Wrestlers Win Fourth Regional In Five Years

Posted on February 3, 2019 in Winter Sports, Wrestling

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com
PERU — Since making a breakthrough in 2015, Oak Hill has owned the Peru Regional wrestling tournament.

The Golden Eagles won their fourth regional championship in five years Saturday afternoon when all five finalists collected wins and outscored Western, 123.5-118. The Panthers had been the reigning regional champs.

In the process, Eagles champions Harper Dedman, Aiden Hardcastle, Bradley Rosman and Stewart Mossholder each defeated the same wrestlers they faced in the sectional finals. Dedman and Hardcastle won head-to-head matchups with their Western counterparts, while Rosman and Mossholder beat 2018 state finalists for the second week in a row.

Mossholder’s 8-2 victory over Marion’s Victor Lee in the 195-pound final clinched the team title for the Eagles and, for good measure, Fred Durben won at 220 with a 5-3 decision over Madison-Grant’s Dakota Cates. The five regional champions is Oak Hill’s most ever, with the previous high of four winners in 2017.

“Amazing,” Oak Hill coach Andrew King said. “This year’s team did all kinds of record setting — most wins (26), going undefeated (in dual meets) — and this wasn’t anticipated. Those are goals but it came to fruition, and we still want to do well in the semistate.”

Western also had five finalists, but the Eagles gained an early advantage over the Panthers when Dedman defeated Justin Brantley 6-1 at 113 and Hardcastle decisioned Chandler Ciscell 4-2 at 120, repeating their sectional wins. Dedman and Ciscell had beaten both Eagles wrestlers during the regular season in the Western Invitational.

“Dedman and Hardcastle lost to them (at Western) and then beat them in sectional and had to repeat it and prove it,” King said. “That was awesome. Some might say that was a bad day (for Western) and they proved their wins.”

Rosman and Hardcastle not only proved their wins, but they continued their domination of Mississinewa’s Kyler Funk and Lee. Rosman defeated Funk for the fifth time this season 7-4 in the 182 final and improved his record to 38-1. Mossholder now has a 4-1 lifetime record over Lee with his latest win and improved to 37-2 this season.

“We know each other very well,” Rosman said of Funk. “I wanted to get more of my attacks and be more offensive and score more points. I just wanted to score as many points as possible as quick as possible to put him in a hole that he can’t come back from.”

It took Rosman 30 seconds to score a takedown, but a flurry of activity late in the first period had both wrestlers execute reverses and after two minutes Rosman held a 4-2 advantage. The second period belonged to Rosman and he scored two more takedowns and had an escape to open a 7-2 lead, and thereafter Funk managed just a late takedown.

Funk competed with a sprained ankle he injured in the sectional final and said he wasn’t 100 percent. Rosman had his nose scraped by Funk’s elbow in the first period and the match was stopped six times to attend to bleeding.

“(The nose) didn’t stop bleeding the whole match,” said Rosman, his nose noticeably swelled but he didn’t believe it was fractured. “He hit it really hard.”

Although the final score was lopsided, Mossholder held only a 3-2 advantage late in the match before he pulled off a takedown and a near-fall, a five-point move. Mossholder improved to 37-2 while Lee is 24-4 with two losses to Mossholder.

“You always want to get different type of competition, but (Lee’s) very skilled and strong,” Mossholder said. “Going into the state series it’s always enjoyable to have those kind of matches whether it’s every weekend or not because he was a state qualifier last year and I didn’t make it that far (semistate second round).

“I told him on the podium we can both do it and I’d love to see you in the semistate finals,” he added. “It’s very possible and I’d like to see it happen and it would put us in a great spot.”

Durben improved on his third place sectional finish and won a 220-pound weight class where Oak Hill sectional champion Braydon Erb of Western withdrew from the state tournament following knee surgery on Monday. Erb had pinned Durben in the sectional semifinals and went on to defeat Cates in the final.

“I kind of felt bad,” Durben said. “I’m not beating the best in the weight class, I’m beating the rest, and it’s kind of got an asterisk beside it because I didn’t beat the No. 1 (Erb).

“But this is a step in the right direction,” added Durben, who had split two previous matches with Cates. “I’m going to work hard this week and recover. My lower back has been bothering me, but I will get some work in with those two other champs at 182 and 195.”

Hardcastle continues to build on his outstanding season and takes a 37-3 record to Saturday’s Fort Wayne Semistate. The sophomore felt more in control of the regional final with Ciscell (25-8) and a key moment came in the second period when he executed a rarely-used counter move to score a reverse and open a 4-1 advantage.

“I worked on that move just once in the practice room,” Hardcastle said. “But I knew it and when I was in that situation and he was on my leg I could hear my brother yell ‘cut back’ and I hit it and was close to getting a near fall, too.

“I felt like i controlled the whole match,” he added. “When we were hand fighting I was pushing forward, and it felt better than the sectional title.”

Dedman and Hardcastle are two-time sectional champions, and now the sophomores have added their first regional titles.

“This is probably one of the best feelings I ever felt,” said Dedman, who improved to 35-4. “It’s incredible, to see this massive crowd and win underneath the spotlight like that is just a blast. I just tried to wrestle smarter this week and keep my hips under control and just did my best.”

Cates and A.J. Jones gave Madison-Grant a pair of runner-up finishers. Jones had to wrestle unbeaten Adam Bowman (34-0) in the final and scored the initial takedown, but Bowman quickly countered and ended the match with a pin at 2:32 of the first period. Jones will take a 31-2 record to his first semistate meet.

Oak Hill will take seven wrestlers to the semistate at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum including third-place finisher Bhupesh Chauhan (126) and fourth place Gage Kelly (132).

Besides Funk, Ole Miss will take Courtland Smith (135) and Andruw Cruz (220) who both finished third.

Marion’s Troy Smith (126) will join Lee at semistate. Ben Smithers (160) is Eastbrook’s lone representative.

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