By Brady Extin | Daily Reporter

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GREENFIELD — Wednesday night was an emotional one inside Dellen Automotive Gymnasium when Greenfield-Central and Pendleton Heights met on the wrestling mat.

For the second season, the teams were competing for the memorial toolbox trophy honoring two of the programs’ most instrumental coaches. Longtime G-C coach Ed Hamant, who passed away in 2021, and Pendleton Heights coach Eric Kriebel, who died in 2013.

Prior to the start of the meet, Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden spoke to the crowd about both coaches and what they meant to their respective programs.

Greenfield-Central was also presented with a memorial plaque honoring Hamant and his accomplishments throughout his career.

With tears in his eyes, Holden read the final line on the plaque to a silent crowd.

“No other individual has given so much to the G-C wrestling program as coach Ed. His legacy will forever live on in the hearts and minds of those lucky enough to have called him coach, mentor and friend.”

With one goal in mind, to keep that toolbox trophy at Greenfield-Central, the Cougars went out and defeated the Arabians 46-27.

“The only thing we talked about afterwards was that you don’t know how long you’re going to be here. Coach Hamant coached here for 40 years, and he didn’t expect it to be over. You just don’t know,” Holden said. “The one thing I really wanted was to just keep that trophy. It’s important for us to keep that here for his memory.”

Holden’s squad was forced to come from behind to earn the win.

After an early pin from Pendleton Heights Eli Libler against G-C’s Owen Howell (220), and two consecutive forfeits by the Cougars, they were down 18-6.

They responded quickly, winning three of the next four matches, all by pins.

At 120 pounds, freshman Jett McGuire defeated Elijah Wolf. At 132 Dylan Luther earned a first-period fall over Alex Heineman and, at 138, Kannon Zuber pinned Blaine Bowman.

Picking up the fourth victory of that stretch was another freshman, Cade Zuber, with a 7-4 decision over Max Bowers.

“We’re going to give up a forfeit every dual because we just don’t have the guys to fill every weight class, so we’re going to be down six every time,” Holden said. “We talked about having to have pins. We have to pin people if we want to win. Those extra points are important.”

After trading decisions at 145 and 152, the Cougars were up eight points with just four matches remaining.

G-C’s John Ubelhor and Pendleton Heights Chris Crank squared off in the 160-pound class, in a match that was one of the biggest turning points of the night.

Crank controlled periods one and two and entered the final period in control, 5-2, but in the blink of an eye it was Ubelhor making a move to secure a pin and help push G-C out to a commanding lead.

“I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what the change was, but I told him that these guys over here need you to win the match,” Holden said. “We need you to win the match, or we’re not going to win the dual, and he went out and turned him, got up and gave me a thumbs up.”

With things under control, the Cougars took two of the remaining three matches. Clay Guenin (170) pinned Jameson Walford, Tristen Lanum (195) won by major decision, 10-1, over Nate Walls, and Adam Saxon fell to Pendleton Heights’ Garrett Pederson, by fall, at 182.

“I feel like we had kids step up for other kids. This was the first meet this year where I think that we did it for each other,” Holden said. “It was not ‘I need to win my match for me, I need to win my match for us.’”

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