Peyton Pruett wasn’t about to let a broken left hand slow him down.
The Center Grove sophomore gutted out a 1-0 victory against Indian Creek’s Gabe Pitzulo in the 126-pound final at Saturday’s Mooresville wrestling sectional, and his Trojan teammates followed his lead, pulling away from the runner-up Braves to claim a third straight sectional crown.
“I was trying to figure out how to work around the hand, because it limited a lot of my offense,” said Pruett, who kept Pitzulo on the ground for the entire third period and held off a last-second attempt at a reversal.
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Pruett was one of four individual champions for the Trojans, who also got first-place finishes from Alex Petro at 113 pounds, Logan Coyle at 145 and Gleason Mappes at 160. Center Grove finished the day with 197.5 points, safely ahead of Indian Creek (153.5) and Franklin (136.5).
According to coach Cale Hoover, the sectional represented a nice turnaround after a disappointing regular season.
“It’s been a tough season,” he said. “A lot of guys taking losses, and they persevered and they hung together — and this is by far the culmination and our best performance.
“We were only seeded to have six guys advance (to regional) and we got 10, so that’s a big deal.”
Each of the five Johnson County schools competing had at least one individual champion. Owen Sego and Alex Mosconi were victorious at 106 and 120 pounds, respectively, for Indian Creek.
Sego, who had been limited in practice during the week by a sore hip, still had enough left to topple Greenwood’s Keegan Overton 4-0 in his title match.
“I wish I’d have kept the pace up and beat him by a little bit more,” Sego said, “but a win’s a win.”
Jake Moore claimed the 182-pound title for the Grizzly Cubs.
Greenwood, which placed sixth as a team with 105 points, got an individual win from Nick Willham at 152 pounds. Stuck in a scoreless duel with Indian Creek’s Tyler Weltich in the third period of the title match, Willham got to his feet with Weltich on his back and scored a reversal to pave the way to a 4-0 win.
“That (down) position I’ve been struggling with a lot recently,” Willham said, “and my coach made us work in practice with it a lot. That’s twice in a row that I got that reversal, so I was pretty happy with that.”
Ryan Hammond rolled to the 195-pound championship to lead Whiteland, which placed eighth overall.
Hammond, who remained undefeated on the year at 20-0, was able to turn his eyes to the road ahead after pinning Indian Creek’s Grant Goforth in the final.
“I’ll have some tough matches along the way,” he said. “I just have to keep working hard and get ready for each week.”
Also advancing to next weekend’s Mooresville Regional for Center Grove were second-place finishers Jonah Hays (170) and Cory Heinrichs (285); third-place finishers Ben Sequin (106), Austin King (138) and Julius Byrd (195); and fourth-place finisher Michael Cutsinger (220).
Indian Creek moved eight wrestlers on to the regional. Joining Sego, Mosconi, Pitzulo, Weltich and Goforth were Tony Mosconi (second at 145 pounds), Liam Kelley (third at 132) and Trent Watkins (fourth at 113).
Seven Franklin wrestlers kept their seasons alive: Moore, 132-pound runner-up Ethan Nash and third-place finishers Trevor Reese (145), Ranger Soots (152), Burk VanHorn (170), Manny Cheam (220) and Jacob Lamping (285).
VanHorn, who came in unbeaten and ranked first in the state in his weight class, was upset by Monrovia’s Eli Stock in overtime of the semifinal round. He bounced back with a pair of victories in the consolation bracket to advance to next week.
Advancing for Greenwood were Willham, second-place finishers Overton and Jacob Schrader (138 pounds) and fourth-place finisher Logan Roddy (132). Joining Hammond in the regional for Whiteland are Aaron Adkins, who took second at 113 pounds, as well as Kobe King (120) and Garrett Curtis (285).