By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald writer
The Ada wrestling team fared well at the Tippecanoe Holiday Invitational Saturday, finishing sixth amid a tough 17-team field.
"We did very well," said Bulldog coach Branden Nickles.
Host Tippecanoe finished first, followed by Miami East in second, Lebanon third, Ben Logan fourth, Fairborn fifth and Ada sixth.
"I think we were only one point away from fifth," noted Nickles.
Top Ada individual finishers:
Noah Beach 1st
Dylan Hannah 3rd
Austin Windle 3rd
Jarod Woodland 4th
Brady Pitney 5th
Matt Higgins 6th
Tyler Rockhill 7th
Sickness and Christmas break limited Ada to seven varsity wrestlers on Saturday, and all seven placed, highlighted by one champion in Noah Beach.
"Our goal all year has been to be top half; with this tournament a top 10 finish seemed like a more reasonable opportunity considering the level of competition and the number of guys we were taking," said Nickles.
"The first time we heard team scores all day was going into the finals, reading from bottom to top," he continued. "The announcer just kept reading names and reading names, he got all the way to fourth before we heard our name called. What a rush! "We came up a few points short in getting fourth at the end of the day, but the story of the year for us is that we just don't have the numbers to do more than what we're doing at this point."
Nickles was exceptionally pleased with the accomplishment of Beach.
"Noah wrestled great all day long!" Nickles enthused. "Noah was smart, in shape, and on top of his game. In his finals match, he was able to beat a kid from Tri-County North that will also be at our district tournament, so the win is a great momentum-builder for February.
"Also, by winning the tournament he grabbed a seed from Tippecanoe, who will also be at the Lima Senior tournament in January. Very impressive win at a tough tournament."
Nickles recounted that being added to the tournament field ended up being a very positive experience.
"Our boys had a lot of success in the tournament on Saturday," Nickles summed up. "They all faced competition that exposed some of our weaknesses. So all and all, the tournament was a great addition to our schedule.
"Some of the guys we wrestled were state qualifiers from last year; we looked forward to the challenge. I hope to go back to
this tournament next season, it was well-run at a great facility."
Ada's next match is at the Lima Senior Spartan Invitational January 11.
"It should be a great tournament," Nickles predicted.