional, so we are pretty pleased with that,” Eastside head coach Joel Richman said.
“We wrestled better than last year’s performance for sure,” Churbusco head coach Sam Riesen said. “We’re still a little bit short of what our goals were and where we thought we would’ve been.”
Braydon Shearer, at 106 pounds, was the lone Railroader to walk away with an individual championship on Saturday, and he did so with a pin in the third period.
“He listened,” Kraus said. “That was the biggest thing. He listen the whole match and did what we told him to do.”
With the win, Shearer improved his record to 33-7 on the season.
The other individual champion from the area was Joe Leazier (138) from Churbusco. He faced an even-matched opponent from Carroll in the final. Leazier had a takedown in the first period, but didn’t score anymore points until he got another take down in the third period. From there, Leazier held on for the 4-1 decision.
“He wrestled a really good match,” Riesen said. “When Joe is offensive, he is a pretty tough kid to beat, and he was pretty offensive today.”
Garrett had four wrestlers, Andrew Wertman (120), Carlos Aguirre (145), Clayton Fielden (152) and Drake Baker (160) all make it to the championship match, but all took second place.
Churubusco’s J.T. Kilgore (220) worked his way into the finals, where faced Carroll’s Tyler McKeever. Both grapplers battled it out for points, but neither could get the other to the mat. McKeever finally brought down Kilgore and never let go.
“(McKeever) is a tough kid to score on, so we definitely have some things to work on,” Riesen said. “We weren’t really setting ourselves up in position to score, so that’s what we are looking to do this next week.”
Korbyn Reister and Clay Tinney were the other Eagles to move onto regionals next weekend.
Of the six Eastside wrestlers that advanced to regionals, Laik Minnick and Cable Leeper each finished in third.
“Both had ups and downs through out the day,” Richman said. “Minnick had a tough semi-final match, that came down real close, and Cable had another one where he was up 5-0 and ends up losing by a point.”
Seth Burns, Trae Hand, Blake Rowe, and Chase Leeper all finished in fourth place for the Blazers.
All of the wrestlers that advanced on Saturday will make the trip back to Carroll next Saturday for regional action at 9 a.m., and all will have one goal in mind, to make semi-state.
“We’re going to study opponents,” Kraus said. “Hopefully find some film and just make sure we win our first match and qualify as many as for semi-state as possible.”
DeKalb’s Trevor Boyce claimed the 120-pound title at the Westview sectional Saturday.
For Boyce, his win against Prairie Heights’ Blake Hoyer means one thing.
He can keep doing what he loves.
“At this point you’re wrestling for your life. It’s just that much more motivation to keep moving forward onto the next one,” said Boyce.
According to coach Travis Gaff, however, Boyce’s impact on the team extends far beyond the mat.
“Trevor has really been the one to step up and be that guy on a very young team,” said Gaff.
“The younger guys look up to him because of the success that he’s had. And the little things that he does, the extra reps in practice, being a positive role model, doing everything the right way, shows those guys what it takes to get to the next level.”
“For a lot of guys, this is the last time they will step on a mat, maybe ever. And to see him keep going, and the success that he will continue to have, it’s just awesome,” added Gaff.
Boyce and teammate Rylan Eddy will wrestle in the Goshen regional next Saturday at 9:30 a.m.