NEW HAVEN — East Noble sophomore Aidan Sprague set high goals for himself this wrestling season, and at Saturday’s Northeast 8 Conference wrestling meet, he reached one of them.
DeKalb finished in sixth place as a team with 127 points, followed by East Noble in seventh with 122.5. Bellmont won the team title with 214 points, ahead of Columbia City with 198.5.
Sprague (27-1) won the first conference title of his career at 113 pounds after pinning Bellmont’s Karson Everett in 2:48 in the final.
“It’s the first step. I set high goals for myself this year, and I’m working so hard to achieve it,” Sprague said. “This is just the first step on a long road.”
Sprague said he wants to finish in the top four in the state in his weight class if he can get past the semi-state round. He and East Noble coach Sam Riesen realized Sprague’s potential for this season after his performance at the Connersville Invitational on Dec. 28.
“My first match there I faced a ticket-rounder and I tech-falled him and looked really good. In my finals match, I had another high-ranked semi-state kid and I pinned him,” Sprague said. “I think if I keep it rolling like that, I have every reason to be in the top four.”
Sprague won the 113-pound weight class with a technical fall and a pair of pins, including the final one over Everett.
“The first match I didn’t feel as good, but come second match I felt great,” Sprague said. “After the first match, I got those jitters out and I was wrestling really well.”
Sprague had four teammates reach the finals in their respective weight class, but all of them either lost by fall or major decision.
Keegan Malott fell at 106, Blaine Malott (126) was pinned with 30 seconds left in the second period, Grant Owens (132) was taken down by top seed Ian Heath of Leo and Jacob Graden was beaten by a 13-4 major decision.
Caden Conley came in third at 182 pounds, and Jacob Everson finished in fifth place at 170.
DeKalb senior Blake Rowe needed to refocus before the last run through the state tournament of his high school career.
After getting pinned in last year’s 170-pound championship match, Rowe came back this season at 182 pounds and outlasted Norwell’s Sam Walker for a 4-1 decision.
“Staying calm,” Rowe on how he changed his mental approach. “Because I would be jumping around before each match and get too much adrenaline going. So when I went out there I was mentally focused and knew what I was doing.”
Rowe grabbed an early lead with a takedown in the first period against Walker. Rowe didn’t allow Walker to escape in the second period and kept him from getting a near fall for points in the third period. Rowe scored a reversal right before the end of the match.
“He’s very strong, he’s very stiff and he knew what he was doing, and he knew what I was doing. So at the end, it was just a matter of luck at that point,” Rowe said.
Braxton Miller also made it to the finals for DeKalb in the 120-pound bracket. However, the freshman was pinned in the second period.
Other placers for DeKalb were Mason Chase (106) in third, Kasey Bosell (113) in fourth, Tyler Voigt (126) in fifth, Rafe Worman (152) in fourth, Mitch Snyder (160) in sixth, Carter Miller (170) in fifth, Curtis Martin (195) in fifth, Dominic Blevins (220) in sixth and Jacob Leming (285) in fifth.
Northeast 8 Conference Wrestling Meet results
at New Haven
1. Bellmont (B) 214, 2. Columbia City (CC) 198.5, 3. Leo (L) 146, 4. Norwell (N) 142, 5. Huntington North (HN) 139, 6. DeKalb (D) 127, 7. East Noble (EN) 122.5, 8. New Haven (NH) 99.
106 — Isaac Ruble (B) 3:27 pin over Keegan Malott (EN). 113 — Aidan Sprague (EN) 2:48 pin over Karson Everett (B). 120 — Jacob Veatch (L) 3:17 pin over Braxton Miller (D). 126 — Darryn Kuhl (HN) 3:29 pin over Blaine Malott (EN). 132 — Ian Heath (L) :47 pin over Grant Owens (EN). 138 — Kyle Lawson (B) 4-1 dec. over Elijah Chacon (NH). 145 — Ryan Sheets (CC) 5-0 dec. over Gage Schuckman (N). 152 — Cody McCune (HN) 1:16 pin over Carter Wireman (CC). 160 — Jackson Pettigrew 10-2 major dec. over Isaiah Brege (N). 170 — Alton Mullinax (CC) 13-4 major dec. over Jacob Graden (EN). 182 — Blake Rowe (D) 4-1 dec. over Sam Walker (N). 195 — Caden Friedt (B) 1:53 pin over Sebastian Rose (CC). 220 — Cale Gray (N) 2:58 pin over Dominic Lee (NH). 285 — Tristen Martz (NH) 9-2 dec. over Tom Busch (L).
106 — Mason Chase (D) 6-2 dec. over Sam Ford (L). 113 — Brady Lewis (HN) :51 pin over Kasey Bosell (D). 120 — Mason Myers (B) 2:36 pin over Austin Dunnuck (CC). 126 — Dominic Litchfield (B) 3-2 dec. over Isaiah Litherland (CC). 132 — Tonner Johnson (N) 3-0 dec. over Jarrett Forrester (CC). 138 — Hunter Maggard (CC) 16-0 tech. fall over Emery Crawford (L). 145 — Garrett Manley (B) :14 pin over Matthew Kline (HN). 152 — Alec Mowery (B) 12-3 major dec. over Rafe Worman (D). 160 — Isaac Friedt (B) 2:46 pin over Julian Fletcher (HN). 170 — Carter Siefring (B) 1:00 pin over Hudson Kahn (N). 182 — Caden Conley (EN) 2:57 pin over Gavin Hyser (CC). 195 — Hunter Prahl (L) 5-4 dec. over Jacob Saylor (NH). 220 — Ian Clifford (CC) 6-1 dec. over Truman Writz (L). 285 — Zach Christianson (N) 7-0 dec. over Trent Smith (HN).
106 — Aidan Sanderson (CC) :58 pin over Cayden Smithley (N). 113 — Spencer Hart (L) 4-2 SV over Max Walker (N). 120 — Aidan Carter (NH) 4:12 pin over Landin Amerman (HN). 126 — Tyler Voigt (D) :51 pin over Elijah Miller (NH). 132 — Calvin Faurote (B) 4:57 pin over Micah Beal (HN). 138 — Eli Johnson 4-0 dec. over Michael Kline (HN). 145 — Clayton Jackson (L) 2-0 dec. over Cameron Mason (NH). 152 — Camari Kirk (NH) 5-2 dec. over Jared Fletcher (L). 160 — Jacob Everson (EN) 3:41 pin over Mitch Snyder (D). 170 — Carter Miller (D) 7-2 dec. over Preston Burcham (HN). 182 — Jamin Blackstone (HN) 5-1 dec. Henry Kukelhan (B). 195 — Curtis Martin (D) 3:00 pin over Aiden Raab (HN). 220 — Mason Murphy (B) 7-5 dec. over Dominic Blevins (D). 285 — Jacob Leming (D) 1:27 pin over John Hinen (CC).