BURK: Heavyweights and hardwood
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:00 AM
It’s been an up and down season for Montgomery County wrestlers. Forty-two young men started the sectional at Crawfordsville with hopes of standing on a podium at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse this weekend. Just three still have that opportunity. North Montgomery senior Tanner Webster, North Montgomery sophomore Seth Johnson and Southmont senior Boone Welliever have one last chance at making their mark on history.
The wrestling state tournament is an interesting structure. For three straight Saturdays the kids hit the mats early in the morning and compete for most of the day at the sectional, regional and semi state level. Sixteen grapplers from each weight class make it to state where they wrestler one match on Friday night. If you win Friday, you get to come back Saturday and get a medal. If you lose Friday night, you just go home and you’ll need a ticket to watch Saturday’s action.
All three local kids have winnable matchups Friday night, but nothing can be taken for granted in this tournament. I’ll break down the brackets a little more this week, but it will be interesting. If you can’t make it over to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indy this weekend, follow along on Twitter @ThePaperSports for local updates. You can also follow every match, no matter the weight class or location of athlete, by visiting trackwrestling.com.
ON THE HARDWOOD, the boys have their final push to the postseason. Up north, the Chargers have run into some struggles lately. They’ve shown at points this season that they can get hot and maybe make a run to cause some headaches at the sectional.
Also in Class 3A, Crawfordsville has stayed hot. Since Rockville, I can’t think of a game that they lost that really surprised me. They battled with No. 10 Tri-West and were in a position to make a quick run to victory. It didn’t happen, but Tri-West was just the better team that night. Crawfordsville is very disciplined and they’ve shown already that they can handle the pressure of big atmospheres.
Southmont might be the most interesting team in the county. They had a really great start, then a tough stretch and might be coming back around after a win at Fountain Central last Saturday. The Mounties can be really, really good. I said it before the season and it holds true, Cam Chadd and Kaleb Swick are both elite scorers. Swick has had a couple of big totals lately as he knocks on the door of 1,000 career points. I think that the more offense that runs through this pair, the better off the Mounties are. That doesn’t mean they have to get the points every night. But every touch they get brings the opposition’s best defender (and usually a double team). If the Mounties can get these two increased touches and open up good shots for the other spot-up guys, they’ll settle in just fine come tournament time.
Can we get two sectional champions out of Montgomery County? It’s not out of the realm of possibility this year. Going to be fun to find out!
I’ll see ya out there.