Jan. 15—LINDEN — The Lebanon wrestling team entered Saturday's Sagamore Conference Tournament aiming to win back-to-back titles for the first time since they won three in a row from the 95-96 to the 97-98 season.
And while they gave it a valiant effort, they ultimately came up just short, being edged by Southmont 217.5 to 216.5.
"We fought hard today," Lebanon head coach Jacob King said. "We had some ups and downs — we left a few matches out there, but we also had a lot of kids step up. They did what we asked and more, so I am proud of the work we did today."
Lebanon finished with three weight class champions, tied for second most in the conference.
Braxton Aragon won the title at 113 pounds. He beat Camron Teeple of Crawfordsville in the semifinals, then beat Isaac Moore of Western Boone 14-5.
"He stepped up today," King said. "He is really a 106 pounder, but he knew for the team it was best if he went up to 113. He wanted that challenge and won the weight class in dominant fashion."
Zach Tranum was the champion at 144 pounds.
Tranum pinned North Montgomery's Donavon Johnson and Frankfort's Brandon Delgado Salamanca to reach the final, where he beat Tri-West's Eston Ward by tech fall.
"It's been our goal all year long in matches — to continue to look to score from on our feet and on top," King said. "He is definitely peaking right now at the right time of the year."
The final champion came at 190 pounds with Mason Crew.
Crew won a 4-2 decision over Southmont's Tyler Davis, then won a 10-6 decision over Western Boone's Jacob Smith.
In the final, he pinned Tri-West's Tyler Halford.
"He is a hard-working kid that is extremely coachable," King said. "We love having him in the room. We knew this weight class was up in the air, and we told him he was going to come through the bracket and win it. He believed in that, put in the work and got the job done."
Seth Wilson (132) and Eli Stogsdill (165) both finished runner-up in their weight class.
Vincent Laney was third at 157 pounds, as was Thomas Thompson at 175.
Garth Cline (106), Levi Bocock (120), Niko Trepcos (138), Garren Stokes (215) and Stefan Barker (285) all placed fourth.
Western Boone was a little short-handed on the day, and placed sixth overall.
"For the most part the effort was there and we wrestled tough," Western Boone head coach Wes Mikesell said. "There are just some little mistakes that are killing us and we have to clean those up in the next two weeks."
Western Boone had three runner-ups on the day.
At 106 pounds, Cale Scagnoli pinned Danville's Ryan Tuman and beat Lebanon's Garth Cline, but lost to Crawfordsville's Taiga Koyanagi in the final by a 6-3 decision.
At 113 pounds, Isaac Moore pinned Danville's Griffen Hackleman and then topped North Montgomery's Kadyn Cohee, but ultimately lost to Lebanon's Braxton Aragon in the final.
At 150 pounds, Mason Adams pinned Lebanon's Logan Hites and Crawfordsville's Jaziel Gil-Hererra, but lost to Southmont's Marlin Williams in the final.
"They all wrestled tough, and they saw some good competition," Mikesell said. "Mason and Cale will probably see their guys again sectional, so hopefully this is a good gauge of where we are and what we need to improve on."
Josh Dickey placed third at 285 pounds, while Heath Williams placed fourth at 165 pounds, Jacob Smith placed fourth at 190.
Western Boone travels to Clinton Prairie on Tuesday before the two teams meet up for a dual on Thursday at Lebanon.
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.