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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Indiana wrestling takes third, crowned two individual champions at Chattanooga’s Southern Scuffle Tournament

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Indiana wrestling traveled to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s annual holiday tournament — the Southern Scuffle — on Monday and Tuesday. The Hoosiers secured a third-place finish, tying a program-best, while boasting two individual champions in graduate students No. 24 Dan Fongaro’s summary judgement in the 141 lbs weight class and No. 22 Graham Rook’s 149 lbs weight class hard fought win. This achievement marked the first time Indiana reached such heights at the Southern Scuffle since 2009.  

Fongaro continued his impressive season and improved his record to 15-1, finishing the tournament with a pin and a victory by technical superiority. In the championship match, Fongaro gained a tactical 6-4 victory over Stanford senior No. 27 Jason Miranda. Fongaro will likely climb higher in the rankings as the Hoosiers begin their Big Ten conference dual season beginning Jan. 12 against Rutgers.  

Rooks delivered a resilient performance after a couple of down weeks. He began the season ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation, but he dropped to No. 22 after a couple of losses. However, Rooks returned to form in Chattanooga, taking out two nationally ranked opponents — Chattanooga No. 27 junior Noah Castillo in sudden victory and Appalachian State University No. 32 redshirt-senior Cody Bond by decision. Rooks’ title is the second of the season after opening with an individual title at the Battle of the Citadel.  

Roman Rogotzke, the redshirt senior in the 184 lbs. weight class impressed with a 10-2 major decision and a comeback pin in the third-place bout. Despite a setback in the semifinal, Rogotzke showed toughness in his third-place performance. 

Notably, Hoosier redshirt freshman Blaine Frazier knocked off United States Military Academy at West Point No. 31 sophomore Ethan Berginc in the Round of 16 by a decision of 8-5. Frazier’s win over Berginc marked his first ranked victory of his career, propelling him to a sixth-place finish after rattling off a couple of victories in the consolation bracket. After Frazier’s impressive performance the coaching staff is facing a tough line-up decision on whether to put Frazier in for the upcoming Big Ten duals or their typical starter redshirt senior Michael Spangler who went 2-2 over the two days.  

In addition to Frazier, redshirt senior No. 10 DJ Washington defeated University of Oklahoma No. 30 junior Tate Picklo in the semifinals in a 12-5 decision. Unfortunately, Washington sustained an injury during the match and had to medically forfeit out of the finals, finishing runner-up. Prior to the injury Washington looked as sharp as he has all season, dispatching his first three opponents by bonus points and the latter two by fall.  

Injuries continued to plague the Hoosiers at the Southern Scuffle as redshirt freshman Tyler Lillard sustained a knee injury in the consolation semifinals after the University of Northern Colorado’s redshirt junior Baylor Fernandez was called for unnecessary roughness. Fernandez was disqualified from the match while Lillard moved on to the third-place bout but couldn't compete due to his injury sustained in the prior match. Notably, this is not the first time Fernandez has been disqualified for unnecessary roughness, and many in the wrestling community have called on Northern Colorado and the NCAA to address his behavior.  

Indiana's remarkable performance at the Southern Scuffle sets a promising tone for the rest of the season. The Hoosiers will kick off the Big Ten dual season against Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12 inside Jersey Mike’s Arena.

Follow reporter Aidan Pollitt (@pollitt_52) for updates throughout the Indiana wrestling season.

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