Eagles win regional wrestling crown

Feb. 5—The mission for the Zionsville wrestling team has always been focused on getting one percent better each day, so when it gets deep into February the team is wrestling their best.

The Eagles are headed in that direction so far this winter. On Saturday, the Eagles won the North Montgomery Regional for the first time since 2018, claiming two champions and advancing nine wrestlers to the semi-state.

"It was a great team effort," Zionsville head coach Doug Welch said. "It is great for these guys and they should be proud of what they accomplished, but now it is time to move on. We have bigger goals. The regional is a great step, but it is just step two in the state series and now we move on to step three."

The Eagles first champion came at 113 pounds with junior Sully Frazier.

Frazier beat Abe O'Neil of Westfield 8-1 and then Fishers' Will Hruskoci 12-4 to reach the final.

In the championship match, Frazier got taken down early in the first period, and trailed 4-2 in the second period before getting a reversal to tie the score at 4. Starting the third period on top, Frazier got a ride out to force overtime, and after a scoreless first overtime, Frazier got an escape in the first part of the second overtime, then got another ride out for the win.

"He dictated that match after the first period," Welch said. "He was looking to score and get to his ties. It was good hard, tough wrestling. When you can do that in a match, good things happen."

Jon Mangus was the Eagles other champion at 175 pounds.

Mangus topped Carmel's Alex Ryan 5-0 in the first round, then pinned Parke Heritage's Jarrid Graves in the semifinal. In the final, he topped Landon Hicks of HSE 14-7.

Down 2-0 in the match, a wild scramble saw both Mangus and Hicks get reversals and nearfall points, giving Hicks a 6-4 lead after a period. Mangus started the second period on bottom and got another reversal with nearfall to take 9-6 lead, then added a takedown with nearfall in the third to seal the win.

"It's the guys going out and dictating and being the aggressor — they are the ones who are going to have success," Welch said. "It was a great job by Jon. I am proud of his effort and now it's on to next week."

The Eagles had five other finalists, with Tommy Frazier (120), Hank Phenicie (144), Blake Wahl (157), Luke Penola (190) and Dace McNeil (285) all falling in the finals of their respective weight classes.

While they would have liked to win the regional title, Welch said they have to keep the big picture in mind and realize their goals are still there for the taking.

"It's a reset now," Welch said. "Take a second, take a deep breath, whatever you have to do, and then get ready to get one percent better each day next week. It's a tough sport and sometimes a loss can light that fire in an individual and that's what we want to see. Sometimes the best thing for a kid is to have that and then move forward from it. We are excited to get back training and to continue to get better."

Quinn Stauffacher and Kian MacLauchlan placed fourth in their weight classes and also earned berths to semi-state next weekend at New Castle.

Welch said having nine wrestlers advancing is beneficial when getting ready for the big semi-state.

"It's great because they get to do it together," Welch said. "It is super important for a team to stay together, continue to train together and they have been doing that all year. We just want to continue to keep pushing as many through to the next level as we can."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.