Riley Lefever and the rest of the Carroll wrestling team lived up to the hype Saturday at the Carroll Regional championships. And, so did the match between unbeatens Nolan Wilson and Jason Nicodemus.
Lefever stunned North Side's Anthony Linnear with a pin at 5:38 in the 170 final, putting the exclamation mark in the Charger's dominating performance. Carroll advanced 11 of a possible 14 wrestlers to next week's Snider Semi-State. The Chargers scored 180 points; Churubusco was second with 92.5 and New Haven third with 91.
Lefever, ranked second in the state at 170, improved to 39-0. Linnear falls to 29-3 but is a perfect 29-0 against wrestlers not named Lefever.
“He came out hard, so I knew I had to wear him out and then break him,” Lefever said of Linnear. “I knew he wouldn't be able to (keep that pace) the entire match. When he wore down, I attacked.”
Lefever led only 1-0 after the first period, scoring on a penalty point. From the down position to start the second period, Lefever escaped and then scored a takedown for a 4-0 lead. Then in the third period, he continued applying pressure and led 6-0 when he finally pinned Linnear.
“Coach (Scott) Raypole told us to attack all the time and I think we did today,” Lefever said of the team-wide goal.
“Last week we didn't finish the tournament very well,” Raypole said, alluding to his wrestlers' poor record in their final matches. “Today, we won three titles (in five matches) and won four consolation matches (in six matches).”
Also winning for Carroll was Steven Cardenas (126) and Spencer Malcolm (160). Placing second for the Chargers were Ben Cauffman (106) and Tristan Wilson (152).
Nicodemus used a similar strategy to win his match at 220 against Wilson, who weighed at least 20 pounders more than the Churubusco senior. Nicodemus, who weighed in at 189, won 8-3, improving to 25-0. Wilson falls to 32-1.
“With both of us being quick, athletic 220s, I just had to win the scrambles and out-last him,” Nicodemus said of Wilson. “I knew I couldn't over-power him, so I was looking for him to slip up.”
Wilson “slipped up” twice in a furious first round as Nicodemus scored a takedown and a reversal for a 6-3 lead. He then rode Wilson the entire second period.
“I knew it was gonna be tough,” Nicodemus said of riding Wilson. “But I didn't want to face him (in neutral) where his size was more of an advantage.”
Finally in the third period Nicodemus clinched the victory with a reversal at the seven-minute mark. The victory helped clinch a second-place finish for Churubusco.
“That was our goal: come in here and beat 18 other teams,” Churubusco coach Sam Riesen said. “To beat all those big Fort Wayne schools is a great accomplishment for our program. We didn't start very well today, but we had a lot of kids battle back and win matches for fifth. Every point counted.
Another of the better finals was Everett Green's overtime victory against Brian Richardson at 195. Green, of Bishop Luers, improves to 37-2; Richardson, of Churubusco, falls to 32-3. Green was penalized a point for stalling as the buzzer sounded, forcing overtime. And instead of hanging his head, Green reversed the momentum.
“I didn't think I was stalling,” Green said of the referee's call. “But I knew what I had to do: just get that takedown right away.”
Other area winners Saturday were Garrett's Hayden Lee at 106, Northrop's Logan Aldrich at 113, Leo's Ryan Fawcett (a fourth seed) at 120, New Haven's Reese Sieger at 138, Columbia City's Russell Hazelet at 182 and Eastside's Matt Beard (now 38-0) at 285.