Anxious and ready: Delta Eagles have their sights set on wrestling state championship glory

Delta wrestling poses Feb. 10 after winning the semi-state championship at the Allen County War Memorial Colliseum. Tilmon Clark, photo provided.
Delta wrestling poses Feb. 10 after winning the semi-state championship at the Allen County War Memorial Colliseum. Tilmon Clark, photo provided.

The Delta Eagles have nothing but championship aspirations as six of the school’s wrestlers will compete at the 86th annual IHSAA Wrestling State Championship on Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17.

Junior Ayden Bollinger, sophomore Kaid Jackson, senior Neal Mosier, freshman Jensen Boyd, senior Braxton Russell, and junior and Kaeb Stebbins will head to the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, in hopes of putting an emphatic exclamation point on a triumphant season for the Eagles. 

The Eagles have many accomplishments this season, bringing home a regional championship --the first since 1996 -- and winning the semi-state championship for the first time since 1991. 

One of the driving factors behind the Eagles’ success  has been head coach Cody LeCount, who took on the role as head coach in 2021. LeCount, who had his own success in his wrestling career as he won two IHSAA state championships and finished his career ranked eighth in the country, could not be happier to see the support for his team, especially from the alumni. 

“It’s cool to see a lot of [alumni] come back and message me, and I hear things from other people about alumni being proud of what’s going on,” LeCount stated. “I think it’s awesome to bring back what they did in the ‘80s and ‘90s and start to bring this program back to life.” 

Along with his accomplishments as a competitor, LeCount has racked up a few accolades early in his coaching career. Before taking on the role as head coach for the blue and gold, LeCount served as an assistant coach for Carmel High School, where he aided in winning three sectional and regional championships. LeCount credits his time there as what taught him to be able to run his own championship winning team, which is something that he has always dreamed of. 

"I want to coach a kid and win a state title. That was always my dream,” LeCount said. “I've always wanted to build a program or bring a program back, and I've been given a perfect opportunity here." 

The big message that LeCount has given to his wrestlers throughout the season to push a winning mindset while balancing the nerves and pressure that come with such high stake competition is the idea of being anxious, not nervous. 

"Being nervous means you're nervous, you're not ready. You're scared for competition or afraid something might go wrong or afraid of the outcome,” LeCount said. Being anxious is that same butterfly feeling in your stomach, but you're excited for the opportunity. You're ready to go compete.”

This is a message that has certainly resonated well with the six wrestlers competing at state as a majority of them talked about using their anxiousness to their advantage.  

Boyd is going into state using his anxiousness as confidence. As a freshman, Boyd is going into his first state championship. However he is no stranger to competing on a big stage. In his eighth grade year, Boyd, who is ranked No. 1 in Indiana in the 106 pound weight class, traveled to Columbia to compete in the Pan-Am World Championship, winning first place in freestyle and greco-roman. 

"I know I can compete with the best, so I'm going out there being confident," Boyd said. "I've worked hard for this opportunity and I'm ready."

For Russell and Jackson, going to state is a story of redemption. Jackson, who was knocked out in the first round at semi-state last year, has come back even better and is going into state with more motivation than ever. 

"It set a fire for me," Jackson stated. "I've definitely worked harder than I did last year and stayed healthy, and I'm competing harder." 

Russell plans to finish off his senior year with success at the state championship with this being his second year in a row being a qualifier. 

"I'm going into this year with a lot better conditioning and a lot better knowledge on what I'm doing, so that helps a lot,” Russell said. "I'm confident in myself and I'm just going out there and wrestling the best way I know how." 

Some other wrestlers that will compete at the state finals are Cowan seniors Jayden Jett, Levin Abbott, and sophomore Jackson Bradley. Yorktown senior Cole Stuffel will also take part in the event.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...