Trail peaking heading into sectionals

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

February 11, 2014

Micheal Eyler is excited about the direction National Trail’s program is headed.

The Blazers finished regular season competition on a high note.

They swept three dual meets at Lehman Catholic High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, and finished 3rd at the Covington Duals on Saturday, Feb. 8.

“It’s been a pretty good two weeks for National Trail wrestling,” Eyler said.

At Lehman, Trial faced off against Lehman Catholic in its first match and won six of eight match ups to claim the win, 39-24.

Freshman Robert Nave picked up a second period pin at 120, as did 138 pound freshman Josh Cook. Sophomore Austin Moore, at 145 pounds, picked up another win, with a 7-1 decision. Freshman Max Shockney won with a second period pin at 152 and junior 170-pounder Zach Sullivan also picked up a pin in the second period. Junior Cody Hapner rounded us off with another pin in the second period at 195 pounds.

In the second round, Trail beat Arcanum 44-24.

Sophomore 132-pounder Tyler Browning picked up a win, as did freshman 160-pounder Trey Mann. Both Zach and Ben Sullivan pinned their opponents as well.

“For Zach, this was a big accomplishment; as it marked his 115th career win,” Eyler said. “For most wrestlers, surpassing 100 wins is an event that doesn’t come until their senior year. Zach, though has been an outstanding wrestler since day one and has worked hard to achieve his goals. It was a proud moment for he, his parents, and myself, to see him reach this level of competition. We’ve still got a few weeks left in the season, so that number is surely going higher.”

The win at Lehman was a first in Eyler’s tenure as the Blazers coach.

“This was also the first time since I’ve been the head coach that we’ve outright won a super dual, which is an achievement in itself. In the past, it’s been difficult to do well because we never had enough wrestlers to compete and would lose due to forfeits,” he said. “This year, though, we’ve been filling between ten and twelve weight classes and have become able to compete with teams that used to beat us regularly. Not only that, but with numbers and depth, the competition in the practice room has improved greatly. The boys are constantly pushing each other and vying for the top spot on the roster. I said a few years ago was to improve numbers and level of competition and we’ve certainly done that, but the team is never satisfied, they all want to push on to higher levels of competition. It’s been awesome watching them develop these goals and proceed to shatter them only weeks later.”

Trail closed out the regular season on high note at Covington.

“Last year, we placed last due to low numbers, but this year we finished third behind Miami East and Covington. We defeated Lehman Catholic 40-18, Twin Valley South 42-18, and Tri-County North 33-30,” Eyler said. “National Trail had never defeated Tri-County North in the entire history of its wrestling program, which really excited the team. North is a tough opponent and had beaten us earlier in the season, so it really capped off the end of our regular season. I’m sure there will be lots of good match-ups between the two of us in the future, and I look forward to it.”

Eyler is looking toward the postseason.

“As a whole, the team is looking ready for sectionals. Our plan this week is to make sure our wrestling is crisp and to stay healthy for the next few weekends. It was a great regular season for Trail, and the boys are ready to continue it. I’ve consistently said that I’m blessed in having such a disciplined team, and it’s paying off in dividends,” Eyler said. “The improvement we’ve shown since December is phenomenal and I can’t wait for the post season and beyond.”

The Blazers will compete in the sectional Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at Lehman.