By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald Writer

CAREY - The Ada wrestling team split a pair of matches at Carey Friday evening, running their dual record to 5-2 this season.

Ada beat Cory Rawson 42-21 to take the first match, then fell to host Carey 44-27.

"We wrestled pretty well against Rawson this time around," said coach Branden Nickles. "We won by a few more points than we did at the C-R Duals the first week of the season.

"Tyler Rockhill had a nice win, coming back to beat Miller after losing to him earlier this year, and being down 4-0 at the time of scoring the pin."

Bulldog junior Austin Windle suffered his first lost of the season to Dylen Hartman of Cory Rawson by a score of 6-4.

"We don't make excuses when we lose," said Nickles. "Hartman was better than we were. I think we all understand the importance of being prepared and showing up when it counts, and tonight has made sure that we know what our focus needs to be with Austin and how to help him improve.

"We bumped up for this reason and I know Austin is looking forward to another opportunity to wrestle Dylen; it only makes both guys better."

Against Carey, Ada gave up 24 points in forfeits and that was too big a deficit to come back from.

"We were 6-4 head-to-head against Carey. Considering the last two years we've scored a combined total I believe of 10 points before against I'm pretty happy with how we came out against them.

"Tommy Dotson had to have an appendectomy a couple weeks ago, so to even give us a chance to compete we bumped everyone up a weight class," Nickles explained. "Hunter Allen stepped in to wrestle at 182, Beach moved to 195, Woodland to 220, and Brady Pitney put down about a gallon of water on Friday to make the minimum weight of 210 so he could bump up to the 285 weight class.

"The move worked out well for us," he continued. "Hunter came up short in his match but didn't get pinned, so it was a lot better than giving up a forfeit. All the other varsity guys came through with big wins to keep the match relatively close."

Rockhill, Dylan Hannah, Beach, Woodland and Pitney each went 2-0 on the night.

"I'm pretty happy with the way our season has unfolded so far," said Nickles. "We have now equaled our team's TOTAL dual wins (five) in two years, so we have a lot to be proud of this season. We also have the state duals coming up next month, and with our record and the way we have wrestled, we should be able to move up the seeding list a little.

"We plan on entering the tournament with a chance to advance a couple of rounds," he went on. "With Lakota being cancelled (Dec. 14), it gave us a lot of time off and that hasn't been the best situation for us. We have a lot of momentum and sitting at home is not how we want to use it. "

Nickles scoured the schedules and was able to secure Ada a berth in a big, prestigious tournament after Christmas.

"I was able to search around and found us a replacement tournament at Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City," he said. "December 28 we are going to be challenged as hard as we ever have been.

"It's a great 16-team tournament that has teams from different divisions and areas of the state that we have not wrestled before. It will be a great opportunity to see how far along we really are compared to years past. The upperclassmen have asked to be challenged the next couple of years, and this is a great step in the right direction as far as scheduling goes to begin the push for a state tournament berth."

After Tippecanoe Dec. 28, Ada wrestles at the Lima Senior Spartan Invitational January 11.