WASHINGTON — The hosts lived up to the event billing in the third annual Dubtown Throwdown at Five Points Washington.
The showcase for area wrestling was a throwdown showcase for Class 2A top-ranked Washington. The Panthers won 13 of the 14 matches Saturday — eight by pin, two via technical fall, two by major decision and a forfeit — to overwhelm Class 1A No. 12 Wilmington 72-4 on the auditorium stage of the recreation center.
“They were down a couple guys, but their kids still came out and competed hard and I think it was still a good, enjoyable event for everybody,” said Washington coach Nick Miller, whose team is now 16-1 in duals.
The night began with the traditional IHSA state tournament video — featuring a few state champion Panthers, followed by a performance from the Washington High drum line and a strong rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Phannie Ray.
Emcee Reggie Durcholz announced the starting lineups and the Washington wrestlers did the rest — with spotlighted wrestler introductions to walk-up music another traditional highlight.
Already ahead 9-4 after three matches, Washington took control with four consecutive first-round pins — starting with No. 2 ranked senior Blaize Punke’s stick in 1 minute, 58 seconds at 145.
“I feel we came into this dual very confident,” said Punke, who missed the event last year with a high ankle sprain. “It’s a great experience. To be honest, I like wrestling in it just as much as the state tournament. The atmosphere is just great.”
The crowd of approximately 500 was treated to the fastest pin of the night — in just 14 seconds — from No. 2-ranked Washington junior 160-pounder Jared Head. Other first-rounders came from top-ranked senior 152-pounder Dalton Jensen (1:34) and senior 170-pounder Hayden Jackson (1:30).
“Everybody on this stage wants the big pin, the thing that’s going to bring the people to their feet in the audience," Miller said, "but the big thing we talked to our guys before we started was to stay within yourself, don’t change because the atmosphere changes. We’ve been making improvements every week and you don’t want an event like this, an atmosphere like this, to change what we’ve been doing that’s going in the right direction.”
A 12-2 major decision from Garrett Rich at 182 was followed by pins from Gabe Robison (1:04 at 195), No. 2 ranked Jace Punke (3:32 over 1A No. 6 Josh Jones) and Dylan Cooper (50 seconds at 285).
Brody Norman (17-0) and No. 1 ranked 132-pound senior Tyler Delaware (17-2) each had technical fall wins. Zeke Hulet opened the night with a 14-2 major win at 126 and freshman Joey Cape (No. 3 at 113) ended the evening with a pin in 3:26 against 1A No. 2 Corbin Hunt at 120 in the Main Event.
“This is a great venue and a great experience for our kids to come here and wrestle,” said Wilmington coach Rob Murphy, who last week recorded his 500th career dual victory. “It gets you ready for being in the spotlight and being in big matches. Right now we’re a little bit young, and the difference was the physicalness of Washington. Give them credit. They are a very physical team and you can tell they are well coached and aggressive.”
Stan Morris can be reached at 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stanmorrispjs