NEW CASTLE — Greenfield-Central’s wrestling team keeps doing things it has never done before.
The Cougars ended 2022 with a first-ever championship in the prestigious Connersville Spartan Classic. After receiving the final invitational to the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Team State Duals, the Cougars finished third in their first-ever appearance.
It seemed appropriate another first would happen at Saturday’s Hoosier Heritage Conference Championships at New Castle High School.
The Cougars won the eight-team tournament, securing their third straight HHC crown. It’s the first time they’ve won three titles in a row. Prior to winning the last three, they won in 2012 and had back-to-back HHC’s in 1998-99 along with an additional championship in 1994.
It’s another first for this group,” Greenfield-Central coach Josh Holden said of his team that is knocking off new program marks on a weekly basis. “It’s the first three-peat the school has ever had. They’re already the first group to win the Connersville Spartan Classic, the first to go to team state, first to place at team state and first to win three HHC titles in a row.”
“I guess they’re OK,” he added with a smile, knowing very well his team is much more than OK.
The Cougars scored 226.5 points. Delta was the closest competitor with 208.5. Hancock County schools Mt. Vernon (149.5) and New Palestine (135) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
Both Greenfield-Central and Delta had seven wrestlers in the finals. The Eagles went 4-3. The Cougars went 3-4, but the difference was in the consolation rounds.
Of 14 weight classes, 13 G-C wrestlers were in either the championship or third-place matches.
“That’s how you win it. A lot of time those third and fourth place matches are more important than the guys in the finals. It’s all important,” Holden said.
G-C got titles from Lincoln Parsons (113), Clay Guenin (170) and Silas Frye (182). For Guenin it was his second straight individual championship. He won at 160 last year. Parsons and Frye were both runners-up in 2022 in the same weight classes.
Parsons beat New Palestine’s Cole Vandygriff 10-8 in the title match. He had lost to Vandygriff at Connersville.
Parsons got out to a 7-1 lead. Vandygriff cut it to 9-8 before the sophomore secured the Cougars first individual title.
“I got my sectional seed back, because he beat me in Connersville,” Parsons said. “It feels good because I lost last year (in the finals). I’ll see (Vandygriff) at sectional so I’ll have to beat him again.”
Guenin got G-C’s second title and his win secured the team championship. He had a close match in taking a 4-3 victory over Delta’s Braxton Russell. Guenin is 29-1 on the season. Russell fell to 24-3.
“Individually, it feels pretty good (to win back-to-back). I’m continuing to improve and conference was much harder this year than last year,” Guenin said. “I had to wrestle a ranked guy in my last round, so it felt good to succeed while having increasing challenges.”
Shortly after Guenin’s win, Frye picked up the title at 182. He beat New Palestine freshman Colin Whetsel by decision, 9-4.
“It speaks, not just to the wrestlers individually, but the wrestlers as a team,” Guenin added on winning a third-straight championship. “We’re family. We’re all helping each other. Silas and I, at practice, we’re making each other better and we both came away as champions. It’s all just a big family, coaches, trainers, managers, a big family that support each other.”
Two other county wrestlers earned titles.
At 195, New Palestine’s Shaun Glass pinned Mt. Vernon’s Russell Weaver in 4:32.
At 220, Mt. Vernon’s Devin Kendrex joined Guenin as a county wrestler with back-to-back titles.
The county’s lone returning state qualifier, and just a sophomore, Kendrex picked up his second HHC championship by defeating Yorktown’s Jackson New, 5-3.
For the Cougars, they added runner-up finishes from Jett McGuire (106), Kannon Zuber (138), Isaiah Holden (152) and Brayden Flener (285).
They got a big boost at 132, where JJ Harlow picked up a third-place finish. He came into the tournament with an 0-4 record. After a quarterfinal loss, he won three straight matches to take third place.
Along with Vandygriff and Whetsel, New Palestine got a second-place finish from Bryce Doss (120), who had beaten Parsons in the 113 final last year.
2023 Hoosier Heritage Conference Wrestling
Team scores: Greenfield-Central 226.5, Delta 208.5, Yorktown 158, New Castle 157.5, Mt. Vernon 149.5, New Palestine 135, Shelbyville 105.5, Pendleton Heights 79
106: Ayden Bollinger (Delta) won by fall over Jett McGuire (Greenfield-Central) 2:27
113: Lincoln Parsons (Greenfield-Central) won by decision over Cole Vandygriff (New Palestine) 10-8
120: Neal Mosier (Delta) won by major decision over Bryce Doss (New Palestine) 11-0
126: Tylin Thrine (New Castle) won by fall over Cole Stuffel (Yorktown) 4:00
132: Dalton Tuttle (Delta) won by fall over Ethan Watkins (Shelbyville) 1:29
138: Gavyn Whitehead (New Castle) won by major decision over Kannon Zuber (Greenfield-Central) 10-2
145: Brevan Thrine (New Castle) won by decision over Kolten Rhonemus (Delta) 6-1
152: Kaeb Stebbins (Delta) won by decision over Isaiah Holden (Greenfield-Central) 5-2
160: Wyatt Maiden (New Castle) won by major decision over Garrett Clay (Delta) 9-1
170: Clay Guenin (Greenfield-Central) won by decision over Braxton Russell (Delta) 4-3
182: Silas Frye (Greenfield-Central) won by decision over Colin Whetsel (New Palestine) 9-4
195: Shaun Glass (New Palestine) won by fall over Russell Weaver (Mt. Vernon) 4:32
220: Devin Kendrex (Mt. Vernon) won by decision over Jackson New (Yorktown) 5-3
285: Jacob Harker (Shelbyville) won by decision over Brayden Flener (Greenfield-Central) 5-3