Times Sports Editor
CLINTON -- The Northview wrestling team started the postseason exactly how it wanted to as the Knights defended their Western Indiana Conference title by squeezing past Owen Valley for the top spot on Saturday at South Vermillion High School.
The Knights tallied 228 points to edge the Patriots' total of 202.5 with Edgewood and distant third. Brown County, Sullivan, South Vermillion and West Vigo rounded out the scoring.
The Knights claimed four individual championships and advanced nine competitors to the championship match, but it might have been their third and fifth-place finishers that gave Northview its sixth title in eight years.
"I'm pretty happy because, by the seeds, Owen Valley was a few points ahead of us," Northview coach Dan Mikesell said. "They had a couple of bad things happen to them and we had a couple of kids pull through and wrestle above their seeds."
The Knights' Caleb Nicosin won his third straight championship on Saturday, Aaron See also repeated his title at 215 pounds and Larry Shaffer won at 160 and Austin Bell was the 130-pound champion.
Nicosin came through to claim the 112-pound title over Edgewood's Tyler Bryant with a 9-2 decision to improve to 25-12 overall this year. The win was Nicosin's second straight over Bryan as the Knights' junior won 14-8 in the dual match earlier this season.
"It was a good win for Caleb, he wrestled well in the finals. He pretty much controlled his man the entire match and got some near falls to break it open at the end of the second period," Mikesell said. "It was a good match for Caleb and a good day. Hopefully he can win conference again next year and set his goals high to advance in the state tournament."
Shaffer was also able to pull away in the third period as he was tied at two-apiece with Edgewood's Damien Chambers heading to the final period before a take down and back points earned him a 9-2 victory.
In the 215-pound title match, See came out quickly to take the early lead against Owen Valley's Corbin Knapp. The Northview junior claimed a 2-0 lead with a takedown and bumped that to 4-1 before two near fall points opened the gap heading into the second period. In the second period, See kept the pressure on before scoring the fall and bonus team points.
In the 130-pound match, Bell was cautious in the early going, leading just 1-0 after the first period. However, he pushed the pace late in the match against Sullivan's Colt Thompson. Bell went up 5-0 early in the final period before earning the decision.
Northview also advanced Shane Ryan (103), Skyler Hall (119), Baylor Girton (140), Brody Girton (152) and Beau Judd (285) to the championship match, but the group had to settle for second.
The Knights' Brandon Pleake was the top seed at 189 pounds after winning a title last year, but was upset in the second round as he was plagued by asythma complications during a loss to eventual champion, Blake Ray of West Vigo.
However, Pleake came back to gain a victory in his third-place match against Brown County's Toby Kirts.
"That was kind of the difference. I'm really proud of our kids, the third-place and fifth-place finishers really understood the team concept," Mikesell said. "After they realized that they couldn't be champions, they really sucked it up. Brandon Pleake, coming back as a champion, got upset in the semifinals and he could have folded his tent, but I'm proud of his kind of effort because it means a lot for the team."
Nathan Duregger also climbed back to finish third to earn the Knights' extra team points in the championship chase and Trey Boor came through with two more wins to secure a fifth-place.
"I really challenged some of those kids that haven't been winning much. I told them we needed them to win at least once today and Trey (Boor) came through with two wins, one with the bonus, so that was great. He got us two bonus points for getting a fall," Mikesell said. "A kid like Nathan Duregger, a senior, he didn't win it individually, but he's won it twice now being a part of this team. He got third and that is a pretty tough weight class. I'm real proud of Nathan, he wrestled above his seed and got third. Absolutely those fifth --and-third-place guys are important when it comes to team championships.
"It feels good to beat Owen Valley, they are a sectional opponent too so that's definitely a positive," Mikesell added. "Now we can focus on advancing guys, we've got to get top-four to stay alive or the season is over."
Sectional competition begins on Saturday as the Knights play host beginning at 10 a.m.
Western Indiana Conference Meet
Team scores: Northview 228, Owen Valley 202.5, Edgewood 171, Brown County 151.5, Sullivan 141, South Vermillion 137, West Vigo 127
103 -- 1. Seth Clawson (EW), 2. Shane Ryan (Nv), 3. Joe Gilham (SL), 4. Tanner Bishop (SV), 5. Katie Price (OV)
112 -- 1. Caleb Nicosin (Nv), 2. Tyler Bryant (EW), 3. Austin Ely (BC), 4. Scott Seeley (SV), 5. Trey Archer (WV), 6. Jonathan Reeves (SL)
119 -- 1. Devin Broukal (OV), 2. Skyler Hall (Nv), 3. Nate Sullivan (SL), 4. Jackson Snyder (EW), 5. Spencer Bishop (SV), 6. Cody Leeper (BC)
125 -- Aaron Bullock (BC), 2. William Newforth (OV), 3. Dylan Crusenberry (EW), 4. Cory Orndorff (SL), 5. Trey Boor (Nv), 6. Sam Bowden (WV)
130 -- 1. Austin Bell (Nv), 2. Colt Thompson (SL), 3. Dalton Kemp (OV), 4. Cody Cowden (EW), 5. Turner Voland (BC), 6. Troy Price (SV)
135 -- 1. Robert Stewart (OV), 2. Josh Farley (SV), 3. Jacob Creasey (WV), 4. Dylan Quackenbush, 5. Nick Byrd, 6. Blake Edwards (EW)
140 -- 1. Jack Petry (OV), 2. Baylor Girton (Nv), 3. Riley Witvoet (SL), 4. John Gross (SV), 5. Nick Kellams (WV), 6. Alex Morrison (BC)
145 -- Quincy Richey (BC), 2. Alex Thomas (SV), 3. Jed Cox (SL), 4. Ryan Cowden (EW), 5. Daniel Newforth (OV), 6. Zach Mischler (Nv)
152 -- 1. Ryan Roach (WV), 2. Brody Girton (Nv), 3. Jacob Ruckle (BC), 4. John Sullivan (SL), 5. Aaron Goodman (SV), 6. Mike Houghton (EW)
160 -- 1. Larry Shaffer (Nv), 2. Damien Chambers (EW), 3. Evan White (OV), 4. Eric Dowell, 5. Mason O'Neal (SL)
171 -- 1. Jeff Spicer (EW), 2. Ben Bird (WV), 3. Nathan Duregger (Nv), 4. Alex Foultz (SV), 5. Ethan Yates (OV), 6. Shane Sartor (SL)
189 -- 1. Blake Ray (WV), 2. Chase Behrman (OV), 3. Brandon Pleake (Nv), 4. Toby Kirts (BC), 5. Ben Patton (EW), 6. John Hathaway (SL)
215 -- 1. Aaron See (Nv), 2. Corbin Knapp (OV), 3. Dustin Montgomery (WV), 4. Brett Cline (BC), 5. Austin Russell (SV), 6. Brandon Pope (SL)
285 -- 1. Trent Wallace (SV), 2. Beau Judd (Nv), 3. Mike Hill (OV), 4. Brad Settle (EW), 5. Nick Brownfield (V), 6. Chad Low (BC)