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Braves dominate at wrestling sectional

Jan. 27—Can we all agree that Cooper McCloy and James Hastings should wrestle at least two more times this season?

"Hopefully they will wrestle a couple more times," said Terre Haute South coach Gabe Cook, after McCloy defeated Hastings with literally a last-second takedown Saturday for the 175-pound championship at the Bloomington North Sectional for high school wrestling, "because that would mean they both qualify for the state."

"The Hastings and McCloy rivalry is great," agreed coach Beau Pingleton of Terre Haute North. "They are both very talented and great competitors. I wouldn't be surprised if they meet up again these next few weeks."

Aside from the thrills that championship match produced, the Wabash Valley highlight was South's dominance as the Braves defended their sectional team championship — by a 125-point margin.

"We had a couple more matches I thought we could win," Cook said after the meet, "but overall we wrestled very well."

For the second straight year the Braves qualified all 14 of their wrestlers for regional competition next Saturday at Bloomington South, with six champions and six runner-up finishes (12 of the 14 in championship matches, in other words). Two of the runners-up, Cale Thomas and Brandon Freeman, outwrestled their seedings to get there, Thomas pinning a second-seeded wrestler and Freeman pinning the top seed in his weight class.

North finished fifth and will send six wrestlers to the regional, while Northview was seventh (five regional qualifiers), Sullivan ninth (two moving on) and West Vigo 11th.

"I'm proud of our team's effort today," Pingleton said. "Our group is hungry for success and I'm excited to help them reach their goals." Among the Patriot regional qualifiers is girls state champion Sophia Buechner, the first Vigo County girl to qualify for the boys regional since West Vigo's Torie Buchanan (who is now an assistant coach for her father at Sullivan).

"I thought we did all right," said Northview coach Tony Sanabria, who got a championship from Devyn Orman plus two runners-up and two fourth-place finishers. "All in all, it was a pretty good day."

"This was the toughest I've seen this sectional for awhile," said first-year Sullivan coach Richard Buchanan, who witnessed plenty of sectionals while on the West Vigo staff. "We wrestled a lot better today and we're a young group; no seniors."

West Vigo managed three sixth-place finishes among the seven wrestlers available for competition. First-year coach Tim Willis noted that Jordan Krause, the only seeded Viking going into the meet, finished the year with 32 victories, second all-time at the school, and suffered an injury while winning a consolation match yet still battled before losing in the match that might have qualified him for regional competition.

"In a rebuilding year with only 11 wrestlers on the team, we exceeded expectations ... the future of wrestling at West Vigo is incredibly bright," Willis said.

While it's not Hatfields vs. McCoys, the Hastings-vs.-McCloy competition has been more fun than the famous family feud the last couple of months. McCloy, who has been ranked as high as seventh in the state, is 3-1 against Hastings. But the decisions were by 2-1 and Saturday's last-second 7-5 score, plus each wrestler has a pin against the other.

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—Falcons impressive — At Crawfordsville, North Vermillion placed fifth with two champions and a runner-up at the Crawfordsville Sectional on Saturday.

Adam Rangel and Wyatt Walters took titles at 126 and 132 respectively, and Aidan Hinchee picked up his 100th career win while placing second at 215.

Zionsville won the team championship by a wide margin, trailed by Southmont, Crawfordsville and Western Boone. North Vermillion was fifth, South Vermillion seventh, Parke Heritage eighth and Riverton Parke 10th.

Qualifying for regional competition were Jayce Crosley of Parke Heritage, fourth at 106; Chase Bennett of Riverton Parke, fourth at 113; Andrew Botner of North Vermillion, third at 144; Joshua Ushman of Riverton Parke, fourth at 157; Christian Peace of South Vermillion, third at 165; Jerrid Graves of Parke Heritage and Alex Shryock of South Vermillion, third and fourth at 175; and Landon Baker of North Vermillion, fourth at 190.