Photo by Lori PoteetJesse Archer was excited after winning conference at 160 pounds for North.
Photo by Lori Poteet

Jesse Archer was excited after winning conference at 160 pounds for North.
It all came down to head-to-head matchups Saturday at the Sagamore Athletic Conference wrestling meet. North Montgomery held a slim lead over Lebanon going into the final placement round of the tournament. The teams met six times in the final round and Lebanon won five of those matches to pick up a win with 228 team points. The Chargers finished second with 212 points. Southmont was third at 200.5. Crawfordsville finished sixth with a team score of 122.

"Like I said in the paper, Lebanon's a juggernaut. They beat us five or six times in the final round. They're a tough team. They're good top to bottom," North Montgomery head coach Maurice Swain said. "I knew coming in that the first two rounds were big. And we wrestled well in those rounds. But if you don't win many matches in the final round it's hard to win the tournament.

"They're good. We had guys wrestle well, we just didn't have a good last round," he added.

Jesse Archer was North Montgomery's only individual conference champion. He won the 160 pound class with a pin.

Southmont, which recently finished third at the IHSWCA Team State Duals, was one of the favorites coming in. They earned three individual champion (Boone Welliever at 132, Connor Moore at 138 and Wayne Highfield at 145) but did not perform well early on as a team. That limited their opportunities in the placement round.

"Incredibly disappointed. We had a team that could have very easily won. But you have to get it done on the mat," Southmont head coach Kevin Wilkinson said. "We talked and it's gut-check time. Either we take this and let it motivate us or we aren't going to get it done.

"We're tired of being the team that would-of, should-of, could-of. We're the third best team in the state but we can't win out county or conference," Wilkinson continued. "It's frustrating. Hopefully some of those guys that aren't putting in the work they need to can buy in."

Crawfordsville ended up without a conference champion. Senior Robert Manns suffered his first loss of the season against Western Boone's Jonathon Morales. Morales, who placed fifth at state last year, won a 4-3 decision Saturday, avenging an earlier loss to Manns.

"Our team goal was to be in the top half and we knew we needed to wrestle really well to do that. We were up and down," Crawfordsville head coach Chris Ervin said. "I don't think we wrestled our very best. We wrestled about where we were seeded. We had some growth."

The teams will spend this week at various events before coming together on Jan. 31 at Crawfordsville High School for the sectional.