Harvard wins 26th wrestling regional in 27 years

HARVARD – Harvard's Chance Shelton experienced a new feeling this week.

Bumping up to 132 pounds from 126 for the Class 1A Harvard Regional, Shelton claimed one of the Hornets' eight individual championships on the day.

"I don't have to worry about [losing weight] all week," Shelton said. "I feel more comfortable. I feel stronger, a lot better conditioned."

Shelton earned a pin in 1:55 in the 132-pound championship, his fourth regional title, to improve to 34-9 this season.

The Hornets won their 26th regional title in the past 27 years, scoring 238.5 points to easily defeat Aurora Central Catholic (102.5). All 14 wrestlers qualified for the Oregon Sectional for the Hornets, who had all but one wrestler going for first place in the finals.

Alden-Hebron (39 points) finished seventh with three wrestlers qualifying for sectionals.

"Week by week, we've come so far just putting a string of weeks together," Harvard coach Tim Haak said. "And we're going to have to do that again this week."

Anthony Luis (106 pounds), Irvin Pena (120), Christian Kramer (138), Isaiah Rudd (145), Travis Heck (152), Zack Martin (195) and Adam Freimund (285) took first for the Hornets.

Freimund improved to 38-4 with a 2-0 win in the championship. The junior said his goal is to qualify for state, and Freimund's last loss was a 3-1 overtime loss to Illinoismatmen.com's top-ranked Josh Wallick of Gibson City at a tournament the first week in January.

For Freimund, the difference between this season and last season is huge.

"The coaches help you get to the next step," Freimund said. "You start at a very low level as a freshman, and the coaches here keep improving you and keep improving you."

Martin got a pin in 1:24 in his championship match. Haak said Martin, a freshman, has made huge strides this season, especially being in a heavier weight class.

"Part of it is learning to compete hard," Haak said. "Going from junior high, it's a big difference."

Up one in the final period, Heck nearly gave up back points but was able to arch his back completely off the mat and hold on for the win.

Rudd and Kramer won back-to-back major decisions in their championship matches for the Hornets.

Christian Popoca won a 2-0 decision in the third-place match at 220 to ensure the Hornets qualified all 14 wrestlers.

Justin Gricar claimed the lone championship for Alden-Hebron. With the 126-pound final tied, 3-3, Gricar scored a takedown on Harvard's Johnny Peterson with 14 seconds left for a 5-3 win.

Colten Cashmore took second at 132 for Alden-Hebron, with Donald Johnson winning a 14-7 decision for third place at 160.

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