By Anna Kayser
On Saturday in Brownsburg, fans from the top two wrestling teams in 4A – and arguably the entire state of Indiana – took to the Bulldog gym for what is likely a preview of the 2023 IHSAA State Championship race on the horizon.
After making it’s way through a tough slate of opponents in Indianapolis Cathedral and Center Grove, Brownsburg clawed it’s way back from a deep and early deficit against No. 1 ranked Crown Point but ultimately fell short in the IHSWCA Dual State championships, losing 39-24.
“Crown Point’s really good, and we knew they were really good,” head coach Darrick Snyder said. “Our guys fought and battled hard, they have a handful of guys paired up with some of our guys that aren’t quite at that level yet, so we knew they’d score bonus in those.”
Crown Point jumped out to a commanding 20-0 lead after the first four bouts, sweeping Brownsburg’s 170-220 weights in style with two pins and a technical fall.
Brownsburg then countered in dominant fashion, taking each of the next four and six of the next seven to tighten the deficit to just one point (25-24). After heavyweight Leighton Jones put the purple Bulldogs on the board, Revin Dickman (106) followed with a third-period fall and off they went. Jake Hockaday’s technical fall at 120 and Brady Ison’s major decision at 132 tallied bonus points for the team.
“I thought our guys did everything they could to win, Crown Point’s just a better team right now,” Snyder said. “I thought we battled well, I was proud of the effort but never happy getting second place. Just have to refocus, we have conference coming up and then the tournament series so we’ll get back to work.”
Dickman, Hockaday and Ison all went 3-0 for Brownsburg on Saturday, with Parker Reynolds going 2-0 over the final two duals.
“You know who’s really clicking for us right now is Brady Ison,” Snyder said. “We went up to Ironman and he went 1-2, and I don’t remember the last time he didn’t place at a tournament, he’s been wrestling his whole life. I told the guys that when you start taking those losses, there’s two roads – you’re either going to go down the road to get better and fix things, or you’re just going to be happy losing.
“[Ison] went up to Brecksville and won it, and he looked lights out today.”
With a four-point lead entering the final two matches of a long day of wrestling, Crown Point clinched it’s second consecutive IHSWCA Dual State title with a technical fall to put the red Bulldog out of reach in the final bout.
The tournament kicks off a season-ending stretch of strong Indiana-based competition for the purple Bulldogs, culminating in the IHSAA State Championships at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in February. On Jan. 14, they again take to the Brownsburg gymnasium for the HCC Championships. Two weeks later, the state series begins.
In December, the focus shifted into getting some wrestlers national recognition by battling some of the toughest competition across state lines. Now, they’re looking for that hard work to pay off with a strong performance in the state series.
“Take a kid like Preston Haines, who in Ohio lost some really tough, close matches at Brecksville then lost a close one in overtime in the semis,” Snyder said. “He’s been in that situation 10 times this year, and this was the first time he didn’t get down on himself.
“You see guys breathing heavy and a lot of times it’s just anxiety and nerves because the match isn’t going their way. He was calm and collected the entire time, and we’re starting to see more of our guys do that because they’ve been in all of these tough matches.”