Four Titles For Eagles At Simonson Open

Joe Brandt
Joe Brandt

AU wrestling coach Josh Hutchens took a long look at his team on Saturday (Nov. 16) and provided a short synopsis.

"OK," said Hutchens, with a shrug of his shoulders and a wave of his hand when asked about how the Eagles graded out at the Simonson Open, held at Kates Gymnasium.

Hutchens, in his first year at AU, may be a tough critic. Four AU wrestlers finished first on Saturday and two more finished second. In a couple of instances, the finals pitted AU wrestlers going against each other.

"We're a little run down," admitted Hutchens. "Some of these guys already have 15 matches in."

This was the third consecutive weekend the Eagles competed in an open tournament. That may have fatigued some of the Eagles, but it didn't seem to rob Joe Brandt of any steam. Brandt, wrestling at 197 pounds, won his third consecutive championship.

Ashland's other champions were Kyle Burns at 157 pounds, Luke Cramer at 174 pounds and Bryson Hall at 184 pounds.

Bobby Mason was second at 141 pounds and Tyler Houska was the runner-up at 285 pounds.

Michael Labry, AU's 133-pounder and Brent Fickel, wrestling at 149, both placed third. Both lost for the the first time this season. Labry was upended by Pitt's Derrick Nelson, 10-7. He regrouped and won the battle for third place over John Dillon of Mercyhurst Notheast, 3-1.

"Labry lost to a tough kid," Hutchens said. "He's had a little bit of a sore ankle and maybe didn't move quite as well."

Fickel's first loss of the year was against Ohio's Cullen Cummings, 3-2.

The positive on this day is that while Fickel and Labry didn't win championships, wrestlers like Burns, Cramer and Hall did. That's a sign that the Eagles could have depth up and down the lineup.

Mason was pinned in the final at 141 pounds by Justin Kieffer of Indianapolis. Kieffer recorded the pin at 3:46.

Houska was beaten in the final at 285 by Evan Wooding of Indianapolis, 7-2.

Hall's championship at 184 pounds came against his teammate, Brandon O'Neil. Hall won the championship match, 3-2. Brandt defeated Kurt Schaefer in the championship bout at 197 with a 13-5 major decision.

Next Saturday (Nov. 23) the Eagles go to Lake Erie where they will face the host Storm,  Indianapolis and Alderson-Broaddus.