By Jake Thompson email@example.com
---- — Ben Davis took three wrestlers to the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over the weekend, and after the first night, only one remained.
Heavyweight Norman Oglesby avenged a first-night loss at the state finals last season, and went all the way to the finals against Cathedral’s No. 1-ranked Wesley Bernard for a state title.
Both heavyweights pinned their way to the finals, which made for an exciting match.
Bernard (53-0) downed Oglesby (46-3) by a 5-2 decision, and while disappointing, the Ben Davis grappler still has a year left to compete.
“I just went out and wrestled and he was the better man tonight,” Oglesby said. “This will actually fuel me. I don’t wrestle to win, I just like to scrap with people. That’s it.”
Oglesby, a junior, vowed to return next season to finish what he started.
“I’m just a scrapper,” he said. “I’m pretty proud and this year I made it happen.”
First-year Ben Davis coach Ted Bearman said he was impressed with Oglesby’s performance and also looks forward to what next season has in store for the heavyweight.
“We had probably not seen that type of strength and athleticism that Wesley possessed,” Bearman said. “I’d say it’s hard to duplicate that and we have some things to work on, but have another year to do that.”
James Pritchett (113 pounds) and Kasha’ Wilder (220) both ended their journey for a state title on Friday night with opening-round losses.
Pritchett lost by major decision, 10-0, to Munster’s Jason Crary, the eventual sixth-place finisher.
“I was a little nervous and felt like I could have done better out there,” Pritchett said. “It was interesting as a sophomore going to state. It was kind of fun.”
Wilder lost an 11-2 major decision to Kokomo’s Fletcher Miller, the eventual state runner-up.
“Kasha really started to come into his own at the end of the season and realized he can wrestle with those really good kids if he does the things he needs to do,” Bearman said.
All three grapplers return next season for the Giants and hope to build upon their experiences.
“I learned there are a lot of people that are good and that I need to get better so I have a chance to beat those guys,” Pritchett said. “I’m going to work harder, work with my team, try to get better and try to get them better.”
Bearman now looks forward to the team’s offseason training and conditioning that will include three grapplers with state finals experience.
“It gives us a little momentum and some drive for some other guys that were close to making it here,” he said. “They just have to believe.”
— Follow Westside Flyer sports editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.