FORT WAYNE – Adams Central proved something against some of the state’s top smaller wrestling programs last month and is out to ascend to the top against the big boys of the ACAC.
The Jets will wrestle for the conference tournament title Saturday at South Adams after winning the inaugural/unofficial Class A state championship in December in the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Dual Meet Championships at Westfield near Indianapolis.
The tournament at Westfield involved 24 teams in three classes, 3A, 2A and A, and was essentially in response to the IHSAA’s dropping of the official dual team state tournament this season.
It was a new thing, and we were kind of curious of how it would go and how legitimate it would be, Adams Central senior 182-pounder Benjamin Pfister said. The thing we loved the most about it was being a 1A school we finally got to prove what we can do and how good we are in our respective class. We knew we were the best 1A school out there, but we could never beat schools our size let alone five times our size. It was nice to get the opportunity to go there and show what we had.
The Jets beat Churubusco 46-23 in the dual meet title match.
It breathed some more life and more interest into our wrestling program, Adams Central coach Doug Schultz said. There are more kids excited about it and wanting to be a part of it.
We have always had a sound wrestling program, but we have always been situated with Bellmont, no matter what the IHSAA seemed to do with their tournament. Year in and year out, we struggled to beat them. We got a chance to showcase ourselves in the single-class dual tournament.
Adams Central also beat South Putnam 49-24 and Prairie Heights 61-13 at Westfield.
That gave some of the smaller schools a chance to win a little bit, Adams Central senior 126-pounder Cody Walburn said. It was a cool experience. It was in a field house that is bigger than our school. Our team went out there and performed really well.
The Jets also picked up a win against the rival Braves this season.
It has motivated us to do better as a team, Walburn said. We beat Bellmont and won that tournament, so we have done pretty well this year.
Adams Central’s success at the dual tournament gives the team confidence heading into the ACAC tournament. But it will be a challenge for the Jets, who will have to get past Leo for the title after the Lions won in a dual match against the Jets in the conference opener 34-32.
Absolutely it is a confidence-builder, Schultz said of winning the Class A tournament. You never get the same wins from the same place in every single dual because of the matchups. This team is great at getting across-the-board effort and picking up wins where they can get them and getting points where they can, and that’s what makes them a good dual team.
Although the ACAC tournament isn’t set up like the dual tournament at Westfield, with individuals earning the team points by their places in the weight classes, winning a title is still the ultimate goal for the defending conference champion Jets.
Coming into the conference tournament, we really want to prove to the rest of the conference that we have the ability to win it, Pfister said. We think we are able to after we won the class tournament. It is all about starting a legacy and making winning that tournament a tradition for classes to come.