Jets earn revenge on Leo; AC hoists conference crown
Ben Pfister uses a one-leg take down en route to a dominant performance in the ACAC mat title. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
BERNE — The wrestling Jets answered the call of head coach Doug Schultz Saturday with all 14 grapplers earning places, including four championships, as the Jets took the ACAC Wrestling Tournament with 242 points to the 220 of second-place Leo. South Adams was third with 202 points.
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“Really, going in we thought our depth could win the thing and that’s exactly how we won. Our kids came back and got a lot of pins in the wrestlebacks and that was key,” said Schultz.
The win marked the 31st time that Central has won or shared the ACAC wrestling championship. Leo tipped the Jets in the season-opening dual meet, so the win Saturday at South Adams helped the Jets earn a co-title with the Lions.
Cody Walburn at 126 and Derek Ellinger at 138 pounds both added second consecutive titles for the Jets, while Kaine Luginbill at 160 and Ben Pfister at 182 earned championships with three falls each.
AC senior Zac Yoder hustled his way to a 5-1 lead in the 145-pound title match against Woodlan’s 28-1 Trey Delegrange, but yielded a third-period headlock and fell 6-5. Andy Oliver fell to South Adams two-time champ Sawyer Miller at 113 by tech fall, and Luke Liter lost to Leo’s Aaron Eicher 5-1 at 152 pounds.
Senior LJ Moser added the 120-pound crown for the Starfires while junior Klayton Hinshaw, who nipped Heritage’s Nick Schwartz 2-1 in the semis, whipped Leo’s David Hepler 12-1 for his title.
Entering the placement round, the Jets led Leo by four points. AC went 9-5 with five falls while the Lions won three titles, but went 5-9.
The Jets added three thirds, a fourth-placer, two fifths and a sixth.
“We had a little bit of a lead and stretched it out to 22. Several of the guys piled up the pins in the wrestlebacks and that was key,” said Schultz.
Junior Joe Fuelling recorded three falls en route to third place for the Jets at heavyweight, while Hunter Bates had two falls in his third-place showing at 132, as did 106-pound Jet Eli Hill, also third. Mason Call took fifth at 170 and added two six-pointers.
Alex Bollenbacher took fourth for the Jets at 195, and Bailey Coyne was fifth at 120. Isaiah Bollenbacher was sixth at 220 for AC.
The Starfires lost a couple of tough finals decisions at 220 with senior Mavrick Morningstar, and at 285 with sophomore Mason Morningstar. Mavrick and Briar Gerber of Bluffton were tied at 5-5 as seconds wound down. In a scramble at the buzzer, a tiring Gerber had grabbed a foot. Morningstar lunged away. Neither official was watching the clock, and afterwards Gerber was given a takedown. Mason lost in overtime to Leo’s Bryce Hager 4-2, also on a sudden takedown call.