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Blue Ring Mentality
Bri Rainey
Friday, February 08, 2019

         The Warren Central wrestling team has had a strong season that showcased a variety of faces, new and old. As the team came closer to individual state, each wrestler pushed towards improvement for both their team and themselves.

         All of the hard work that the team put in throughout the season paid off during individual sectionals, when all of the wrestlers who competed in the event placed high enough to move onto the next round of the state tournament. On Saturday Dec. 26, Warren Central wrestlers claimed the program’s 34th Sectional Championship, defeating tough opponents including Scecina Memorial, Franklin Central and New Palestine High School. The Warriors won the event with a score of 322, 155 points higher than Franklin Central, who finished second place.

         “It’s a great accomplishment and I’m very proud of the boys,” head coach Jim Tonte said. “But our work has just begun with a tough road ahead of us these next two weeks.”

         Some of the wrestlers who earned a sectional championship were junior Damon McClain (170 pounds), senior Aaron Taylor (160 pounds), senior Antwaun Graves (145 pounds) and sophomore Carlton Perry (106 pounds). Perry won his first round match after pinning his opponent from Scecina, allowing for Perry’s teammates, sophomore David Pierson (113 pounds), senior Christopher Stewart (120 pounds) and Jeivan Rose (126 pounds), to also win by pins.

         “I was happy that [all of the hard work] paid off in the end,” Perry said. “I’m just focused on getting past these next few weeks to hopefully get my blue ring from winning state.”

         The wrestlers put in hard work every day at practice and set the expectations that there is no room for the easy way. At practices, the expectations are high to push each wrestler to achieve their highest potential and bring them close together for support. These expectations paid off when the Warriors took home ten out of fourteen individual sectional titles. The following week all fourteen wrestlers advance to regionals and semi state competition in the tournament.

         “All of our hard work is definitely starting to show,” Taylor said. “We’re really starting to peak right now. We’ve been training for this moment since we got second at Team State and it’s been motivating us for this tournament.”

         So far this season, the Warriors have become Sectional champions and Marion County champions, beating second place finishers Roncalli by over 50 points. Adding a state championship title is the next goal they hope to achieve this season.

         “It’s a great accomplishment and I’m very proud of the boys,” head coach Jim Tonte said. “But our work has just begun with a tough road ahead of us these next two weeks.”

         Each wrestler is pushing towards being able to compete for a state championship. In the past few seasons, there has been tremendous growth in this part of their season and is expecting to be able to have multiple individuals compete in the state finals.

         “That’s just who we are as athletes,” Graves said. “We have a blue ring mentality.”