Created on Monday, 18 February 2013 Written by AARON LaBATT
WEST MILTON — The tournament was tougher and the stakes were higher, but Indian Lake’s wresting team rose to the occasion here Saturday.
Indian Lake’s Heath Lange holds down Graham’s Nate Henkle during the 138-pound championship match Saturday at the Division II sectional tournament at Milton-Union High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | AARON LaBATT)
In a new Division II sectional format this season, the Lakers continued to impress with a runner-up finish in the Division II sectional tournament at Milton-Union High School. Indian Lake advanced eight district qualifiers and placed 11 of 13 wrestlers.
“I think if you asked me at the start of the season how many guys we would get to the district level I would say seven to nine,” said Indian Lake head coach Scott Tressler. “We have an injured guy right now, so we were nearly there to having what we wanted. As a coach, you can’t be much happier with how we performed. I’m pretty happy with eight qualifiers.”
The top four qualifiers at each weight class moves on to the Division II district tournament at Goshen this weekend.
Qualifying to the district tournament for the Lakers were Tyrone Nadeau (113), Kurt Crockett (126), Heath Lange (138), Calvin Davis (145), Kurtis Gibbons (152), L.J. Henderson (160), Shane Asman (195) and Mason Evilsizor (285).
Graham earned another sectional championship with 294.5 points and had 12 district qualifiers, including seven champions. Indian Lake had 191 points, Eaton was third with 156 points and Urbana finished in fourth with 131.5 points.
The most dominating performance for Indian Lake came from standout Heath Lange (145). He dismantled the sectional field and won convincingly in the finals.
He started by pinning Bradley Tran of Bellbrook in 43 seconds and tech falled Connor Rogers of Northwestern 16-1 in the semifinals.
Lange met up with Graham’s Nate Henkle, who was a state alternate last season, in the finals. He had beaten Henkle 4-3 to win the sectional last season and pinned him in his state qualifying match at the district tournament.
On Saturday, Lange handled Henkle and got in on several shots in the first two periods, including a lift and drop that put Henkle straight to his back. Lange was up 7-0 in the third period when Henkle injured his knee and had to default.
“Heath has taken it upon himself to get extra workouts in and is wrestling more and lifting more,” said Tressler. “By doing all those things he has gained that confidence to take his wrestling to the next level. That dominance showed (Saturday). It’s important to him and to our program to show we have guys like that who are willing to sacrifice to become better.”
Evilsizor, who is a first-year wrestler, showed off his progress by capturing a sectional title. He is the Lakers’ first heavyweight to win a sectional since 2005.
The senior pinned John Rust of Northwestern in 17 seconds and then pinned Caleb Courtwright of Graham in 7:10 in overtime. The finals saw Evilsizor pin Jeffery Manley of Thurgood-Marshall in 3:34.
“We told Mason at the beginning of the year he was pretty good,” said Tressler. “That was even when his record was 0-9. He had faith in our coaching staff and he kept battling. He worked to get better and now has come out a sectional champion. I couldn’t be happier for someone like that. He gives us a presence at heavyweight we haven’t had in a while at Indian Lake.”
Davis gave a solid runner-up showing. He beat Alan Sarver of Eaton 9-3 and pinned Steven Murray of Urbana (1:25) in the semifinals. He put up a good battle with Kenton Ridge standout Tyler Sowards in the championship bout, but fell 5-1.
“We are trying to get Calvin to wrestle consistently,” said Tressler. “If he does that for six minutes he is one of the toughest kids in our room. He has to take those next steps and keep moving forward. If he does that then hopefully we can get him through districts and to the state meet.”
Henderson easily made his way to the finals. He pinned Cole Harshbarger of Alter in 11 seconds, pinned Rahje Perksins of Dunbar in 3:06 and handled Dallas Fudge of Eaton with a 17-1 technical fall in the semifinals. Henderson defaulted to Graham star Bo Jordan in the finals to help nurse a pre-existing injury.
Coming in third for Indian Lake were Gibbons (152) and Shane Asman (195).
Gibbons lost in the semifinals to Graham freshman standout Alex Marinelli by a 21-9 major decision, but received an injury default from Dontae Murphy of Dunbar in his qualifying match. He went on to beat Aldin Leaker of Eaton 11-5 to place third.
Asman lost in the first round of the tournament, but was able to come back with three wins to qualify for the next round. He pinned Cole Theodor of Graham in 4:03 to earn a district berth. Asman then edged Brandon Flucas of Thurgood-Marshall 10-9 to finish in third.
Placing fourth for the Lakers were Tyrone Nadeau (113) and Crockett (126).
Three other Lakers finished fifth and will serve as district alternates this weekend. That group included Calob Nadeau (106), Phillip Golden (170) and Steven Major (220).