Logansport hosted a six-team wrestling invitational on Saturday. Lewis Cass nearly won the event.

The Kings, ranked No. 8 in Class A, went 4-1 on the day. They defeated Delphi (54-29), Logansport (67-10), Indianapolis Chatard (63-16) and Benton Central (63-12) with the only loss coming against Brownsburg (45-36), which has an enrollment of over 2,800.

“I thought the kids wrestled well, they wrestled hard,” Cass coach Nate Burrous said. “It was really close with Brownsburg and there were a couple matches that could have gone either way and they just came out on top in those matches. So we were close. Same thing last week with Maconaquah, it was one match they beat us by and there were a couple that could have gone either way and we just didn’t get those to fall our way and maybe next year we will.”

Kaine Fowler (113), Jensen Burrous (132), Adam Bandelier (170) and Nathaniel Moss (285) went 5-0 on the day for the Kings. Jack Miller (106) went 4-1. Karson Albright (145) went 2-0. Jaden Younts (182) went 3-1 and Rowdy Frey (145) went 2-1. Tyler McGuire (120), Lucas Grist (126), Ethan Stine (138) and Erick Hardy (195) went 3-2. Payton Smith (152) and Eli Martin (160) went 2-3. Lane Collins (220), a semistate qualifier a year ago, went 1-4.

The Kings have good balance with strength at the lower and upper weight classes. Moss is 11-0 at heavyweight. Bandelier is 11-0 at 170 and Albright is 7-0 at 145. Fowler is 11-0 at 113 and has benefited from a recent growth spurt.

“His freshman year he weighed 90-something, last year by the end of the year he was weighing 102, 103. This year he came in quite a bit heavier and has actually cut down to 113,” Burrous said. “His body fat test wouldn’t let him go to 106. Because he was talking about that and I was relieved when it wouldn’t let him go because I thought he’ll probably have more fun not having to worry about losing that weight.”

Miller at 106 is a promising sophomore.

“Jack weighs 88. He’s one of the best wrestlers on our team but he’s going to struggle because he’s so little, all year long is going to be a battle trying to make up that weight differential. But technically he’s as good as anyone on our team and just as tough. If he can stay at 106 by the time he’s a senior, he’s going to be something special,” Burrous said.

Burrous is looking for his squad to be a top contender at the Peru Sectional the last Saturday of January. They’ll have to get past Peru and Rochester to win. Burrous said the sectional title is up for grabs and the quarantine situation could be a determining factor.

Logansport placed fourth out of six teams.

The Berries opened the day with a win over Chatard, with Christian Hernandez, Isaias Hernandez, Preston Jones and Jordan Chinchilla claiming wins.

Quinton Clark, Christian Hernandez, Jones and Ashton Klein had wins against Cass.

Logan defeated Benton Central, with Jones, Christian Hernandez, Isaias Hernandez, Clark, Klein and Josue Venegas getting wins.

Jones had the lone win against Brownsburg. Delphi topped Logan in the final match, but Oniel Reyes, Klein, Isaias Hernandez, Christian Hernandez, and Jones had wins for the Berries.

Logan has a new coach this year, as Frank Patacsil of the famous Patacsil wrestling family has retired from coaching.

The new coach is young Donovan Johnson, a Class of 2017 LHS grad.

“I’m really grateful that I can come back to school and have a contributing spot of making this next generation of kids ready to wrestle and show some Berry pride,” Johnson said. “I’m really grateful to Frank for coaching me up to be as good of a wrestler that I was and Ted and all my other coaches that I had, my stepdad as well. A lot of people put in a lot of work to help me get to where I was and I want to put back all that gratefulness and all that hard work and all that dedication back into this room to make other kids great.

“Our main goal is to make great young men and women through the sport of wrestling, wrestling is just a stepping stool for that. If we can get some accolades along the way amazing, that is what the school would like. But we just want to show parents that we can give their kids back more discipline, with better time management, self accountability and respect for themselves. Many life traits that are going to carry them farther after they graduate, things that they can learn and keep with them to show their kids what they learned to make them better adults. It’s a never-ending cycle after you’ve learned it once. We’ve just got to get them to learn it once. And like I said, if we can win some accolades along the way, of course that’s a goal.”

Patacsil is a graduation pathway specialist at the high school but retired from coaching following last season.

“I believe just to spend more time with his family over in Florida,” Johnson said. “He’s got his son coaching and he wanted to make sure he could spend some time with his son and see those kids in that program first hand. After COVID, he plans on traveling more often.”

Johnson, who turns 22 soon, is an instructional assistant at Columbia Elementary School. He’s also plans to graduate with a degree in physical education at IUK.

“I’m really glad I got the opportunity to work with the kids there and gives me a foot in the door to eventually become a teacher myself,” he said.

Johnson placed seventh in the state his junior season for his best showing in the IHSAA Tournament. He’s now working to build wrestlers up to that level, one day at a time.

“They have reached our expectations each and every practice. We’re getting better each and every practice. I’ve said multiple times about our meets and matches, we are getting better with every meet, every meet we’re a completely new team,” he said. “At the Logan Super Six, we had kids go undefeated and we some kids winning their first matches and that’s what it’s all about, it’s a steady growth, steady progression.”

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