By Emme Townsend
Walking into Delta’s gymnasium anyone can see the walls are covered in state championship banners. Take a closer look and you might notice the majority are through the wrestling program’s successful history. Team IHSAA state title banners from the years 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985 hang high.
Now a promising team of young talent with a bright young head coach is bringing new hope for a return to the glory days.
New wrestling head coach Cody LeCount has a history of wrestling himself. LeCount started wrestling at the age of five. He grew up watching the state finals and eventually wrestled in the state finals while a student at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis. In 2013 and 2014 LeCount won first-place state titles in the weight classes of 132 and 145.
He continued his wrestling career into college where he wrestled NCAA Division 1 at Central Michigan University, and then later transferred to Marian University. He came to Delta after serving as an assistant coach at Carmel High School, and now he’s trying to lead his young team to great achievements.
“They’re paying attention to a lot of the little details that we preach,” LeCount said.
Delta wrestling became sectional champions on January 29. Freshman Ayden Bollinger and sophomores Braxton Russell, Neal Mosier and Dalton Tuttle all took home sectional titles in their individual weight classes.
Out of thirteen varsity wrestlers, the team advanced eleven to regionals on Saturday, Feb. 5. At regional, the Eagles placed fourth as a team and advanced five to the semi-state round.
Bollinger, Mosier, Russell, sophomore Kolten Rhonemus and senior Dillon Tuttle all will compete at semi-state.
The wrestling team is made up of eight freshmen and eight sophomores, but only three juniors and one senior. A standout freshman is Bollinger.
He is wrestling 106 pounds on varsity as a freshman. His record currently is 31-3. He’s as new as Coach LeCount, considering he moved to Delta this year from Alexandria.
Bollinger says he’s still learning the ways of a new team and coach, but is grateful for the environment here at Delta.
“Delta is more of a team and we really focus on team bonding,” Bollinger said.
Russell has had a successful but late season after returning from a back injury during football season. Russell holds a record of 19-3 in the 170 pound weight class.
Mosier won first place in the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet. The sophomore, who wrestles at 120, has a record of 33-2 after finishing runner-up in regional.
Another sophomore, Rhonemus, suffered a midseason leg injury but has managed to advance to semi-state, also.
Although the team is young, it has a promising future considering the team environment Coach LeCount has developed.
“I’m grateful to have the connections and friendships I’ve made on this team,” Mosier said.
While most of the wrestlers are young and will be returning, Dillon Tuttle is the only senior on the boys’ team. Tuttle has a record of 31-4 heading into semi-state. The senior doesn’t think the lack of upperclassmen brings the team down in any way.
“Age doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is determination. Ayden Bollinger, he’s a freshman, he’s determined as much as I am,” Tuttle said.
Only in his first season at Delta, Lecount successfully helped the Eagles capture a sectional championship. With nearly the whole team returning for next season, Coach LeCount hopes the team grows from this season and will have the ability to bring the team state title back home to Delta.
“I told somebody a while back, for how young we are, we’re pretty mature as a team,” LeCount said.