By Jake Thompson
— What the Cascade Cadets wrestling team needed last Saturday at the West Central Conference meet was a total effort from all of their grapplers as each match from championship competition to wrestle backs were crucial.
And that is exactly what the Cadets got.
Cascade (184) took home the WCC title, besting second-place Greencastle (176) by eight points. South Putnam took third, followed by Monrovia, North Putnam, and Cloverdale. Danville scored the third highest point total in tournament history.
“We had 11 of our 12 wrestlers place, each one of them sticks out in my mind,” Cascade coach Josh Hagenow said. “Each wrestler gave their team their all. Team championships are not won on the day of the meet, they are won with the countless days of work and preparation put in over the course of a season. These boys have worked very hard and prepared themselves. It was a team effort right out of the gate, with each member doing his part. Each win, pin, and advancement added to our victory.”
Zach Batts (138) won his third individual WCC championship while Casey Fox (152) and Hunter Fox (113) each recorded their second titles.
Lukas Stoutenour took home his first WCC title and was the final Cadets grappler on the day to win a championship.
Finishing as conference runners-up were Austin Manly (126), Chris Howard (160), and Nick Evans (220). Michael Browning (170) and Jacob Gastineau (182) took third while Zach Mills (132) and Sean Bayse (195) placed fourth.
Cascade has gained momentum throughout the season and the Cadets are poised for the beginning of the state tournament Jan. 26.
“Our focus all year has been the ability to compete any time we step on the mat,” Hagenow said. “We will continue to focus on our improvement, both as a team and as individuals. Our goal from the beginning has been to win conference and get as many wrestlers as deep into the tournament as we can. We will continue to work and prepare ourselves for a push deep into the tournament.”
The Cadets have won 15 dual meets, compared to five last season, and went from third to first in the WCC. Cascade also returns all of its wrestlers next season.