by Beau Wicker
The Mayor ruled the day, but the Kings had their best finish in years.
Twin Lakes, guided by Monticello mayor Ken Houston, who doubles as a Hall of Fame wrestling coach, won the team title Saturday at the Twin Lakes Sectional in convincing fashion with 229 points. The Indians won their 13th sectional title in the sport and first since 2004.
Cass finished runner-up with 178.5 points, edging out third-place North White (178). West Central was fourth with 168. Other area teams included Winamac (6th, 108), Logansport (8th, 74.5) and Pioneer (10th, 41).
The second-place finish was the Kings’ best in years. Their lone sectional title came in 1992.
“We’re very pleased with runner-up,” Cass coach Nate Burrous said. “I knew Twin Lakes was the favorite. They had seven No. 1 seeds. It was going to take something outstanding to knock them off. Our kids wrestled outstanding, but it was going to take a lot of help from other teams and a few matches to go our way that we didn’t quite win. But overall it was a great day. We had nine regional qualifiers. I have to look that up, that might be the most we’ve ever had. So it was a fantastic day for Lewis Cass wrestling.”
The Kings had two individual sectional champions on the day in Jarrett Carden (113 pound weight class) and Gabe Welch (145).
Carden recorded the first sectional title of his career as a sophomore.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it and I was ready to wrestle when I came in there,” he said.
Carden defeated Twin Lakes senior Mason Tribbett 6-3 in the title match. It was their fourth match of season against each other, and Carden (32-6) improved to 2-2 against Tribbett on the year.
“It was pretty close. I didn’t know if I could come out with the win or not. I knew if I wrestled hard I could beat him,” Carden said.
Welch also recorded the first sectional title of his career. He missed last year’s sectional with a torn meniscus.
A bloody nose almost cost Welch (35-3) in his title match against West Central’s Parker Frist. There were several stoppages to the match at the end of the second period that took several minutes, but Welch was able to recover and won 7-2.
“I know Frist lost a match in the finals of the Twin Lakes Invite by blood time, so I was afraid that was going to happen to me,” said Welch, who was happy with how he wrestled. “It was good. It’s just another step towards the state tournament.”
Pioneer senior Izaak Johnson won the sectional title at 106 pounds. The Midwest Conference Wrestler of the Year won his rematch against South Newton’s Ozzy Herrera 8-5 in the sectional final.
“It feels good. I beat him last week, but this week felt better,” Johnson said.
It was Johnson’s second sectional title of his career. He moved to 40-3 on the season.
Winamac senior Richie Doty (182) won his first sectional title. He defeated North White’s Kody Emrich 4-1 in the final.
“It’s mind blowing. Last year I got second here, which was heartbreak. Now that I got it, it’s pretty exciting,” Doty said. “It was really good competition. The Twin Lakes guy [Alex Wade] was really good. The last guy from North White was really good.”
Doty has started his season with a bang after a late start. He moved to 7-0 and was also a MWC champion a week ago.
“I just got back in the saddle,” Doty said.
The top four individuals in each weight class advanced to next Saturday’s Logansport Regional.
For Cass, Kolbie Cox (138) placed second, Zach Layer (106), Brendan McGehee (152), Blaine Elliott (195) and Brock Reish (220) were third and Sheldon Slusser (182) and Zach Jones (285) were fourth.
Winamac’s Jordan Bitterling (138) and Quest Fritz (285) placed third, Gage Garpow (145) was fourth.
Logansport’s Justin Porter (113), Josh Brandt (126) and Ryan Schrock (132) all advanced with third-place finishes.
Pioneer’s Jakob Mersch (138) placed fourth to advance.
Caston was moved into the Plymouth Sectional this year.
The Comets’ Braden Moss (138) and John Mangum (285) each placed fourth to advance to next Saturday’s Rochester Regional.