By Jake Thompson
---- — After their match against Ben Davis last week, Avon wrestling coach Israel Blevins said he was optimistic about the Orioles’ chances to win the Hoosier Crossroads Conference championship.
Blevins’ intuition paid off as Avon brought home the HCC title by a wide margin, winning by 65 points. Westfield (132.5) took second, Zionsville (132.5) placed third, Hamilton Southeastern (128) finished fourth and Brownsburg (101) rounded out the top five.
“Our kids continue to wrestle well and build momentum every time we wrestle,” Blevins said. “It’s great for the kids and they are able to feed off each other instead of individuals because it becomes more of a team that way when everyone is wrestling well.”
Avon entered the finals with six grapplers competing for championships and came away with four champions.
“We had four seeded to get to the finals and had a couple more find their way there,” Blevins said. “To have almost half of your team there in the finals is definitely a good thing.”
Marcus Miranda (138), Brendon Helm (160), Gunnar Larson (220) and Guy Henson (285) all came away with championship hardware.
“Gunnar had to win two overtime matches but he did a good job,” Blevins said. “Miranda was a draw-in and knocked off the No. 9-ranked kid to do it. Guy did his job and it was good to see him come back and wrestle hard after a loss.”
Brian Rassbach (113) and Evan Elmore (182) finished as runner-ups.
“Elmore ran into a very strong guy that had a lot of physicality, but we will try to fix that going into the sectional,” Blevins said. “Brian ran into a kid that was a matchup problem who was pretty quick and picked us apart.”
Brownsburg advanced two wrestlers to the finals, but after tough semi-final matches, each fell in the finals.
Nick Weaver (106) downed No. 16 Daniel Davis of Harrison in the semis, but fell 10-2 in the finals to Lafayette Jeff’s Dustin Miller.
CJ Damler bested Derek Noon (26-4) in the semis and fell to No. 8 Michael Steele of Westfield 7-1. Steele had previously beaten Noon 3-2 in overtime earlier this season.
“Both of those guys won overtime matches in the semi-finals,” Brownsburg coach Darrick Snyder said. “In the finals we just couldn’t get it done.”
Brownsburg’s Stone Neese (182) and Zach Rumschlag (285) each placed third after losing in the semis and winning their wrestleback matches.
Snyder said Brownsburg has a ways to go, but did improve upon their seventh-place finish last season.
“It’s my first experience at the HCC and it’s a loaded conference from top to bottom,” Snyder said. “We’re improving, it’s better than Brownsburg has done in several years, but it’s still not good enough. I told the guys they wrestled fine today, but we just have to keep getting better.”
Each team now sets their sights on the postseason with sectionals beginning Feb. 1 at Avon.
— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.