PLYMOUTH — Twice is nice, but the third time is definitely the charm.
Just ask Plymouth senior Damon Howe.
Coming off a three-peat Northern Lakes Conference championship turn last weekend, the heavyweight earned yet another three-peat as he captured the Rockies their lone sectional championship as the Rockies placed fourth behind Culver Military, while Warsaw won the meet, Bremen finished fifth, Culver was eighth and Triton placed ninth at the Plymouth Wrestling Sectional Saturday.
Ranked second in the state by IndianaMat.com, Howe remained unbeaten with a first round pinfall victory over Bremen’s Abe Hall for his third consecutive sectional crown. His victory reprised an earlier 3-1 decision over the sixth-ranked Hall at the Plymouth Super Duals, but Saturday he was able to grab a double leg following a front headlock for the victory in 1:43.
“I felt like since the spotlight was on and it was the championship match, I was really pumped up,” Howe said. “I got a really good warm-up, and I was just mentally prepared for the match. I knew Abraham is a very good wrestler and I knew I was going to have to give it my all to win the match, and it turned out in my favor.”
Howe’s back-to-back NLC and sectional championship three-peats are the first in recent memory for a Plymouth wrestler, and at 28-0 he’s hoping it’s the first step toward improving on his fifth-place finish at last year’s state finals in his final year with the Rockies.
It’s really nice to get three in a row,” he said. “It’s a real honor because me and Coach (Bob Read) were talking and we can’t really remember the last time someone won three NLC titles and three sectional titles in a row, and it’s just a beginning goal to what I want to do this year, which is win a state championship.”
Along with Howe, Nathan Benham, Jacob Segraves and Shawn Duff advance to the Rochester Regional as runners-up in the 171, 215 and 160-pound classes, respectively, while John Mills and Austyn Lee move on with respective third-place finishes at 103 and 125, and Clay Corsbie and Dan Stephenson advance in fourth at 119 and 189.
CMA’s young but talented crew had a shot at winning the team competition but was handed a setback when No. 1 215-pound seed Jack Crawford was forced to sit out Saturday’s meet.
“Leading up to it we really thought we had a good chance to win the sectional this year,” said CMA head wrestling coach Matt Behling. “A couple obstacles came up right before the tournament. We ended up losing our No. 1 seed 215-pounder Jack Crawford; he got some skin problems and we couldn’t wrestle him. That was a tough, tough loss for the team. He’s one of the senior captains, has a great record and was the No. 1 seed. We knew we had to make up a lot going from No. 1 to no points and that everybody else in the lineup needed to step up.
“Our kids wrestled their hearts out. They wrestled as hard as they could; I think it was just a little bit too far out for them to get into that number one spot, but to take third I’m proud of them.”
Two Academies wrestlers grabbed championships at Plymouth as Luther Jacobs beat Bremen’s Justin Corl in the 140-pound championship, and 103-pound freshman Kayla Miracle continued her outstanding unbeaten streak to 36 wins en route to the title there.
“I’m especially proud of her,” Behling said. “She’s a female wrestler that’s come in and is still undefeated... I’m really proud of what she’s been able to accomplish at this point in the year. I really like the way she’s wrestling right now and hopefully she just keeps going.”
Four other Eagles grabbed a top four regional-advancement spot Saturday, as David Zajac and Edmond Hogan placed third at 112 and 145, respectively, while Anthony McHugh took his first loss of the season in a rematch with Rochester’s Garth Simpson in the 119-pound title match, and Carlos Salinas lost his 125-pound championship bout with Bremen’s Jose Rodriguez.
The Lions grabbed a pair of championships as Rodriguez beat Salinas in a narrow 7-6 decision, and Alan Bollenbacher won a repeat sectional championship at 215 pounds.
“He really has improved tremendously in the last two or three weeks,” said Bremen head coach Shawn Campbell. “He’s just really tried to work hard at getting better on his feet and getting more aggressive with his takedowns because I really feel like that’s one of his strengths. He’s a long, lanky kid who uses his body pretty well and can generate some pretty good leverage in awkward positions and he just worked hard to be a two-time sectional champion.”
The outsized Lions also advanced a trio of wrestlers out of Saturday’s meet, as Tyler Felten came in fourth at 103 and
Tyler Felten fourth at 103 and Corl and Hall finished second at 140 and heavyweight, respectively.
“All in all I think it was a good day,” Campbell said. “Some of the younger kids learned a lesson about what it is to go into their first state tournament series and have to wrestle quality opponents and what it is to understand that if you lose early in the day you’ve got to battle back through that loser’s bracket and work to earn your spot to move on.
It’s been a good season for some of those younger kids to come out and just sort of learn the ropes of what it is to be a varsity wrestler, and hopefully we can continue to keep numbers up and keep the program moving in a positive direction.”
Culver saw a pair of Hurfords advance and five total wrestlers earn top four spots at Plymouth, meanwhile.
While Ian Randolph finished second at 135, Allen Betts finished fourth at 112, Mark Hurford placed fourth at 160-pounds, and sophomore Matt Hurford claimed a repeat crown at 189 pounds.
Jeremiah Harvey lost a disappointing quarterfinal decision to Hall — his third loss to the Bremen heavyweight this season — before battling back with a major decion win over Wawasee’s Dimitri Kaplanis for third place Saturday.
“As far as the match with Abraham Hall goes, it’s just pretty much the same old story we’ve seen the past two times they’ve wrestled,” said Culver head coach Mike Buschman. “It’s just a matter of figuring out what to do against Abraham, who is a great wrestler and one of the top kids in the state. We may get the opportunity to see him a few more times as we move on and he’ll move on.
“As far as the consolation match is concerned, it was a kid that Jeremiah has wrestled before and once you know you’re qualified, we talked to the kids that it comes down to who can deal with the fact that they’re not sectional champion and work and do their best from their, and Jeremiah was able to do that.”
• PLYMOUTH WRESTLING SECTIONAL
TEAM SCORES: Warsaw 208, Wawasee 181.5, CMA 149, Plymouth 145, Bremen 124, Tippecanoe Valley 120, Rochester 118, Culver 112, Triton 32.5.
103: Kayla Miracle (CMA) dec. Greg Newman (Wawa), 11-4; 112: Jarred Brooks (War) pinned Zech Weese (Roch), 0:33; 119: Garth Simpson (Roch) pinned Anthony McHugh (CMA), 2:56; 125: Jose Rodriguez (Bre) dec. Carlos Salinas (CMA), 7-6; 130: Seth Fincher (TV) dec. Josh Gohlke (Wawa), 8-4; 135: Austin Nelson (TV) maj. dec. Ian Randolph (CC), 12-4; 140: Luther Jacobs (CMA) dec. Justin Corl (Bre), 7-3; 145: Kyle Duzan (War) pinned Trent Bauters (TV), 1:01.
152: Isaac Yoder (TV) dec. Jacob Schroder (Roch), 3-2; 160: Everardo Ahuatl (War) dec. Shawn Duff (Ply), 9-3; 171: Zac Erba (War) dec. Nathan Benham (Ply), 4-2; 189: Matt Hurford (CC) dec. Ross Hoover (War), 8-6; 215: Alan Bollenbacher (Bre) dec. Jacob Segraves (Ply), 9-3; 285: Damon Howe (Ply) pinned Abraham Hall (Bre), 1:43.
CONSOLATION ROUND (3rd place)
103: John Mills (Ply) dec. Tyler Felten (Bre), 5-3; 112: David Zajac (CMA) pinned Allen Betts (CC), 1:51; 119: Luis Munoz (War) maj. dec. Clay Corsbie (Ply), 20-6; 125: Austyn Lee (Ply) dec. Garrett Freel (Wawa), 10-9; 130: Javier Hernandez (War) maj. dec. Lukas Carpenter (Roch), 16-7; 135: Jordan Horney (War) pinned Nick Rozow (Wawa), 0:56; 140: Kyle Clevenger (Wawa) dec. Steven Alvarado (War), 4-3; 145: Edmond Hogan (CMA) dec. Raul Rodriguez (Wawa), 3-1.
152: Ryan Lindsey (Wawa) tech. fall Adam Becker (War), 26-8; 160: Keaton Bell (TV) dec. Mark Hurford (CC), 3-0; 171: Phil Miller (Roch) dec. Brian Clark (Wawa), 5-3; 189: Matt Hurford (CC) dec. Ross Hoover (War), 8-6; 215: Jake Jones (Wawa) pinned Miguel Delfin (War), 0:50; 285: Jeremiah Harvey (CC) maj. dec. Dimitri Kaplanis (Wawa), 8-0.
CONSOLATION ROUND (5th place)
103: Josh Walters (CC) won by forfeit; 112: Kameron Markovich (Ply) pinned Dylan DeSomer (Wawa), 2:51; 119: Doug Corl (Wawa) pinned Scott Armstrong (TV), 0:38; 125: Zach Duplay (CC) pinned Ben Horban (Roch), 1:40; 130: Nicholas Arthur (CMA) pinned Josh Fuchs (Bre), 0:54; 135: Pascal Brun (CMA) pinned Scott Lee (Ply), 1:44; 140: Jeremy Marburger (TV) pinned Cameron Hedington (Ply), 0:31; 145: Dakota Grubbs (Triton) dec. Kyle Brown (Bre), 4-2.
152: Edward Hogan (CMA) dec. John Ahlenius (CC), 8-1; 160: Wes Stevens (Roch) pinned Bobby Cornett (Bre), 4:16; 171: Sean Hershberger (Bre) won by default over Erik Hoffman (Triton); 189: Lance Wright (Wawa) dec. Dan Stephenson (Ply), 2-1; 215: Vic Grimes (Roch) pinned Cody Ousley (Triton), 0:33; 285: Joe Waikel (War) dec. Aaron Haines (Triton), 2-0.