Evan Wulfekuhle claimed first place at 182 pounds to lead his Blazers to a fifth-place team finish at the WaMaC Conference Tournament at West Delaware, Feb. 1.

Wulfekuhle (33-1) knocked off third-ranked Jack Niehaus, of West Delaware, with a 3-0 decision in the final round to claim his title. He began the day with a bye, then took out Clark Younggreen, of Mount Vernon (3:03), and Benton Community’s Austin Roos (2:42) to reach the finals.

“Evan competed with the mentality that he was determined to make a statement here in the WaMaC,” said coach Cody Ortman. “He set a pretty loud tone by pinning Roos in the semis, then blew the roof off the venue wrestling a very controlled match with Neihaus. Evan is definitely peaking at the right time and heading to the post-season with all the momentum in the world behind him.”

Nick Schmidt claimed third at 106. “Nick widened the gap on the Independence kid twice today in the second round and the third place match. He is becoming a solid competitor showing how savvy he is in his matches. He’s focused on what he needs to do to score points,” Ortman said.

Claiming fourth was Conner Grover at 152 and fifths went to Mason Recker at 145 and Bennett English at 285. Sixths went to Danil Wall at 120, Nick Hageman at 138 and Nick Wulfekuhle at 160, while Ty Fangman took seventh at 170 as did Levi Feldman at 126. Alex Hageman was eighth at 113.

“This was a great day of wrestling for us,” glowed Ortman. “We saw some tough competition that made us wrestle hard and earn everything we got. Just in today’s meet our team jumped another level.

“Ty got the redemption match with Mount Vernon in the seventh place match. In the first round he got beat and stayed mentally strong and learned where his shortcomings were and broke the kid with his attacks on the feet. Though I like how tenacious we were collectively on our feet, we need to hustle through the finish. Today we missed scoring opportunities on takedowns because of that.

“We’re getting better at the bottom but we need to start competing for the first move. When you’re wrestling high level competition in a close match, you can’t give the other guy the advantage of a first move to see what he is going to do. Overall I like where our kids are at right now. We had a lot of matches that, if we got the first takedown or got the escape on the bottom, we should have had a lot more victories against the contenders we saw today.

“We feel pretty good about where we are as a team but there’s more work to do so we can be a more improved team for next Saturday (sectionals).”