Childs leads Bedford North Lawrence wrestlers to 6th place at Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament

·4 min read
BNL freshman Patrell Childs bears down a foe Saturday during the HHC Tournament. Childs finished third to lead the Stars to a sixth-place finish.
BNL freshman Patrell Childs bears down a foe Saturday during the HHC Tournament. Childs finished third to lead the Stars to a sixth-place finish.

BEDFORD — Heading into a big day when it was hosting the 2022 Hoosier Hills Conference Wrestling Tournament, Bedford North Lawrence did not anticipate that a Childs shall lead them, but that's how it unfolded.

It wasn't a victory of biblical proportions, but freshman Patrell Childs' third-place finish at 106 pounds did lift the Stars up to two runs on the league ladder over 2021 with a sixth-place finish.

Floyd Central claimed the team championship with 278 points to edge defending champion Columbus East at 269.5 as the championship mat featured green-clad against orange-clad grapplers in virtually every bout.

Jeffersonville (224.5), Jennings County (118), New Albany (114), BNL (91) and Seymour (69.5) rounded out the field.

The Stars rose up from an eighth-place run last year (Madison is no longer in the conference, so it is now a seven-team tournament) on a day that could have been an utter disaster after two entries had to be quarantined, and even head coach Chris Branam had to miss the meet because of a non-Covid illness and the fact his wife is due to deliver a baby any time. Branam was able to see the match on BNL's livestream.

"The goal for us with every match is to get better and get smarter," said assistant coach Mike Branam, Chris' brother and the head coach of BNL's Unified track and flag football teams. "We're taking steps in the right direction and improving.

"I think these guys learned a lot today. This is the first big-match atmosphere for most our kids, so they learned what it's like and how to compete at this level. One big thing is they got to take a look at those guys on that first-place mat and see how hard they've trained, and the fact that those guys know they are supposed to be on that first-place mat.

"We just need to develop belief and confidence, and I think we gained on that some today."

Childs tops BNL's effort

Childs (15-8) drew a first-round bye, but suffered a heavy loss to eventual runner-up Dane Botkin of Seymour in the semifinals. That moved him into wrestlebacks, and he fought back with a pin of Columbus East's Dominic Baker in 2:23.

He was set for the 3rd/4th-place match when Jeffersonville's Sebastian Berry had to forfeit.

"Patrell is just a freshman, but he wrestled very aggressively today," Branam said. "He hustled to the center of the mat, never showed any weaknesses or fatigue, and just showed how much he wanted it. That's what you have to do in a match like this one."

BNL solid in other weight classes

The Stars also had three fourth-place finishes. Sophomore Jorj Filler (30-10) earned one of those at 120. He won by forfeit in the opening round, fell to Floyd Central's Vince Kessinger in the semis, but pinned Seymour's Rolando Baltazar in 4:45 in the wrestleback round. Filler then dropped a tough 4-2 decision to Jeffersonville's Dawson Slaughter in the 3rd/4th match.

Sophomore Gabe Nelson (24-12) got a 4th-place finish at 132. After falling the semis, he bounced back to pin Jennings County's Nic Cortes in 55 seconds, but suffered a 14-3 decision to Floyd Central's Kalyn Rice to settle for fourth.

BNL sophomore Jaxon Powell tries to gain leverage on Jennings County's John Troupe en route to a pin at 160 pounds Saturday during the HHC Tournament.
BNL sophomore Jaxon Powell tries to gain leverage on Jennings County's John Troupe en route to a pin at 160 pounds Saturday during the HHC Tournament.

Senior Gunner Connaughton finished fourth at 195. He lost to eventual champion Jaden Durnil in the semifinal before winning by forfeit in the wrestleback. Connaughton had a lead on Jennings County's Vincent Pittman in the third round, but gave up his position and suffered a pin at 4:20.

Freshman Junior Arellano (17-10) was fifth at 285, pinning New Albany's James Hoffman at 2:42 of the 5th/6th place match.

Junior Brax Huber (7-6) had a promising day with a fifth place at 138. He won his first-round match with a second-period pin of Jeffersonville's Nizaiah Carr, before falling in the semis. Huber answered with a thrilling 11-9 overtime win, landing a quick takedown in the extra minute, over Carr .

BNL junior Brax Huber locks in a hold on Jeffersonville's Nizaiah Carr at 138 pounds Saturday during the HHC Tournament at BNL Fieldhouse.
BNL junior Brax Huber locks in a hold on Jeffersonville's Nizaiah Carr at 138 pounds Saturday during the HHC Tournament at BNL Fieldhouse.

Sophomore Ethan Stancombe (15-7) finished sixth at 145, falling in a heartbreaker, 9-8, to New Albany's Manny Frederick in his last bout of the day.

"We had some disappointments, but we also had some very strong performances," Mike Branam said. "I'm really proud of them. As young as we are, I thought we competed very hard and I know we improved today.

"I think this will really get us ready for sectional, and I think you'll see just as many or more BNL wrestlers on the podium there."

BNL will host Columbus North Thursday on Senior Night.

Contact Times-Mail Sports Writer Jeff Bartlett at jeffb@tmnews.com, or on Twitter @jeffbtmnews.

This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: Bedford North Lawrence wrestling moves up two spots in conference tournament

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