Indians preview season at Harvest Classic

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Romel Spight (12) cradles his competitor before pinning him. Spight placed 5th in the 170-pound weight class at the 35th Annual Harvest Classic.

Maddie Hirschfield

Wrestlers and spectators from high schools across Indiana and Illinois poured into the competition gym in the morning on Saturday, Dec. 5, for a long day of wrestling. The varsity wrestling team hosted the 35th Annual Bob Emerick Harvest Classic, which foreshadowed a promising 2015-16 season.

“The Harvest Classic is a decently-sized tournament consisting of 16 teams. It is the first tournament of the season for most of the teams competing, so it’s important to start off strong and get everyone moving in the right direction for the year. The benefit of having schools from across the state and Illinois is being able to compete against new competition. This allows our team to wrestle new opponents and potentially better competition,” Jacob Kleimola (12) said.

After losing some key team members to graduation, the team had to develop new leaders and frontrunners when beginning the season. However, one state qualifier did return and has continued to assume a leadership position on the team.

“This year, I am the team’s captain. However, all the upperclassmen have the expectation to set standards for the rest of the team, which is crucial for our success,” Kleimola said.

The Indians took 7th out of 16 teams with 115 points. The varsity team also had several place winners at the competitive tournament. Tristan Pintor (12) placed 5th in the 138-pound weight class, Romel Spight (12) placed 5th in the 170-pound weight class, Russell Gibbs (12) placed 3rd in the 182-pound weight class, Kleimola placed 1st in the 195-pound weight class, Joseph Szydlo (11) placed 5th in the 220-pound weight class and Brett Brown (11) placed 5th in the 285-pound weight class.
“I think wrestling [at] 195 [pounds] last year really did help me, even though I was giving up close to 20 pounds. It prepared me to wrestle my [in] my own weight class. I did a freestyle tournament over the summer with my team [to improve for this season]. It kept me in shape, so when [this] season came around, I wasn’t in a horrible condition going in. My main goal this season is to be a state qualifier and [for] my name [to be] remembered in the new Lake Central wrestling room,” Gibbs said.