Pelion’s fledgling wrestling program had perhaps the best showing in its brief history last weekend at the Cardinal Newman Christmas Classic tournament.
The Panthers of coach Mike Griffin had a strong third-place finish behind champion Gilbert and host Cardinal Newman, ringing up 156 team points. In all, seven Pelion entries place during the one-day event.
At the top of the list was Troy Israel, who went 3-0 to win the 145-pound championship. Israel defeated CN’s Chris Palevich in the title bout.
Otherwise, heavyweight Ray Middlesmith claimed the runner-up prize, Jacob Huggins (119), Alex Koon (140) amd Mitch Boyette (215) all had third-place finishes and John Patterson (152) and Chris Settle (160) placed fourth.
Middlesmith finished with a 3-1 tournament record, losing to Leon Watts of archrival Gilbert in the finale. Huggins and Koon both went 4-1 on the way to consolation titles, rebounding from quarterfinal setbacks in the wake of first-round wins. Boyette checked out at 3-1. Patterson and Settle both finished with 3-2 tourney marks.
Prior to the Saturday event, Pelion pushed Gilbert to the limit before dropped a 38-36 dual-match decision to the Indians.