COVINGTON — The National Trail Blazers competed at the Covington Duals on Saturday, Feb. 6, where Ben Sullivan made his return to the mats for Trail.
Sullivan had been unable to participate this season due to injury, but the junior returned by going 5-0 in the 220 pound weight division.
“Ben looked great out there,” head coach Mike Eyler said. “He came right out of the gate and wrestled the way he wanted to wrestle. His mat awareness and control were top-notch. He’s been anxious to return to action and he didn’t disappoint at all. I’m excited to see how he wrestles at sectionals.”
Josh Cook also wrestled well for the Blazers, going 4-1 on the day at the 145 pound weight class.
“I think Josh was a bit disappointed he didn’t go 5-0,” Eyler said, but added, “I also think that he’ll really buckle down in practice to make sure he does better at sectionals. He barely missed the cut for districts last year, so I think he’s very motivated to not miss it again this year.”
The 285-pound Dylan Hager also went 4-1 on the day, and Eyler said the junior continues to improve as a wrestler and believes he can have a strong showing at sectionals.
Freshman and 106-pounder Derek Nugent went 3-2 on the day as a solid season continues. “He’s got a lot of talent and works hard in the practice room,” Eyler said. “As long as he continues to gain experience and refine his wrestling, he’ll go far.”
Two Blazers, junior Robert Nave in the 138-pound weight class and sophomore Donnie Pegg in the 170-pound weight class, went 2-3 on the day.
Dakota Smallwood ended his season on a high note, picking up a 1:09 pin.
“Dakota, for being a first-year wrestler, has such a great attitude and work ethic. I’m proud of him for sticking with the sport and working so hard,” Eyler said.
“Overall, while we didn’t win via team score, we still won more matches than we lost,” Eyler said of the tournament.
“The boys really go out there and wrestle their hearts out, they don’t give up, and we’ve seen a lot of success due to that,” Eyler said of his team as sectionals near. “I’m very proud of their performance. Now, though, it’s time to turn our sights on more important things, like sectionals. We’ve got about two weeks to prepare and get ready to come out on the offensive.”
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter at aschmidt_RH.