By B.J. HARGIS
The Sullivan High School wrestling team competed in the prestigious Mater Dei Holiday Classic in Evansville on Wednesday and Thursday.
At 120 pounds, junior Lane Gilbert, who has been limited due an injury, won all four of his matches and was champion.
He pinned Lucas Embry of Gibson Southern in 25 seconds, then pinned Zach Bulkey of Mt. Vernon in 3:52 and then disposed of Vince Kessinger of Franklin Community in 100 seconds.
In the championship match against Toby Billerman of Perry Meridian, Gilbert, ranked No. 3 in the state at 120, defeated Billerman 9-3. Billerman is ranked No. 4.
"This was a high-stakes race," said Sullivan wrestling coach Roy Monroe. "Lane was never in any trouble whatsoever against Billerman, who was right there when he wrestled the No. 1 guy in the state earlier this year.
"He had him pinned, but an injury saved Billerman."
Gilbert, who now has a 10-1 record, is getting back into the swing of things after his early-season arm injury.
"He will still be in a sling for a week or so and then we will try to wean him off of it," said Monroe. "He is in shape, but not in wrestling shape. He still has a ways to go.
"But I think he is headed for the lights this year."
At 195, Mason Drake of Sullivan won two of his first three matches.
Drake needed nine seconds short of one period to defeat Garrett Johnson of Indian Creek by fall.
After losing in the second round by pin, Drake pinned Evan Krueger of New Albany at 1:40.
Then against Franklin Schoen, Drake lost a 1-0 decision.
"My switcheroo with Drake and Dawson (Land) backfired," said Monroe. "I switched them just to see who would be best where.
"I will be changing them back if Dawson wins the wrestle off."
Aaron Vire (106), Walker Brocksmith (126), Lloyd Hauger (132), Gabriel Harris (138), Zander Bedwell (160) and Land (220) competed for Sullivan, losing both of their matches.
Sullivan had to forfeit at 145, 152, 170, 182 and 285.
"We have been hit by injuries and illness," said Monroe. "We did not have as many kids wrestling as we had hoped, but we did not finish in last place."