ANDERSON — Wrestling is a team sport centered on individual results. For the team to reach a championship level requires each of its members to collectively earn high marks.
Saturday’s Madison County Tournament at Anderson High School features 95 wrestlers that make up eight teams, all with the same goals in mind — win an individual title and help capture the team championship.
Four teams — Anderson, Pendleton Heights, Frankton and Elwood — have full squads. Having the opportunity to compete for points in each of the 14 weight classes gives them an advantage over the remaining teams that will be forced to forfeit matches in any weight class they don’t have a competitor for.
As the area coaches gathered to seed the wrestlers and construct the brackets, three teams emerged as favorites in the numbers game.
“In the team race, I think Pendleton is the team to beat,” Frankton coach Courtney Duncan said. “They have huge numbers and a lot of good kids coming through the program.”
Each bracket consists of four seeded wrestlers and four that are placed based on a blind draw. Two-time defending champion Pendleton Heights leads the way with 12 of its 14 wrestlers achieving ranked status.
The Arabians return four of their seven individual champions from last year, but Tyler Flood, Wes Robinson and Spencer McCool will face new challenges as each jump two weight classes from last season’s championship run.
“The style of wrestling is different from one weight area to another,” Pendleton Heights coach Dave Cloud said. “The kids are going to have to adjust.”
Anderson is one back of the defending champs in the total number of ranked wrestlers, but the Indians are far ahead in the number of top-seeded participants with six.
The Indians also boast the largest number of undefeated wrestlers with four — Mike Fetters at 120 pounds, Zach Amos at 145, Bryant White at 195 and Rome Kayzer at 220.