Prep roundup: EBF, Albia secure top-10 finishes at Rich Gray Invite

Jan. 24—TRURO — South Central Conference rivals Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and Albia both had impressive showings over the weekend at the Rich Gray Classic.

Landen Davis and Gage Spurgeon both claimed individual championships for the Rockets, accounting for 28 points apiece to help EBF finish in a tie for fourth place with Indianola at Interstate 35's home tournament. Paul Ballard, meanwhile, maintained a perfect record for Albia winning the heavyweight championship while bringing in 30 points for the Blue Demons securing a seventh-place finish for the team with 97.5 total points in the tournament.

"We were obviously challenged by the weather more than anything else this past week," Albia head wrestling coach Dave Wenger said. "Although we were able to compete in two separate events, we really weren't able to spend the amount of time that we would have liked with our preparation. In several instances, it showed throughout the week."

Ballard improved to 33-0 on the season, scoring first-period falls in all four matches including a 38-second fall against Southeast Warren junior Brody Koshman and an 18-second fall against Martensdale-St. Mary's sophomore Gunner Hommer. After pinning Knoxville sophomore Regan Roberts in 1:25, Ballard polished off the run to the heavyweight title pinning Cardinal senior Isaac Cox with 12 seconds left in the first period of the championship match.

Conner Pickerell (126) and Bode Thompson (150) each brought home bronze from I-35 for Albia, placing third in their respective weight classes. Lance Helm also placed in the tournament for the Blue Demons, finishing fifth at 165 pounds.

"We spoke fairly candidly about using the time that we have to prepare as effectively as possible as we move forward, whether we have school and practice or not," Wenger said. "There's no question that our preparation is closely linked to the way we perform in this sport, so hopefully we will catch a bit of a break with the weather moving forward, so we can get back into a routine that we are more accustomed to."

Spurgeon, like Ballard, maintained a perfect record on Saturday winning the 120-pound title for EBF scoring three pins in four matches before receiving a late stalling call against Boone sophomore Ajay Braddock to earn a 2-1 win in the semifinals ultimately improving to 27-0 on his freshman season. Davis, meanwhile, improved to 25-1 scoring three falls to advance to the 126-pound championship match before earning a 3-0 decision over Southeast Warren sophomore Brayden Scheffers in the finals.

EBF added three more duals wins on Tuesday night in Chariton, pulling out a 47-36 win over the Chargers on Stryker Lettington's second-period fall over Ian Wilson in the heavyweight finale between the teams. Spurgeon and Davis each scored falls for the Rockets in a 59-18 win over Lynnville-Sully while first-period falls by Blake Jager (215), Lettington and Garrett Pumphrey (106) rallied EBF to a 42-40 win over Martensdale-St. Mary's.

Both Albia and EBF will be back in action on Thursday night in the South Central Conference wrestling tournament. Action gets underway at Lakeview Gymnasium in Centerville at 5 p.m.