CAYUGA, Ind. – Every so often there is an event that epitomizes what a sport is all about. For wrestling, that happened in a match at the Wabash River Conference championship.
Seeger senior Caleb Hanthorne and Fountain Central freshman Laine Frazee were in the 132 pound final. The two had faced each other once before with Hanthorne getting the win.
In the match for the title on Saturday, Frazee jumped out to a 5-0 lead and was still up 5-2 after the first two-minute period.
“It’s tough to comeback when you start off down 5-0,” said Seeger head coach Tom Cook, “But he did a good job of it.”
Hanthorne rallied but still trailed 7-4 in the third period. He closed it to 7-6 and later 9-7 with 45 seconds left in the match.
It was then that strength and technique took a backseat to strategy.
Hanthorne held the superior position and had a choice as to how he might try to win the match.
He could try to roll Frazee on his back for two or three points to tie or lead or he could let Frazee up and try for a takedown, trading one point for two, repeatedly.
He chose the latter, saying, “We were about equal in strength but I thought I might be quicker. So rather than risk getting nothing trying to turn him, I decided to use my quickness.”
He let Frazee up to make it 10-7 and took him down to make it 10-9 with 30 seconds left. Once again, he let his opponent get up for an 11-9 score.
Frazee was well aware of what was going on and he first tried to keep his lead.
“I wanted to waste time,” said Frazee, “But the last time I wrestled I got called for stalling so I knew I couldn’t do that. So I went after points.”
In the final 15 seconds, instead of Hanthorne getting the takedown, it was Frazee who got it, making the final score 13-9 in favor of the Mustang freshman.
Asked how he won, Frazee said, “My sister and my coaches.” He then explained, “My sister did my chores for me this morning. My coaches had me working on takedowns and I got that last one.”
When the match was over, the two gave each other a brief pat on the back for a job well done as well as doing the traditional handshake.
Frazee was one of five champions for Fountain Central with the others being Alex Haddock at 138, Collin Strange at 145, Marcus Ditmore at 195 and Alex Fay. Those five titles were not enough to give the Mustangs the team title.
That went to Seeger, who also had five champions. They were Harley Steele at 106, Quentin Johnston at 113, Devon Acton at 120, Jordan Horath at 152 and Jack Kay at 182.
Fountain Central coach Kameron Banes said he knew it would be close, saying Seeger has a tough team and good coaches, but that now his team would continue to work toward sectionals.
Cook said the reason Seeger took first was the consolation rounds.
“We talked about it going into the meet,” he explained. “We knew we needed to do well there and we had no one finish below fourth including one guy, our 60, who stepped in when our other 60 quit yesterday and he took third.”
Third was where North Vermillion finished. The Falcons had a champion at 220 in Robby Davis – the first in three years according to coach Luke King.
“He’s our leader,” said King of Davis, “and he went out and did the job. Last year we won the team title with no individual winner, but today we had a champion and got third.”
Attica also had one champion in Hunter Eads at 126 while Covington had four second-place finishers.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org