Wrestlers Win 7th Consecutive CIC Meet

Posted on January 21, 2020 in Winter Sports, Wrestling

CONVERSE — The Central Indiana Conference meet long has been a showcase for top teams and individual wrestlers, and it was again Saturday.

Oak Hill boasts one of the top small school programs around and flexed its muscles with a seventh-consecutive team championship, finishing 7-0 in the dual-meet tournament. The Golden Eagles’ Harper Dedman and Mississinewa’s Kyler Funk also proved unbeatable.

Dedman and Funk are rated No. 1 in northeast Indiana in their weight classes, according to IndianaMat.com, and cruised to conference championships. Dedman won for the third-straight year and also won his 100th-career match Friday evening against Madison-Grant’s Davin Barton.

A seventh-place finisher in last year’s IHSAA state finals, Dedman finished the regular season with a 33-0 record and now turns his attention to the state tournament. Dedman took time to relish his accomplishment of an unbeaten season.

“It’s a special thing,” Dedman said. “It sets you aside from other people, but really it’s just another win. I try to look at every opponent the same and try to go out there and get the win.”

Funk is a 2018 state finalist who has won sectional and regional titles and other big tournaments over his four years at Ole Miss. Yet, he never was a CIC champion until this year when he went 7-0 over the two days in the 195-pound weight class.

Through Saturday, Funk has a 25-2 record and both of his losses came against defending state champion Silas Allred of Shenandoah. Although Funk appreciates the recognition, he doesn’t put a lot of stock in the rankings.

“I’m ranked no. 1 in the semistate but the kids who are ranked second, third and fourth are all ranked in the (overall) state (rankings) and I’m not,” Funk said. “I think that’s kind of weird. It is what it is and I don’t really care. I’m just excited to wrestle them all at the state tournament.”

Oak Hill, ranked fifth in Class 2A, had six other individual champions besides Dedman. Aidan Hardcastle also won a third CIC title with a 7-0 record competing at 152 pounds, and the junior won his 100th-career match Saturday against Alexandria. Dedman and Hardcastle are the first two wrestlers at Oak Hill to achieve 100 wins in their junior seasons.

“Harper and Hardcastle both with 100 wins and those are nice achievements and they are both juniors,” Eagles coach Andrew King said. “One hundred wins by your junior year is saying something about their ability.”

Fred Durben also came through the regular season unscathed at 33-0 after winning the 220-pound title. Durben is one of two seniors in the Eagles’ varsity rotation and said an attitude change has led to better results.

“This year, I’m just going out there and my mentality is I’m getting first and who’s getting second,” Durben said. “I and I wish I would have wrestled like this earlier on, but I’m glad I’m wrestling like that now.”

Oak Hill’s other CIC champions were Peytonn Bowland (30-3) at 106 pounds; Brody Arthur (32-1) at 132; Tyler Miller (24-4) at 145, and JC Hernandez at 160. Finishing with 6-1 records were Austin Lawrence (113), Julian Perez (120) and Silas Jones (195).

The Eagles’ closest matches were against runner-up Alexandria (54-21) and third-place Frankton (52-16). Oak Hill shut out Eastbrook (81-0) and also defeated Madison-Grant (65-4), Mississinewa (76-6), Elwood (78-6) and Blackford (77-3).

“Alexandria and Frankton we hadn’t seen them this year, but we knew they were solid,” King said. “There were three or four matches that were pivotal and we won those and that’s why it looked like a lopsided victory over those two teams. They’re very solid, but our kids did real well.”

Funk was Ole Miss’ only champion and the only other from Grant County, although Nick Coulter at 126 finished second at 6-1, losing only to Dedman. The Indians finished fourth after defeating the Argylls 43-42 on criteria after the two teams tied on the mat and it came down to fewer forfeits.

In the Grant Four Invitational, the Argylls defeated Ole Miss by four points in head-to-head competition.

“It seems like every time Madison-Grant and us wrestle we tie and it comes down to criteria,” Indians coach Curt Funk said. “Fortunately for us we were able to get that extra point for the dual meet win and it was exciting.”

Madison-Grant was fifth and had three wrestlers finish with 6-1 records: Dannion Barton (132), Randall Fultz (160) and Justin Doan (182). Fultz improved his overall record to 26-4 and Barton is 28-6, and both are in line for high seeds in the sectional.

“Doan’s been coming on strong of late and Randall and Dannion have been two of my five or six solid wrestlers I’ve had all year,” Argylls coach Jamie Landis said. “We gave up too many forfeits to Mississinewa and if we had our 152-pounder available today we would have won. But it’s just luck of the draw, I guess.”

Eastbrook, unable to fill multiple weight classes, finished eighth with seven losses but was competitive against Elwood (42-23) and Blackford (48-18).

“We were short-handed, but after our first round match today we came out and our intensity picked up and we probably finished today better than we have wrestled all year,” Eastbrook coach Cody Younce said. “I was a little frustrated at the beginning of the day. The kids responded well to a conversation we had and we came out and they showed me something.”

The highlight of Eastbrook’s weekend was Abigail Turner’s seventh-place finish Friday evening in the Indiana High Girls Wrestling Association 2020 State Finals in Kokomo. Turner pinned Penn’s Grace Selis in 1:53 of the seventh-place match after losing her two previous matches 7-4 to Decatur Central’s Jasemine Hermosillo and a pin against Connersville’s Baylee Lawrence.

“We didn’t have as good a day as we would have liked, but there were first-time jitters,” Younce said. “… We’re already looking forward to next year so she’s going to be working hard and can’t wait to get back at it.”

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