STRAUGHN — Before Saturday’s Tri Wrestling Sectional, Eastern Hancock senior Josh Ramage told his coach he wasn’t messing around with his opponents.
Ramage was true to his word, pinning both opponents on the way to the 220-pound sectional title and leading seven Royals wrestlers on to regional Saturday at Richmond.
“I don’t like to push things to three-round matches especially in a tournament like this,” Ramage said. “There is no sense in staying out there longer than you have to.”
With only five wrestlers in the weight class, Ramage had a four-hour wait after the wrestling started at 9 a.m. before he took the mat. When he did, Ramage pinned Knightstown’s Tyler Jackson in 33 seconds. He had nearly another four-hour wait before taking on Cameron Deloney of Centerville in the championship match. After watching four of his teammates lose their title matches, Ramage said he felt no pressure to win.
Instead, he dominated his opponent before pinning him at the 1:05 mark of the second period.
Ramage, who finished third at sectional in the 195-pound division last season, credited his coaches and not needing to cut weight with his title.
“We have had a bunch of coaches come in this season and teach all different kinds of techniques, moves and counters, and that has helped a lot,” Ramage said.
Ramage was joined by senior Nathan Kell (138), sophomore Jarrod Waterman (152), sophomore Matthew Bowman (170) and senior Kenny Delph (195) in the sectional championship matches. Each lost by decision.
Kell had two decision wins and a pin on the way to the finals. Delph had a pin in his only match prior to the finals.
Eastern Hancock head coach Keith Oliver described both his seniors as tough wrestlers and hard workers who never give up, attributes they showed in the title matches.
Waterman and Bowman were each seeded first in their weight classes. Waterman had a decision win and pin in earlier matches, while Bowman had two pins. In their title matches, both faced wrestlers from New Castle and both struggled to find a rhythm because of numerous stoppages for an injury or blood from their opponent.
The finalists advance to next week’s regional along with sophomore Brent Morris (132) and senior Brandon Ray (145).
“If you asked me before the day started, I would say six or more wrestlers going to regionals would be a very good day,” Oliver said. “I’d love to take them all because they are a good group of kids.”
With additional points from freshmen Devyn Brinson (182) and Josh Robinson (285), Eastern Hancock finished third in the team standings behind New Castle and Centerville.
Notes: Brinson, who Oliver said weighed in at 163 pounds, wrestled in the 182-pound division because Eastern Hancock needed a wrestler at that weight. It was his first time wrestling at that weight. … EH last won a sectional wrestling title in 2002.
Team standings, Tri Sectional
New Castle 237, Centerville 200, Eastern Hancock 142, Knightstown 127, Shenandoah 115, Richmond 114.5, Tri 79.5, Hagerstown 75.5, Northeastern 46, Cambridge City Lincoln 41, Blue River Valley 26
Regional qualifiers with sectional fininsh:
At Tri Sectional
Ramage, 1st at 220; Waterman, 2nd at 152; Kell, 2nd at 138; Bowman, 2nd at 170; Delph, 2nd at 195; Morris, 4th at 132; Ray, 4th at 145.