BELLBROOK — Eaton wrestling coach Nathan Islamovsky feels his team is better suited for invitationals than it is for dual meets.
The Eagles proved their coach right over the weekend as they won the Bellbrook Invitational, edging Wayne 199-197 on Saturday, Jan. 9.
“It was a great tournament,” he said. “We brought 10 wrestlers and nine placed in the top five”
Owen Hewitt and Matt Michael placed first. Brayden Deem and Logan Littrell each finished second. Danny Caldwell, Lucas Abner, and Sage Bowman placed third. Trenton Dungan was fourth and Dominic Isaacs placed fifth.
“It was a tight team race, and even though we wrestled better than I could have imagined, and only lost a few matches in the early rounds, we were still in third place going into the later rounds. With our numbers being low we needed a lot of wins and a lot of pins to win the tournament,” Islamovsky said. “Individually we had great showings from a lot of our wrestlers.”
Hewitt was nothing short of dominant the coach said.
“Every match he wrestled was either a pin, tech fall, or major decision. He really jumped levels over the last few weeks and if he continues to improve there are good things to come,” Islamovsky said.
Michael had a breakout tournament.
“He’s a kid who has worked his butt off for the last few years and done everything the coaching staff asks and more, but for a lot of different reasons hasn’t been in the lineup until this season,” Islamovsky said. “This tournament he was put in a competitive bracket and got to show why he put in all that work. Matt ended the day a perfect 5-0 with four pins. He is wrestling at a really high level right now.”
Deem is a standout freshman.
“[He placed] second and wrestled really well while doing it. He has high expectations for himself and the more I see him wrestle, the higher my expectations get for him,” Islamovsky said.
The win was a team effort, according to their coach.
“We won this tournament as a complete team effort and every match ended up counting toward the win. One less win or even one fewer pin and we end up second,” Islamovsky said. “I have told the team all year [that] we just happen to be a team built for tournaments in a year where we will mostly wrestle in duals.”
He said that the team has dealt with dual meets alongside other adversity this season.
“We are happy to be wrestling, but miss a lot of the things taken off of the schedule this season. So I was very thankful to be able to go to this tournament and give our wrestlers a chance to compete,” he said. “Each wrestler got at least four matches on the day. Even if we’d have finished in last place I’d be happy about that. This tournament was [an] especially good experience because in February, Bellbrook will be hosting the SWBL Tournament and it gave us a chance to prepare for that as well as the sectional tournament. All in all, I am proud of the team. Happy, but not satisfied.”
Prior to the Christmas break, Eaton defeated Bellbrook 36-15 in a dual meet on Wednesday, Dec. 23
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr