CLINTON -- If you're the Northview Knights, you've got to be pretty happy that the Western Indiana Conference wrestling tournament went almost exactly as the seeds on paper.
The Knights came in as the seeded favorite for Saturday's tournament and after the dust settled, Northview had a conference team championship over the host Wildcats. Northview finished with four individual champions and three runner-up finishes for a total of 232 points to top the Wildcats' 203. West Vigo placed third (190) ahead of Edgewood (163), Owen Valley (130), Sullivan (114) and Brown County (107).
"It was a total team effort. The champions scored some major points and also some bonus points with pins and major decisions," coach Dan Mikesell said of the win. "Our third and-fourth-place finishers came through with extra points as well. Other than one upset our guys performed up to their seeds. So it went as I expected. Our wrestlers really fought to earn the title. I was proud of all our kids, especially Skyler Hall as he wrestled through an injury with his elbow and bounced back after being upset in the Semi-finals to get third and two pins for extra team points."
Caleb Nicoson repeated as the champion at 103 pounds for the Knights and Luke Pingleton won at 135 after claiming the 125-pound title last year. Also winning a championship for the Knights was Brandon Pleake at 189 pounds and Aaron See in the 215-pound division.
"I was so proud of Caleb. Being a returning champion is a lot of pressure and to top if off he was battling flu like symptoms all day, but he sucked it up and wrestled like a true champion, Mikesell said. "He was head to head with South Vermillion and at that time the team race was not decided so he handled that pressure as well.
"Luke looked really good all day. He has battled mono all season and seems to be coming out of it," Mikesell said of Pingleton. "His conditioning seems to be getting better, hopefully just at the right time. He worked hard to earn an extra team point even when the match was well in hand."
Finishing second for the Knights was Austin Bell at 119 pounds, Brady Silvers at 160 and Beau Judd at 285.
"Pleake was on a mission to prove himself," Mikesell said. "There was some disagreement among the coaches of how to seed the weight class and Pleake had my back for fighting for him in the meeting. He listens well and really takes pride in improving his technique. He works so hard and gets the most out of his talent. His win was really a great moment for me as a coach."
Watching See pick up a championship was also a special moment for Mikesell as the sophomore pinned a senior for the title.
"He seems to gain more and more confidence each match," Mikesell said. "He has good speed for a big wrestler and used that to his advantage in the finals. He shows a lot of promise and I am looking forward to watching him continue to mature into a good wrestler."
Skyler Hall finished in third-place at 112 for the Knights and Larry Shaffer was third at 152. In fourth-place was Pat Durcholz at 140, Nathan Duregger at 171 and Baylor Girton at 145.
"We needed to get back on top of our conference as part of our program goals. This team has been a good group to be around," Mikesell said. "They understand the importance of team work in wrestling and they have good chemistry together.
"Our lightweight guys have really showed a lot of improvement with the help my assistant coach Chris Walker," Mikesell added. "He works hard with those guys and has done an excellent job of developing their talents. I can't express my gratitude enough for his work. This win should really give some of our kids some confidence heading into the state tournament series. We will seed it Monday and then know exactly what is in store for us."
Next up for the Knights is the IHSAA Wrestling Sectional, which they will host on Saturday.
Team results -- Northview 232, South Vermillion 203, West Vigo 190, Edgewood 163, Owen Valley 130, Sullivan 114, Brown County 107.
103 -- 1. Caleb Nicoson (Nv), 2. Troy Price (SV), 3. Mike Mest (E), 4. Gage Lynch (WV), 5. Ben Myers (OV), 6. forfeit.
112 -- 1. Aaron Bullock (BC), 2. Spencer Bishop (SV), 3. Skyler Hall (Nv), 4. Kaelan Shouse (OV), 5. Dallas Owen (E), 6. forfeit.
119 -- 1. Levi Edwards (WV), 2. Austin Bell (Nv), 3. Colt Thompson (Sul), 4. Garrett jammes (SV), 5. Cody Cowden (E), 6. Turner Voland (BC).
125 -- 1. Dalton Milikan (SV), 2. A.J. Kerr (E), 3. Nate Sullivan (Sul), 4. Dylan Quackenbush (BC), 5. Jared Wilguess (WV0, 6. Kyle Jackson (OV).
130 -- 1. John Walker (Sul), 2. Robert Stewart (OV), 3. Anthony Thompson (E), 4. Josh Farley (SV), 5. Nick Kellams (WV), 6. Zach Misler (Nv).
135 -- 1. Luke Pingleton (Nv), 2. Jack Petry (OV), 3. Jacob Creasey (WV0, 4. John Gross (SV), 5. Skylar Simmons (BC), 6. Blake Edwards (E).
140 -- 1. Jeremy Salyers (E), 2. Dyman Lewellynm (WV), 3. Alex Thomas (SV), 4. Pat Durcholz (Nv), 5. Riley Witvoet (Sul), 6. Jacob Morley (OV).
145 -- 1. Ross Hoggatt (SV), 2. Jed Cox (Sul), 3. Zach Ferguson (E), 4. Baylor Girton (Nv), 5. Daniel Newforth (OV), 6. Alex Morrison (BC).
152 -- 1. Quincy Richey (BC), 2. Ryan Roach (WV), 3. Larry Shaffer (Nv), 4. Wes Adams (E), 5. Evan White (OV), 6. Mason O'Neal (Sul).
160 -- 1. Holden Fudurich (Sul), 2. Brady Silvers (Nv), 3. Cody Wilcox (BC), 4. Dillon McGraw (OV), 5. Shane Livingston (WV), 6. John Natale (SV).
171 -- 1. Ben Bird (WV), 2. Jeff Spicer (E), 3. Seth Willey (BC), 4. Nathan Duregger (Nv), 5. Michael Novak (SV), 6. Damon Murmmer (OV).
189 -- 1. Brandon Pleake (Nv), 2. Chase Behrman (OV), 3. Lucas Kelsheimer (SV), 4. Blake Ray (WV), 5. Toby Kirts (BC), 6. Ben Patton (E).
215 -- 1. Aaron See (Nv), 2. Ryan Childers (WV), 3. Mike Hill (OV), 4. Austin Russell (SV), 5. Jerimiah Terrell (E), 6. forfeit.
285 -- 1. Trent Wallace (SV), 2. Beau Judd (Nv), 3. Seth Sturgeon (E), 4. Nick Brownfield (WV), 5. Kendall Monk (Sul), 6. Jake Oliver (BC).