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  1. 2017 New Castle Semi-State Preview

    106

    Six state-ranked competitors will do battle in the opening weight, including #2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The other ranked wrestler is Al Smith champ, #12 Gabe Smith of Lawrence Central. Smith will have to find a way to get past #5 Brayden Lowery of PM to punch his ticket. Perhaps even nastier is the bottom portion of the bracket, where #6 Logan Bailey of Cathedral and #2 Seth Johnson of North Montgomery should meet in the ticket round. #3 Brendan Mattingly of Carmel and #4 Andrew Black of Shenandoah have slightly less brutal potential paths to the state finals. This is one of the most loaded weights at New Castle. Legitimately, 5 or 6 different wrestlers could stand atop the podium at the end of the day.

    Last year's champ: Keyuan Murphy, Warren Central

    Potential matchups:
    #5 Lowery vs. #12 Smith (Ticket round) – A couple of stud freshmen should vie for state advancement. Lowery beat Smith comfortably earlier in the year.
    #4 Black vs. Josh Vaughn, Franklin Central(Ticket round) – Black is clearly one of the favorites at this weight, but he still must get by a tough senior and returning semistate qualifier.
    #2 Johnson vs. #6 Bailey (Ticket round) – This could be one of the early matches of the day, as Johnson was unbeaten until regionals and the baby-faced assassin Bailey is peaking and looking better and better each week.
    #3 Mattingly/ #5 Lowery vs. #4 Black/ #2 Johnson/ #6 Bailey (Finals) – There are several combinations of these 5 who could wind up competing for the coveted #1 seed at state. Quite obviously, the semifinals and 3rd place match will be huge for the individuals and a handful of teams.

    1st round picks:
    Mattingly over Slivka
    Hadley over Lonneman
    Lowery over Luhmann
    Smith over Lee
    Black over Harshbarger
    Vaughn over Eldred
    Bailey over Vredeveld
    Johnson over Stewart

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Mattingly, Bailey, Lowery, Black

    The Alpha Dog:
    Brendan Mattingly

    113

    Five more state-ranked athletes will lace 'em up at 113. Despite the big loss of #5 Sammy Fair, this is still a very tough and deep weight. #3 Skylour Turner of Warren Central--3X state placer, #2 Alec Viduya of Roncalli--0 losses to anyone he will face going forward, and #7 Gavin Rose of Greenfield-Central--returning state qualifier, are joined by tough seniors #13 Nick Brady of Noblesville and #16 Kody Conaway of Beech Grove. Viduya appears to be improving as the season progresses, and has to be considered the favorite.

    Last year's champ: Alec White, New Palestine

    Feature matchups:

    #13 Brady vs. #3 Turner (Ticket round) – Assuming Turner gets by 3X semistate qualifier Reid Hutson of Westfield, he should face a big, strong 113 lber who has been nearly flawless in the postseason thus far. While it's hard to bet against the Millers senior, it's even harder to bet against Turner booking another weekend date at Banker's Life.
    Kyle Holman, Carmel vs. #16 Conaway (Opening round) – Holman initially looked to face #7 Rose, and then Pike freshman KeShon Edmunds, and finally wound up with a ranked senior in Conaway. The winner of this match should be in the driver's seat in the ticket round.
    #7 Rose vs. #3 Turner (Semifinal round) – These two faced off in the 3rd place match of regionals, with the senior Turner winning a squeaker 4-3.

    1st round picks:
    Owens over Williams
    Rose over Surber
    Brady over Condo
    Turner over Hutson
    Viduya over Moseley
    Seymour over Sollars
    Holman over Conaway
    Oliver over Joya

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Viduya, Turner, Rose, Holman

    The Alpha Dog:
    Alec Viduya

    120

    One of the most wide open weights of the day features 4 ranked wrestlers. Only #13 Lukasz Walendzak has advanced beyond semistate among this group. #12 Sunny Nier of Perry Meridian is a hungry senior and returning ticket-rounder. Regional champ #15 Carter Noehre of Greenfield-Central has had an outstanding season and has a convincing win over likely ticket round opponent Reid Seymour of Chatard. #18 Tyce Freije is another nasty Roncalli freshman, and looks to join Viduya at BLF.

    Last year's champ: Dylan Culp, Warren Central

    Feature matchups:

    #13 Walendzak vs. #12 Nier (Ticket round) – This is just one of those unfortunate matches that we see at each semistate every year. Nier majored Walendzak earlier this season. Walendzak's teammate Slivka edged Nier in the ticket round last year. Will Irish eyes be smiling at 120? Or will the Falcon reach the crest in the form of a state advancement? Tune in.

    #15 Noehre / Dominic Pecoraro, Carmel vs. #18 Frieje / #13 Walendzak / #12 Nier (Semifinals, Finals)– There isn't a lot of consensus regarding a favorite at this weight, and any of these 5 could be competing in the finals.

    1st round picks:
    Noehre over Boggs
    Seymour over Hall
    Ragle over Wilkerson
    Pecoraro over Pettiford
    Greene over Vaughn
    Freije over Walsh
    Walendzak over Forbes
    Nier over Taylor

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Noehre, Freije, Walendzak, Pecoraro

    The Alpha Dog:
    Carter Noehre

    126

    Five ranked athletes grace this weight class, including 2X state placer and 3X qualifier #5 Alec White of New Palestine, the defending semistate champion at 113. Right behind him is #6 Jordan Slivka of Cathedral, 3rd place state finisher last season and runner-up in OT to White at semistate last year. #9 Adam Jerde of Carmel has been close to breaking through, but this is his last and best shot. #17 Dylan Culp of Warren Central is a returning state placer and semistate champ, but will have to get by Slivka for a chance at returning to BLF. Lastly, #13 Dallas Pugsley of Shenandoah has had an outstanding season and comes into New Castle with a regional crown. Pugsley was a ticket-rounder last year and should have a date with former state qualifier Alexander Strueder of Fishers in the ticket round.

    Last year's champ: Breyden Bailey, Cathedral

    Feature matchups:

    #6 Slivka vs. #17 Culp (Ticket round) – Two returning state placewinners should meet in the ticket round. Culp really put it all together at semistate last year, besting another state placer in Ethan Smiley in the championship match. He will need to do it again this year to get past the tough Irish sophomore, and he appears to be heating up, as he took White to OT at regionals. First things first for Culp--he has to get by returning ticket rounder Garrett Walton of South Dearborn.

    #13 Pugsley vs. Alexander Strueder (Ticket round) – Strueder very nearly made a return trip to The Fieldhouse last year, losing in UTB to Gavin Rose in the ticket round. He'll have his work cut out for him again this year, as Pugsley has a number of big wins this season.

    #6 Slivka vs. #5 White (Finals) – This could be a repeat of last year's 113 championship, won by the Purdue recruit White in OT. If they each navigate the minefield in front of them to meet again, look for a tight match that could go either way.

    1st round picks:
    Slivka over Garcia
    Culp over Walton
    Jerde over Miles
    McMillan over Negangard
    Pugsley over Evans
    Strueder over Long
    White over Deal
    Harrington over Gobeyn

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    White, Slivka, Jerde, Pugsley

    The Alpha Dog:
    Alec White

    132

    132 is a deep weight class, led by 6 ranked wrestlers including Cathedral's #2 Breyden Bailey (#12 nationally, 3X state 3rd place finisher). Returning state placer #5 Ethan Smiley of Beech Grove and former state qualifier and semistate champion #9 Cainan Schaefer of South Dearborn bring unbeaten records into this weekend. #10 Zak Bowling of Lebanon won a solid regional last week and seeks to finish his HS career with a bang. #14 Jack Servies of Perry Meridian is one of many Falcons with a great shot to advance to state. Servies was denied in the ticket round last year by Bailey, by a mere 3-0 decision. #15 Hayden Lohrey of Shenandoah is yet another returning state qualifier, but he has the misfortune of drawing Bailey in the ticket round. Last year's 132 competition featured All-World Chad Red, Jr. winning another semistate title, but perhaps more importantly, DJ Brookbank of Perry Meridian caught fire and upset Zach Melloh in the ticket round. Could that be an omen of upsets to come this year at 132?

    Last year's champ: Chad Red, Jr., New Palestine

    Feature matchups:

    #5 Smiley vs. Azariah Ellis, Zionsville / Elijah Phillips, Centerville (Ticket round) – While Smiley is a strong favorite to advance, he gets an experienced, long and crafty Dheontae Unseld of LN in his opening match. Should he win that match, either a tough senior in Ellis or a returning semistate qualifier in Phillips awaits.

    #10 Bowling/ Stevie Browning, Franklin County vs. Chris Loy, Hamilton Heights/ #14 Servies, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Bowling has had a very strong season and enters the fray as a regional champion. Bowling beat Loy in the opening round of semistate last year before dropping a ticket match to state place Joel McGhee of Warren Central by 8-4 decision. Browning was also a ticket rounder, pinning LC's Jesus Mancera before losing to Red. Loy and Servies could provide fireworks, with Servies coming in hot, losing to Smiley by a razor thin margin in OT at regionals. Bowling and Servies is likely a 50/50 match.

    1st round picks:
    Bailey over Hiatt
    Lohrey over Douglass
    Smiley over Unseld
    Ellis over Phillips
    Bowling over Browning
    Servies over Loy
    Schaefer over Tunstill
    Wright over Avey

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Bailey, Schaefer, Smiley, Bowling

    The Alpha Dog:
    Breyden Bailey

    138

    Another 6 ranked athletes populate another tough bracket. Leading the charge is former 4th place state finisher #2 Zach Melloh of Cathedral. The tough Irish junior has wins this year over a relative who's who at 138. #6 Riley White also has some very impressive wins this season and has a very solid shot at advancing to state this year. #10 Brooks Davis of Perry Meridian also has some nice wins, and has been competitive with some of the best in the state at 138. #13 Kody Wagner of Zionsville was a semistate qualifier last year and is part of an impressive group of Eagles grapplers competing this weekend. #17 Jesus Mancera of Lawrence Central is as battle-tested as they come and is capable of surprising this weekend. Rounding out the ranked wrestlers is #18 Bailey Moore, Connersville champion this year and ticket rounder last year. While Melloh is a fairly prohibitive favorite, the battle for positions 2-4 should be ferocious and possibly unexpected.

    Last year's champ: Evan Eldred, Westfield

    Feature matchups:

    #13 Wagner vs. #10 Davis (Ticket round) – Wagner's reward for winning his regional is a ticket round match with Davis. Zionsville wrestles a very tough schedule, but it's unlikely that any team in central Indiana has had a more difficult schedule than Perry. Davis is the slight favorite, but Wagners at Zionsville have had a lot of success in past postseasons.
    #18 Moore vs. #17 Mancera (Ticket round) – Mancera owns a win over Moore this season, but this one is anyone's match. The winner has a solid shot at a 2 seed at state.
    Ryan Surguy, Shenandoah vs. #6 White (Ticket round) – While White is a solid favorite on paper, Surguy is a strong sleeper pick at this weight and in this potential match. The Shenandoah senior is a returning semistate qualifier, and White is a returning ticket rounder.

    1st round picks:
    Wagner over Gardfrey
    Davis over Redd
    Melloh over Lowe
    Humbert over Noehre
    Moore over Otto
    Mancera over Estes
    Surguy over Keener
    White over Ball

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Melloh, Surguy, Wagner, Mancera

    The Alpha Dog:
    Zach Melloh

    145

    This is another relatively wide open weight class, lacking a consensus favorite. #4 Clayton Cowan of Hamilton Heights, a returning state qualifier, faces a particularly nasty potential ticket match. Waiting for him is #9 Kain Rust of Perry Meridian, a semistate qualifier last year. Rust has had a particularly impressive senior campaign thus far, with numerous wins against 'name' opponents. #13 Antwaun Graves of Warren Central beat Rust in the regional finals, avenging an earlier loss to the Falcons' 145. He's a sly pick to win this weight. Rounding out the ranked competitors is returning state qualifier and undefeated regional champion #15 Boone Welliever of Southmont.

    Last year's champ: Jordan Vaughn, Franklin Central

    Feature matchups:

    Mike Humbert, Franklin County vs. Darian Padgett, North Central / Beau Wilbrandt, Fishers (Ticket round) – Humbert, a returning semistate qualifier, could have his hands full with Chad Rothwell of Southport, a semistate qualifier last year at 160!, in his opening round match. If he gets by Rothwell, the winner of Wilbrandt and Padgett awaits. Both are seniors with 10 losses, but each is dangerous and capable of advancing. Wilbrandt is also a returning semistate qualifier.

    #4 Cowan vs. #9 Rust (Ticket round) – Certainly one of the rougher ticket matches of the day, each senior will be ready to brawl when the whistle blows. This could be one of the best matches of the day and could greatly impact the team race.

    #13 Graves vs. #4 Cowan / #9 Rust or #15 Welliever (Finals) – While Graves appears to have a slightly less treacherous path to the finals, the survivor of Cowan/Rust/Welliever may be pretty tired upon reaching the finals. This is a hard one to handicap.

    1st round picks:
    Humbert over Rothwell
    Padgett over Wilbrandt
    Graves over Wills
    Rodgers over Sauder
    Cowan over Williamson
    Rust over Roth
    Welliever over Lane
    Gosnell over Fletcher

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Welliever, Graves, Rust, Padgett

    The Alpha Dog:
    Boone Welliever, Southmont

    152

    Returning 7th place state finisher #2 Noah Warren of Perry Meridian leads a solid group at 152. #7 Jack Eiteljorge of Carmel is a returning ticket rounder and has just one loss all season, to 160 lb Gleason Mappes of Center Grove. He can go with the big boys. #11 Andrew Negangard of East Central was a ticket rounder last year as well. This year, he's a one-loss senior with a favorable draw. #18 Cody Klettheimer of Frankton and #19 Tucker Coffman of Union County meet in one of the roughest opening round matches of the day. The winner likely faces Eiteljorge. There are no free lunches at semistate, unless you're allowed in the hospitality room. Last year, regional runner-up Trent Pruitt parlayed a hot day at semistate into a state title the following weekend.

    Last year's champ: Trent Pruitt, Warren Central

    Feature matchups:

    #18 Klettheimer vs. #19 Coffman (Opening round) – Each is a returning semistate qualifier and precocious sophomore. As mentioned earlier, the winner must get through Eiteljorge to advance.
    #11 Negangard vs. Walter Ballinger, Beech Grove (Ticket round) – Negangard comes in as a solid favorite, but Ballinger won't be a pushover. Negangard must also get by senior Alex Johnson of Pendleton Heights to advance to a potential match with the game senior Ballinger.
    David Kitko, Noblesville vs. Sam Gobeyn, Zionsville (Ticket round) – While the win/loss record of each wrestler doesn't jump off the page, the reality is that one of the two will likely advance to BLF. Kitko, like many Noblesville wrestlers under Coach Knotts, is formidable with Greco throws. Gobeyn, like his fellow Eagles, has been through the gauntlet all season.
    #7 Eiteljorge vs. #2 Warren (Semifinals round) – Both should punch a golden ticket, but each has designs on a top seed at state, which means this match takes on extreme importance individually, as well as for the team race. Warren is the favorite, but Coaches Pendowski and Geter will have a solid gameplan at the ready for Eye-tul-hor-hay.
    #2 Warren / #7 Eiteljorge vs. #11 Negangard (Finals) – Each member of this trio is capable of a tough run at Banker's Life. Warren is the favorite, but Negangard could be a fly in the Perry ointment.

    1st round picks:
    Warren over Bischoff
    Despain over Hines
    Eiteljorge over Rebein
    Coffman over Klettheimer
    Negangard over Johnson
    Ballinger over Wagner
    Kitko over Webster
    Gobeyn over Smith

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Warren, Negangard, Eiteljorge, Gobeyn

    The Alpha Dog:
    Noah Warren

    160

    This stacked weight is led by 2X state placer #2 Alston Bane of Richmond, an undefeated senior. However, he's far from alone at the top, as #3 Laine Frazee of Fountain Central, an 8th place finisher last year, #4 Christian Warren of Perry, another undefeated senior, and #9 Dru Berkebile of Frankton, a 2X state qualifier and former 5th place state finisher, lead the field. #19 Elijah Mahan of Roncalli is one of three sophomores in the bracket, and has been impressive all season long. Expect a tight match between Mahan and Bane if Mahan can get by the gritty Sam Hauke of North Central in his opening match. There are 4 grapplers here with a legit shot at the strap on Saturday.

    Last year's champ: Noah Warren, Perry Meridian

    Feature matchups:

    #4 Warren vs. #3 Frazee (Ticket round) – Just brutal. Frazee was upset by Westfield's Justin Miller in UTB at regionals, which led to this draw of death. Warren has done nothing but win in this, his final season. Frazee's only loss at semistate last year was a one point decision to Bane. This is essentially a pick 'em, and the winner is fully capable of winning the weight.

    #9 Berkebile vs. Justin Miller, Westfield (Ticket round) – Ignore Miller's record, as he has shown throughout his career that he has the ability to elevate his game when necessary. Berkebile is a proven commodity, but he could have his hands full with Miller, who is solid in all aspects and positions. Berkebile had better not overlook Southport's senior Brett Wright in his opening match.

    #2 Bane vs. #19 Mahan (Ticket round) – It's tough to bet against the highly proven Bane, unless the opponent is Batman. Mahan will be a force the next two years, and he could give the senior all he wants.

    Matthew Wertz, Zionsville / Ryan Mitts, East Central vs. JT Lazzara, Guerin / Drake Tackett, Mount Vernon (Ticket round) – No rankings to speak of among this group, but Wertz comes in with momentum as the regional champ. All 4 are seniors and will be fighting tooth and nail.

    1st round picks:
    Warren over Booker
    Frazee over Gee
    Berkebile over Wright
    Miller over Massey
    Bane over Davis
    Mahan over Hauke
    Wertz over Mitts
    Lazzara over Tackett

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Bane, Warren, Berkebile, Wertz

    The Alpha Dog:
    Alston Bane

    170

    While just four ranked wrestlers will be competing at 170 on Saturday, among them are a returning state placer, a former state qualifier, an Al Smith champ and a freshman wunderkind. #2 Tanner Webster of North Montgomery was a 6th place finisher at state last season, but was defeated at regional by #3 Thomas Penola of Zionsville, an impressive Al Smith champ earlier this season. Snake-bitten #9 Jake Ruberg of Lawrenceburg impressed the state with a state qualification as a freshman, but has battled injuries and tough semistate draws since then. The freshman everyone is buzzing about is #4 Silas Allred, the undefeated stud from Shenandoah. Some folks think he's going to keep a clean sheet through semistate, but nothing will come easy for him or any of the other favorites.

    Last year's champ: Ricky Samuels, Lawrence North

    Feature matchups:

    #4 Allred vs. Joe Mazero, HSE / Cameron Amos, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Allred's first real test at semistate should come in his ticket match. Mazero is perpetually underrated and was a ticket rounder last year. He's wrestled a high level of competition. The same is true of Amos.
    #3 Penola vs. #9 Ruberg (Ticket round) – This is another of the ticket round matches that screams for wrestlebacks. Tough draw for both--the loser could easily place at state. Penola has been on the roll of all rolls this season. He has wins over #2, #5, #6 and #7 this year, among many more game opponents.
    #2 Webster / #4 Allred vs. #3 Penola / #9 Ruberg (Finals) – There are a lot of different ways this could play out. Will Webster avenge his loss to Penola after besting the stout freshman in the semis? Will the stout freshman show the rest of the state that he is a legitimate state title threat by knocking off the #2 and #3 wrestlers in the state? Will Penola continue his unearthly momentum and head to BLF as a top seed? Or will the unlucky senior Ruberg spoil Penola's plans en route to a finals matchup with Webster or Allred?

    1st round picks:
    Murry over Simmons
    Webster over Acevedo
    Allred over Todd
    Mazero over Amos
    Penola over Willis
    Ruberg over Najem
    Lowe over Hart
    Miller over Orschell

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Webster, Penola, Allred, Lowe

    The Alpha Dog:
    Tanner Webster

    182

    With just 3 ranked wrestlers, this is probably the most wide open weight class at New Castle. Leading the way is former state qualifier #6 Evan Stambaugh of Lebanon, who comes in with just one loss all year. #9 Alec Jessop of HSE brings an impressive 20-2 record into the mix. #10 Cameron Simmons of Lawrence Central was a semistate qualifier last year. There are plenty of sleepers in the group, including Josue Hill of Zionsville, Jalen Allen of Perry Meridian, Sam Hansen of Roncalli and Jonah Rolfes of Lawrenceburg.

    Last year's champ: Blake Rypel, Cathedral

    Feature matchups:

    #10 Simmons vs. Josue Hill, Zionsville (Ticket round) – Both grapplers were semistate qualifiers last year and, despite the ranking difference, there probably isn't much of a separation between these two battle-tested seniors. If Zionsville is going to figure in the team race, they need to win matches like this one.
    #9 Jessop vs. Jalen Allen, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Allen is unranked despite a 34-4 senior campaign, and Jessop is a big, strong 182 generating a lot of buzz from knowledgeable spectators. Consider this one of the big team scoring matches of the ticket round.
    #6 Stambaugh vs. Sam Hansen, Roncalli (Ticket round) – Like Allen, Hansen has an oustanding record at 37-4. Stambaugh was upended last year in the ticket round and had better not overlook the tough Rebels' junior.
    Jonah Rolfes, Lawrenceburg vs. Bryce Sharp, Carmel (Opening round) – Sharp's 21-7 record isn't as spectacular as Rolfes' 41-4 record, but Carmel's schedule is much, much tougher. This is a 50/50 match.
    #9 Jessop / Allen vs. #10 Simmons / Hill (Semifinals) – On paper, this should be Jessop vs. Simmons, but it's far from a lead pipe lock. All 4 seniors are hungry and capable. The winner of this nasty pool should face Stambaugh for the semistate title.

    1st round picks:
    Simmons over Sterrett
    Hill over Bohman
    Allen over Mills
    Jessop over Thorp
    Stambaugh over Mitts
    Hansen over Morgan
    Rolfes over Sharp
    Baker over Keesee

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Jessop, Stambaugh, Simmons, Rolfes

    The Alpha Dog:
    Alec Jessop

    195

    This weight has to qualify as New Castle's main event. Warren Central's #1 in the state and 2X state runner-up Tristen Tonte (#17 in the USA per Intermat) and #2 Ben Stewart of Cathedral will almost certainly do battle, yet again, this time in the finals. This could be a preview of the state finals the following weekend. Stewart and Tonte were both beaten by decision by eventual state champ Jake Kleimola. Tonte is a 3X qualifier, and had a hand in Stewart's status of 1X state qualifier, as they met in the ticket round as freshmen (Stewart got Mason Parris in the ticket round the following year). Tonte got him again in the finals of last year's semistate, winning 1-0. Stewart is absolutely gigantic this season. Tonte is long and as slick as the day is long. This should be an incredible finals matchup. Joining the elite two as ranked competitors are #10 Liam Jagow of Westfield, who has had an incredible season, #11 Cole Slavens of North Montgomery, who has the misfortune of drawing Stewart in the ticket round (for the 2nd year in a row!), #12 Drew Williamson of Zionsville, who has just 3 losses and a regional title under his belt, and #14 John Owensby, who finished 4th at regionals, setting up a dynamic first round match with Williamson. Additionally, unranked David Delph of Frankton is 37-2 on the season and has some excellent upper weight practice partners in the Eagles' room.

    Last year's champ: Tristen Tonte, Warren Central

    Feature matchups:

    #12 Williamson vs. #14 Owensby (Opening round) – Williamson got a big win over Jagow at regionals, giving him great momentum heading into his first match of the day. The Franklin Central senior had a rough regional experience, but was a semistate qualifier last year at 220, so he will be plenty dangerous. The winner will face the winner of Delp and John Rorig of Milan, both of whom have impressive records.

    #2 Stewart vs. #11 Slavens (Ticket round) – This is one of those strange phenomena that happens at New Castle. For the 2nd year in a row, Slavens must beat Stewart to advance, which is a tall order for anyone. Stewart, who will attend Boston College on a football scholarship, absolutely manhandled his regional opponents. This is man-strength on display.

    #1 Tonte vs. #2 Stewart (Finals) – The loser will likely get another crack at the victor next weekend at BLF. To this point, Tonte has a significant edge in the head-to-head series, but Stewart looks primed to execute a crackback. They don't come much bigger and better than this matchup.

    1st round picks:
    Williamson over Owensby
    Delph over Rohrig
    Tonte over Pigg
    Sturm over Bynum
    Stewart over Snipes
    Slavens over Kenney
    Tibbetts over Snyder
    Jagow over Ruhana

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Tonte, Stewart, Jagow, Williamson

    The Alpha Dog:
    Tristen Tonte

    220

    Four ranked athletes, none of whom are seniors, will compete at 220 on Saturday. Leading the way is returning state champ and #1 Mason Parris of Lawrenceburg, a 2X state semifinalist and #3 in the country per Intermat. Parris is the biggest lock of the semistate, and might be the biggest lock at state as well. He's a unique, rare talent, as evidenced by his tremendous accomplishments in multiple sports. Joining Parris in the rankings are: #7 Jacob McClaine of Lebanon, who hasn't been beaten this year after falling in the ticket round last year, #10 Kyle Cornwell of Elwood, who has just one loss on the season and was also a ticket rounder last year, and #19 Landon Burton of New Palestine, who was a semistate qualifier at 195 last year. Watch out for sleepers Rilee Miller of Perry, Ryan Leslie of Noblesville, Darrione Gregory of LC, Joe Myren of HSE, Andy Guhl of Cathedral and Blake Ripperger of Franklin County. Yes, that's nearly the entire bracket.

    Last year's champ: Mason Parris, Lawrenceburg

    Feature matchups:

    #10 Cornwell vs. Joe Myren, HSE (Ticket round) – Cornwell was impressive at regionals and already has two wins over Myren this year. That said, semistate produces upsets and Myren is very dangerous.

    #19 Burton vs. Andy Guhl, Cathedral (Opening round) – It was a different Guhl last year that stormed through the semistate to take 2nd, but the similarities are obvious. The elder and younger Guhl are both large, athletic 220s and are as battle-tested as they come. The winner likely gets regional runner-up Blake Ripperger of Franklin County, a semistate qualifier last season.

    1st round picks:
    McClaine over Thomas
    Miller over Leslie
    Parris over Boleman
    Gregory over Greene
    Cornwell over Laws
    Myren over Dick
    Burton over Guhl
    Ripperger over Mata

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Parris, Cornwell, McClaine, Burton

    The Alpha Dog:
    Mason Parris

    285

    Three ranked wrestlers, as well as a former state qualifier, lead the field at heavyweight in New Castle. Defending state runner-up #9 Robert Samuels of Lawrence North was a semistate champion last year and a state qualifier the year before. He is one of the smallest, most physically vascular and ripped heavyweights you will ever see. Strangely, he has struggled somewhat this year, dropping 5 matches and losing at regionals. Still, he was a two seed last year as well, and it worked out pretty well for him. He is still a strong candidate to finish high at state. #10 Elijah Bailey of North Central has had a phenomenal season, which includes a couple of impressive wins over Samuels. Look for them to lock horns yet again, this time in the semistate finals. #17 Peyton Wuerch of Mount Vernon faces returning state qualifier Austin Dollens of Westfield in the opening round for the 2nd year in a row. Dollens got him 3-0 last year and rolled all the way to state. Wuerch will be looking for payback. Unfortunately for each, the winner gets Samuels in the ticket round. Clark Minges of East Central is a former three time ticket rounder for Union County.

    Last year's champ: Robert Samuels, Lawrence North

    Feature matchups:

    #17 Wuerch vs. Austin Dollens, Westfield (Opening round) – Dollens used his large frame and nimble feet to win a lot of close matches last year. He'll be seeking to repeat his performance from last year against Wuerch, and it will be interesting to see if Dollens holds an advantage with the big win last year, or if Wuerch is hungry and looking for payback. Again, it's slightly moot, as the winner gets Samuels to advance to BLF.

    Jaden Powell, Speedway vs. Juggernaut Williams, Carmel (Opening round) – Both were semistate qualifiers last season, with Powell making it to the ticket round. Powell has the superior record, while Williams has the superior schedule.

    Clark Minges, East Central / Marcus Stone, Elwood vs. Connor Bettis, Rockville / Steve Woolbright, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Minges, Bettis and Woolbright are all seniors with strong records and Stone is a big, agile heavyweight who could surprise. Look for Minges or Woolbright to lock up for a ticket.

    #9 Samuels vs. #10 Bailey (Finals) – They met at sectionals and regionals, as well as during the regular season. They are both on the smaller, more agile side, although neither seems to be overpowered during matches against larger opponents. Each is capable of a strong state run, but each is also capable of getting knocked off by a beefier opponent on Friday night as well.

    1st round picks:
    Dollens over Wuerch
    Samuels over Robinson
    Powell over Williams
    Selm over Obst
    Minges over Stone
    Woolbright over Bettis
    Bailey over Wisner
    Kunkelman over Roland

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Samuels, Bailey, Powell, Woolbright

    The Alpha Dog:
    Robert Samuels

    • 02/10/2017
    • by Dingo Brigade
  2. 2015 New Castle Semi-State Preview

    New Castle: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat

    A long, grinding season has transpired, leading a horde of battle-tested young men into the historic New Castle Chrysler Fieldhouse for what promises to be a very exciting (and stressful) day of competition. Not joining us are some of last year's non-graduated standouts, like Jake Ruberg (#5 pre-season) of Lawrenceburg (injury), Bryant White (#10 pre-season) of Anderson (concentration on football?), Chatard's (pre-season #5) Noah Schrader (top-50 in the country in rugby), Trevor Lonneman (ticket-rounder last year) of Milan (injury) and Matthew Penola (#10 pre-season) of Zionsville (injury)...Not to mention pre-season top-20's Chapman Luster of Franklin Central and Nick Brickens of New Palestine and ticket rounder Garrett Wilson of Perry Meridian. I mention these competitors just to illustrate how difficult it is to make it to the semistate level, much less the ticket round and beyond. Impressively, at least one New Castle competitor is ranked in the top-5 in every weight class. As usual, some weight classes are stronger than others, and some are dominated by standouts operating on a higher level than their opponents. Falling into this latter category are studs like Chad Red, Jr of New Palestine, the two-time reigning state champ, Blake Rypel, last year's runner-up denied a title by an eyelash, returning state champ Tommy Cash of Lawrence North and four-year standout Brandon James of Perry Meridian. Not surprisingly, three of these four forces of nature carry some seriously impressive national rankings. As usual, some truly excellent wrestlers will get clipped by the numbers game, leaving likely State place-winners at home for the State Finals. The team race should come down to Perry Meridian (13 entrants!!), Lawrence North (12), Warren Central (11), Cathedral, Hamilton Southeastern and possibly even New Palestine.

    106

    Five ranked wrestlers grace the field at 106, led by state #2 Klayton Anderson, a tough move-in from Missouri. Anderson's lone loss this year is up a weight class and he was in firm control during the first two rounds of the postseason. He is very long and is nasty on top. He wrestles with maturity and good mat-sense, although occasionally he can get a little high when riding. While he should be tested here (like a possible ticket match with PM's Sunny Nier), he appears to be at the head of the class. Who will join him is far less clear, as there are a handful of really tough opening round and ticket round matches that go in different directions. Cainan Schaefer has to get by a very dangerous Josh Vaughn to set up a ticket match with the surging Alexander Strueder. Cameron Diep avenged his lone loss of the season with a regional title, getting by Keyuan Murphy. Diep looks pretty well positioned to advance to Bankers Life, and he has a shot to do it as a #1 or #2 seed. If seeds hold, #7 David Bryant and #18 Keyuan Murphy should do battle for a coveted golden ticket. That could be one of the matches of the day.

    Last year's champ: Breyden Bailey, Cathedral

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #2 Klayton Anderson, Hamilton Southeastern
    #4 Cameron Diep, New Palestine
    #7 David Bryant, Hamilton Heights
    #17 Cainan Schaefer, South Dearborn
    #18 Keyuan Murphy, Warren Central

    Feature matchups:

    #7 Bryant vs. #18 Murphy (Ticket round) – Two beastly juniors could meet up in a show-stopper. Bryant has a sterling W/L record and Murphy has wrestled the nightmarish schedule. Looking for an advantage? If it's not Murphy's tougher schedule, it might be Bryant's experience, as he wrestled in the ticket round last season for Pendleton Heights. Another possible edge? Bryant competed up at 113 quite a bit this season and is a healthy sized 106.

    #17 Schaefer vs. Alexander Strueder, Fishers (Ticket round) – Like Bryant, Schaefer also has ticket round experience, as he lost by decision in his first attempt last year. Strueder isn't ranked and doesn't have a record that jumps out at you, but he passed the eye test at sectionals and regionals, and should be able to give Schaefer a difficult time of it.

    #2 Anderson vs. Sunny Nier, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Anderson is a big favorite on paper, but Perry wrestlers know a thing or two about 'upsets' this time of year. It doesn't hurt that Diep is 31-4 against pretty rugged competition.

    #2 Anderson vs. #4 Diep (Finals) – If these two favorites meet, it should make for a very interesting match. Both of these youngsters have state championship aspirations, and they should find quite a challenge in each other.

    1st round picks:
    Schaefer over Vaughn
    Strueder over Young
    Diep over Markley
    Grino over Hobson
    Bryant over Mennen
    Murphy over Mantor
    Anderson over Spinale
    Nier over Deloney

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Anderson, Diep, Murphy, Schaefer

    The Alpha Dog:
    Klayton Anderson

    113

    Five more state-ranked wrestlers will lace 'em up at 113. Three top-7 wrestlers are favorites here to reach the semistate final four. #5 White, #6 Turner and #7 Holmes are all returning state place-winners, and it would be a massive upset if one of those three didn't walk away with the semistate title. If anyone has the ammo to pull it off, it's likely Beech Grove's Ethan Smiley, who has shown that he can hang with the big boys at this weight. Of the Big 3 at this weight, regional champ Holmes might have the roughest path to the semis, as he has #14 Owens lurking in the ticket round. This should be a very competitive class both at New Castle and at State.

    Last year's champ: Cornelius Elliott, II, Perry Meridian

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #5 Alec White, New Palestine
    #6 Skylour Turner, Cathedral
    #7 Austin Holmes, Hamilton Southeastern
    #10 Ethan Smiley, Beech Grove
    #14 Erik Owens, Warren Central

    Feature matchups:

    #10 Smiley vs. Trevor Ragle, New Castle (Ticket round) – Assuming these two can avoid first round upsets, we should have a battle of two super-frosh competing for the all-important state berth. Smiley is ranked, but Ragle comes in as regional champ and Coach Peckinpaugh has produced more than his fair share of state qualifiers. Will the home-mat advantage tilt the edge in Ragle's favor?

    #7 Holmes vs. #14 Owens (Ticket round) – Holmes was my pick to win the semistate last year and he fell short in the finals, but he made up for it with a strong run at State. Owens presents a formidable challenge, as he's wrestled a 'who's who' at 113 and won't be intimidated by Holmes.

    #5 White vs. #6 Turner (Semifinal round) – Yikes! I'm sure these two were hoping to avoid each other until the finals, but here we are. Both have wrestled elite level schedules, and yet they have only 5 losses combined. This is close to a pick 'em, with White a very slight favorite.

    #5 White/#6 Turner vs. #7 Holmes/#10 Smiley (Finals) – Clearly there is a lot of variability here, but let's go by rankings and seeds and say Holmes vs. White. Holmes owns a narrow win over his Dragon rival earlier this year, and this one could go down in OT. On nothing but a hunch, I'm taking Holmes.

    1st round picks:
    White over Unseld
    Ellis over Black
    Turner over Servies
    Jerde over Walton
    Ragle over Hutson
    Smiley over Lowe
    Holmes over Weber
    Owens over Barrantes

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Holmes, White, Turner, Smiley

    The Alpha Dog:
    Austin Holmes

    120

    Despite having only 4 ranked wrestlers participating, partially due to the unfortunate absence of sectional champ Eugene Starks of New Palestine, this is no weak group at New Castle. Defending semistate champ Breyden Bailey leads a top-heavy field at 120. Bailey has managed to navigate the entire season unscathed, which is pretty remarkable considering Cathedral's schedule. However, the two closest matches for Bailey all season, including one that required OT, were against returning semistate champ Cornelious Elliott. Look for another donnybrook between these two in the finals, as any other outcome would be a monumental upset. Who will join them is a pretty wide-open topic, but Caleb Bocock looks nicely situated to return to Bankers Life, and Alston Jenkinson is a slight favorite to round out the quartet. Highly ranked (and deservedly so) Zach McCoy drew a very unfavorable path to the state Finals, as he must find a way to figure out the riddle that is Bailey in order to wrestle another weekend.

    Last year's champ: Chad Red, Jr., New Palestine

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #1 Breyden Bailey, Cathedral
    #3 Cornelious Elliott, II, Perry Meridian
    #12 Zach McCoy, North Montgomery
    #13 Caleb Bocock, Lebanon
    Feature matchups:

    #1 Bailey vs. #12 McCoy (Ticket round) – I don't think either wrestler is wild about this matchup. While Bailey has seamlessly transitioned to 120 from 106, McCoy has had a great season as well, and presents some physical obstacles for his foes with his long frame and tough defense on his feet. While Bailey is the obvious favorite as the state's current #1, McCoy is a senior and will fight tooth and nail to pull the upset.

    Jack Eiteljorge, Carmel vs. Dameion Rutledge, Southport (Opening round) – While Eiteljorge's record doesn't stand out, a closer look at his results shows that he has gone toe-to-toe with his elite foes all season, and owns a win over McCoy, among others. Rutledge is a tough senior, coming off of an impressive run at regionals, but I wouldn't be astounded if Eiteljorge pulled a couple of upsets on Saturday. The Pendoski-led freshman is a solid darkhorse pick to work his way to Bankers Life.

    #3 Elliott vs. Isaac Castro, Lawrence North (Ticket round) – Assuming the seeds hold, Elliott has a legitimate hurdle in Castro waiting for him in the ticket round. While they've met already this season, with Elliott winning by fall, Castro has faced some tough competition all year and will be a tough out for the Perry senior.

    #1 Bailey vs. #3 Elliott (Finals) – If this match takes place, which it should, it should be one of the top 2 or 3 matches of the entire day. While Bailey has come out on top in their prior meetings this season, Elliott has a lengthy resume of big-time wins in pressure situations. When two wrestlers are so closely matched, it's very tough for the same wrestler to win over and over again. That said, I'll go with Bailey in an exciting squeaker, possibly OT.

    1st round picks:
    Bailey over Browning
    McCoy over Culp
    Jenkinson over Fetters
    Eiteljorge over Rutledge
    Bocock over McMillian
    Surguy over Manns
    Elliott over Crum
    Castro over Plunkett

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Bailey, Elliott, Bocock, Jenkinson

    The Alpha Dog:
    Breyden Bailey

    126

    Like last year, there are 7 ranked wrestlers at this weight class in New Castle, even with #13 Dalton Hair of Franklin Central getting knocked out at regionals. While this is an extraordinarily deep and tough bracket, the #1 126er in the country rules this roost, to the chagrin of the others in the class. Chad Red is well on his way to cementing his status as one of Indiana's best of alltime, and he should be able to control the action again on Saturday. The real suspense is figuring out who will join him on the podium. Almost every match in every round features a pair of dangerous wrestlers, and the bracket could play out in many different ways. In short, your guess is as good as mine, past Red, that is.

    Last year's champ: Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #1 Chad Red, Jr., New Palestine (Nationally, #1 in the USA @126 The Open Mat, #2 AWN, #3 Intermat)
    #6 Ngun Uk, Perry Meridian
    #7 Zach Melloh, Cathedral
    #9 Joel McGhee, Warren Central
    #14 Boone Welliever, Southmont
    #15 Taylor Wright, Greenfield-Central
    #17 Skyler Collins, Frankfort

    Feature matchups:

    #14 Welliever vs. #9 McGhee (Opening round) – Ouch! Whoever comes out of the top foursome in this bracket, which includes the tough Southmont soph and the dangerous Warrior junior, will have earned his spot, to say the least. While I don't believe these 2 have met this year, Welliever edged Wright, who edged McGhee....which means almost nothing. Grab yer popcorn.

    #14 Welliever/#9 McGhee vs. Kylan Seats, North Central (Ticket round) – It just doesn't get any easier for the winner of Welliever and McGhee, as the likely ticket round opponent will be the surging senior Seats. Seats' record isn't flashy, but his postseason performance thus far is very impressive, and it's a pick 'em among these three. Take your favorite here and hold on to your seat.

    Johnny Loos, Franklin County vs. Dakota Cole, Elwood (Opening round) – While these two don't get the state-wide accolades of some of the others in this group, each of these two competitors were ticket rounders last year. Cole impressively upset a regional champ en route to his ticket match, and Loos has one lone loss all season. The winner of this melee will likely be facing Uk to try to earn a state berth.

    #15 Wright vs. #17 Collins (Opening round) – Another vicious opening round slobber-knocker here, as ranked opponents Wright and Collins meet up for the privilege of facing Melloh in the ticket round. Both have faced tough competition, with Wright possessing perhaps a couple more quality wins than Collins, but it's close...too close to call. This bracket is ludicrous.

    #7 Melloh vs. #17 Collins/#15 Wright (Ticket round) – No rest for the weary, as the survivor of the Wright/Collins battle will have to get by the nasty Irish freshman Melloh. While Melloh is the likely favorite, both Collins and Wright have significant experience advantages over the freshman. Will the experience factor matter at all, or does Cathedral's rough schedule even the odds? Tune in.

    1st round picks:
    McGhee over Welliever
    Seats over Bundy
    Red over Pruitt
    O'Neal over Phillips
    Loos over Cole
    Uk over Steele
    Melloh over Handley
    Wright over Collins

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Red, Uk, Melloh, McGhee

    The Alpha Dog:
    Chad Red, Jr.

    132

    A number of tough wrestlers populate this bracket, and, truthfully, up to a half-dozen wrestlers have a legitimate shot at catching fire and winning the weight. Obviously, this makes prognosticating very difficult, as there are very few obvious favorites in any round at this weight. Jack Chastain, a semistate champ a year ago, will have to get by the highest ranked wrestler in the bunch, Matt McKinney, just to punch his ticket. Fargo All-American Evan Eldred, who was 'gifted' Brandon James in his ticket match last year, has to get by a 2 loss Perry Meridian senior stud, Jordan Napier, again, just to punch his ticket. Top seed Nick Smith must get by seventh ranked Nick Ellis just to make it to the ticket round. This weight is among the most confounding and unpredictable, but no matter what, when the smoke clears, there will be four tough wrestlers advancing on to Bankers Life.

    Last year's champ: Deondre Wilson, Warren Central

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #4 Matthew McKinney, Warren Central
    #5 Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern
    #6 Evan Eldred, Westfield
    #7 Nick Ellis, Roncalli
    #9 Jordan Napier, Perry Meridian
    #18 Jordan Vaughn, Franklin Central

    Feature matchups:

    #7 Ellis vs. Nick Smith, Lawrence North (Opening round) – Ellis has had a strong year, but he stumbled a bit in his regional, whereas Smith has had a slightly uneven season, missing time with injury and taking a little while to get into full beast mode. Smith made up for lost time by winning his regional, and comes into this bout with a lot of confidence. Smith was a ticket rounder last year, while Ellis dropped his opening semistate match to Chastain. This is one of many, many matches at New Castle that could go either way.

    #18 Vaughn vs. David Kitko, Noblesville (Opening round) – Vaughn managed a 3rd place showing in a strong regional, while Kitko finished 2nd in a slightly weaker regional. Between the two, they have only 6 losses all year, and while Kitko has missed some time on the mat this year, he appears to be rounding into shape at the right time. Vaughn will be favored, but Kitko could surprise. Both are returning semistate qualifiers.

    #9 Napier vs. #6 Eldred (Ticket round) – This is great for the fans at New Castle, but a bummer for the semistate in the overall, Bankers Life-scheme of things. These are truly excellent wrestlers who each deserve a crack at the State field. Unfortunately, it's Thunderdome time--two men enter, one man leaves. In recent years, Perry wrestlers have been awfully tough to beat in these 50/50 matchups at semistate, but Coach O'Neill's biggest gun is hungry to return to Bankers Life after missing out last year. This match's outcome could be a big factor in the overall seeding for the entire weight class entering the State meet.

    #4 McKinney vs. #5 Chastain (Ticket round) – Fate is certainly fickle, as McKinney looked to be on the verge of a regional title. Within the span of a couple of seconds, the Central Indiana wrestling world was turned upside down by an unfortunate spladle, and we are both blessed and cursed with this unreal ticket round match. Chastain is a returning semistate champ and state placer, and very nearly knocked off super-stud Zach Davis at state. McKinney has been snake-bitten a little bit in his first three years, but has all the tools to make a deep run at state, if he can get by Chastain. Both are battle-tested, both are very talented and possess strong defensive abilities. This is as good or better than most of the potential finals matchups we will see at New Castle...but what a bummer for the loser.

    1st round picks:
    Smith over Ellis
    Buck over Estes
    Napier over Lazzara
    Eldred over Pace
    Chastain over Lane
    McKinney over Stewart
    Bowers over Douglass
    Vaughn over Kitko

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Chastain, Eldred, Smith, Vaughn

    The Alpha Dog:
    Jack Chastain

    138

    While six ranked wrestlers are among the field on Saturday at 138, the spotlight will be on #1 Brandon James and defending semistate and state champion, #2 Tommy Cash. I don't know if there are any other potential #1 vs. #2 matchups at any of the other semistates, but this one is about as good as Indiana high school wrestling gets. In fact, there's a very good shot that we will see the match one more time, under the lights at Bankers Life. James, an Old Dominion recruit, is highly decorated nationally, while Cash has been clutch as clutch can be in-state. A little overshadowed by the massive specter of these two senior standouts is undefeated senior Keegan Stansberry. He has looked as strong as you would expect from someone who is 34-0 while wrestling the difficult Royals' schedule. Joining these three impressive seniors could be Nathan Boggs, who will have to get by either Connor Moore or Zach Simpson to advance and join the illustrious New Castle 138 State Club.

    Last year's champ: Tommy Cash, Lawrence North

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #1 Brandon James, Perry Meridian (Nationally, #9 @138 Intermat, #9 AWN, #11 TOM)
    #2 Tommy Cash, Lawrence North
    #6 Keegan Stansberry, Hamilton Southeastern
    #8 Adam Timberman, New Palestine
    #15 Nathan Boggs, South Dearborn

    Feature matchups:

    #15 Boggs vs. Zach Simpson, Triton Central/Connor Moore, Southmont (Ticket round) – Boggs must first get by a 34-12 Tyler Hoel of Elwood. I'm sure Boggs hasn't forgotten that he was upset by an Elwood wrestler, Dakota Cole, in the opening round last year as a top seed. Assuming he does get by Hoel, he will have a tough ticket match with either the senior Simpson or the junior Moore. Boggs is a slight favorite over either of them, but this quartet could provide one of those 'surprise' state qualifiers.

    #2 Cash vs. #9 Timberman (Ticket round) – Is it just me, or do the New Castle seeding gods seem especially vicious this year? While every year provides some exciting but painful ticket matches, this is one of what seems like an inordinate number of high-profile, borderline wasteful ticket round matches at New Castle. I know it's a random draw, but it seems like a lot of the very best kids in the semistate are doomed to be spectators at Bankers Life. Ok, I'm done ranting, but I think Cash has a little too much for the very tough Timberman. I will be shocked if anything prevents a Cash/James showdown in the finals.

    #2 Cash vs. #1 James (Finals) – Fargo All-American and three-time state placer James is looking for gold this year, and it's hard to see anyone at 138 who can stop him....besides Tommy Cash. While James soundly beat Cash earlier this year, there's no doubt that Cash will be ready for the Perry standout in the finals. While each wants to win this weekend, they know that the biggest match is lurking a week later, and it's very possible it will be one of the most anticipated of all the state finals' matches. I give James a slight advantage, but I can see Cash closing the margin significantly.

    1st round picks:
    Boggs over Hoel
    Moore over Simpson
    Cash over Hawk
    Timberman over Smith
    James over Kern
    Smith over Marsh
    Stansberry over Waugh
    White over Negangard

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    James, Cash, Stansberry, Boggs

    The Alpha Dog:
    Brandon James

    145

    Two former state qualifiers, Smiley and Pruitt, lead a solid and deep group at 145. Like 132, there are a number of possible champions, including Pruitt, Smiley, Warren and Bane. Pruitt had a superior performance at last year's semistate: fall, fall, fall, loss to Cash by 1 point. It's that bit of history, plus his impressive regional title, that puts him at the top of the class for me. However, the freshman Warren seems to be peaking, Smiley has wrestled everyone and their mother for 4 years, and Bane and Oyler are wild-cards of a sort in this field. I'm often wrong, but I'll be surprised if the champ doesn't come out of the Perry Meridian regional.

    Last year's champ: Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #4 Evan Smiley, Beech Grove
    #6 Trent Pruitt, Warren Central
    #8 Noah Warren, Perry Meridian
    #12 Adam Oyler, Lawrenceburg
    #17 Mason Gaines, Fishers
    #18 Alston Bane, Richmond

    Feature matchups:

    #6 Pruitt vs. Clayton Cowan, Hamilton Heights/Matt Kern, Zionsville (Ticket round) – While I expect Kern to be the matchup in this scenario, he's had a bit of an up and down senior year. When he's on, he's dangerous, and Pruitt would be well served not to overlook him in a potential ticket match.

    #18 Bane vs. Stephen Kitko, Noblesville (Ticket round) – Kitko has to get by 28-6 Collin Strange, but if he pulls that off, he is a very tough out for the sophomore Bane. Kitko has been in this position before. In fact, last year, he was a ticket rounder. He will be desperate to cap his career with a state berth, so this match could provide an upset if Kitko is on his A game.

    #17 Gaines vs. #8 Warren (Ticket round) – Yet another nasty ticket match, this time featuring a seasoned senior and a hungry freshman. Warren has more big wins this year, but Gaines has looked pretty dominant thus far in the postseason.

    Derrick Motley, North Central vs. Wayne Highfield, Southmont (Opening round) – Motley appears to have hit the gas in the postseason, while Highfield was not at his best at regionals. Highfield has been in a lot of big matches during his four years, and is more than capable of pulling the 'upset' over Motley.

    #4 Smiley vs. #12 Oyler (Opening round) – Smiley is a tough nut to crack, and isn't easy pickings for anyone at this weight. Oyler would've really benefitted from winning his regional, as, even if he can somehow get by Smiley, he still has Motley or Highfield waiting in the ticket round. Senior vs. senior, #12 vs. #4. I like Smiley by a close margin.

    #6 Pruitt vs. #18 Bane (Semifinal round) – Assuming seeds hold, which admittedly is pretty risky, these two studs will meet to decide one finalist. Each youngster enters semistate with just 2 losses and at least 35 wins. Pruitt looked very comfortable here last year, while Bane came up just short of a scarce freshman state qualification in a middle weight. I think Pruitt's experience and superior schedule pays off against the coach's son Bane.

    #4 Smiley vs. #8 Warren (Semifinal round) – Warren must get by the tough senior Gaines, and Smiley has two really tough obstacles to overcome to make this matchup a reality. Warren really seemed to handle Smiley last weekend, and the senior must bounce back with verve to pay Warren back.

    #6 Pruitt/#18 Bane vs. #4 Smiley/#8 Warren – Yes, I know this weight class is getting ridiculous, with basically every other match a 'feature matchup'. However, a neutral observer would be forced to admit that this is an intriguing set of competitors and potential matchups. Personally, I think it will be Pruitt vs. Warren for the coveted #1 seed heading into Bankers Life. I think Pruitt finally gets his semistate crown, although it's not tough to envision the super-frosh making a statement and heading to state on a roll.

    1st round picks:
    Pruitt over Burelison
    Kern over Cowan
    Bane over Stocker
    Kitko over Strange
    Gaines over Shade
    Warren over Lane
    Motley over Highfield
    Smiley over Oyler

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Pruitt, Warren, Smiley, Bane

    The Alpha Dog:
    Trent Pruitt

    152

    Just like last year, this is one of the most wide-open weight classes at New Castle. While there are five ranked wrestlers here (#17 Travis Gibson of Greenfield-Central was upset at regionals), there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut favorite, although in another weird New Castle twist, the two highest rated wrestlers would meet in the semis and not the finals. While the winner of Johnson/VanCamp would appear to be a substantial favorite in the finals, the other two qualification spots are pretty wide-open.

    Last year's champ: Chance Brown, Southmont

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #5 Brett Johnson, Perry Meridian
    #6 Kellen VanCamp, Lebanon
    #14 Derek Noon, Noblesville
    #19 Dominic Herrick, Warren Central
    #20 Tanner Webster, North Montgomery

    Feature matchups:

    #5 Johnson vs. Isaiah Michaels, Centerville (Ticket round) – Obviously, Johnson is the favorite, with his single loss, state qualification experience and overall Perry Meridian pedigree, but Michaels is a very impressive 38-2. It would be understandable for Johnson to be looking ahead to a matchup with #6 VanCamp, but that could be dangerous against the Centerville junior.

    #19 Herrick vs. #20 Webster (Opening round) – Deja vu, all over again. These two met last season in the opening round, with Webster the 2 seed and Herrick the 3 seed. Herrick came out on top by decision, but fell just short in his subsequent ticket match. It was close last year, and I expect it to be close again this year. The winner isn't through the woods, though, as one-loss Derek Noon awaits in the ticket round.

    Tarpeh Walker, Pike vs. Corbin Gregg, Hamilton Southeastern (Opening round) – This isn't a match that jumps off the page, like some of the other matches featuring two opponents with gaudy W/L records. However, Walker was very competitive in the first two rounds of the postseason against some pretty tough customers, and Gregg is sneaky-good. The winner of this one could certainly pull a ticket round 'upset'.

    #14 Noon vs. #19 Herrick/#20 Webster (Ticket round) – Two of these three ranked studs are going home, but in Noon's case, it's his last go-round. Will that senior desperation propel him to the breakthrough ticket win he's been working for?

    Charlie Hill, Lawrenceburg vs. Walker/Gregg (Ticket round) – These 3 are pretty evenly matched, but Hill is a slight favorite with his past postseason success and his regional championship.

    #5 Johnson vs. #6 VanCamp (Semifinal round) – This is clearly the biggest match of the entire bracket, and it's unfortunate that it should take place in the semis. Let's look at the numerous similarities: both have one loss, both are ranked in the top-6, both have been to Bankers Life, both have wrestled a tough schedule. As I see it, the one difference is Johnson has a few more high quality wins. The winner of this match should be the top seed heading into the State meet.

    1st round picks:
    VanCamp over Johnson
    Carrender over Espedilla
    Johnson over Frazee
    Michaels over Bagwell
    Noon over Doherty
    Herrick over Webster
    Hill over Steele
    Gregg over Walker

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Johnson, Noon, VanCamp, Hill

    The Alpha Dog:
    Brett Johnson

    160

    Another weight class, another 5 ranked competitors. While there are a number of toss-up matches in other weight classes, there is a real sense of the unknown at this weight class, outside of the rock-steady Colton Gonzalez. 3 of the ranked wrestlers in this group lost their regionals to unranked opponents, with Briggeman and Archer finishing 3rd, and Young finishing a disappointing 4th. However, year in and out, we see wrestlers 'soil the proverbial bed' at regionals, and come back with a vengeance at semistate. While Gonzalez is as close to a lock as there is at this weight, the other 3 spots are very much up for grabs.

    Last year's champ: Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #4 Colton Gonzalez, Connersville
    #8 Ethan Briggeman, Ritter
    #14 Jesse Archer, North Montgomery
    #16 Travis Gooding, Pendleton Heights
    #19 DeRon Young, Franklin Central

    Feature matchups:

    #16 Gooding vs. #19 Young (Opening round) – The result of this match may depend on whether we see the sectional version of Young or the regional version of Young. That's not a knock on Gooding, who has impressed all season, and especially at regionals. This is a pick 'em.

    #16 Gooding/#19 Young vs. #14 Archer/Jarrod Waterman, Eastern Hancock (Ticket round) – These 4 comprise a very tough, very competitive quadrant of the bracket. All but Waterman are seniors, all have at least 33 wins and no more than 5 losses. It's a question of who wants it the most and who is 'working their stuff' at the highest level on Saturday.

    Dezmen Goddard, Warren Central/Mason Jones, Lawrence Central vs. Brandon Manning, South Dearborn/Nick Fox, Carmel (Ticket round) – This is another tough, very evenly matched foursome. Goddard is the hottest of the four, coming in with a hard-earned regional title, but each of the other three has the ability to win two matches on Saturday. Fox and Manning should be a dogfight, as Manning was ranked in the preseason and Fox is better than his record indicates.

    Evan Stambaugh, Lebanon/Billy Decker, New Castle vs. Isaac Ray, Hamilton Heights/Garrett Milner, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – There simply are no 'easy outs' in this bracket, as evidenced by this additional brutal group of four. Stambaugh looked great en route to his regional title, but he's been up and down at times this season. Milner beat the ranked Young at regionals, and finished above the ranked Briggeman. Decker comes from strong wrestling bloodlines and will have the home crowd in his favor. Isaac Ray has the best record of the four.

    #4 Gonzalez vs. #8 Briggeman (Ticket round) – The unfortunate reality here is that a very highly ranked senior will go home. Briggeman has had a great career, but has been shut out of Bankers Life. Gonzalez, impressively a semistate runner-up and state placer last season at 170, might be too much for the Ritter standout to break that trend.

    1st round picks:
    Gooding over Young
    Archer over Waterman
    Goddard over Jones
    Fox over Manning
    Stambaugh over Decker
    Milner over Ray
    Gonzalez over Banks
    Briggeman over Turner

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Gonzalez, Goddard, Archer, Milner

    The Alpha Dog:
    Colton Gonzalez

    170

    Ben Harvey and Cameron Jones appear to be the two to beat at 170. Three additional ranked wrestlers will attempt to do just that, including regional champs Cameron Nuckols and Zach Worm. While Harvey and Jones have state title pedigrees, it remains to be seen what the rest of the field is really capable of.

    Last year's champ: Jeffery Scott, Clinton Central

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #2 Ben Harvey, Cathedral
    #6 Cameron Jones, Lawrence North
    #8 Cameron Nuckols, Greenfield-Central
    #18 Alex Ragains, Frankfort
    #19 Spencer Irick, Hamilton Southeastern

    Feature matchups:

    #8 Nuckols vs. #18 Ragains (Opening round) – Nuckols made the move down from 182 last season, which ended at semistate, and it seems to have paid off handsomely for him. The 8th-ranked senior has a tough opener against a fellow ranked 170 in Ragains. Nuckols is the favorite, but he'd better not overlook the Hot Dog junior, who has wins this season over Worm, Irick and Wray, among other notables.

    #8 Nuckols/#18 Ragains vs. #6 Jones (Ticket round) – For whatever reason, this type of rough ticket match is the norm this year at New Castle. Assuming seeds play out, Nuckols and Jones will go toe-to-toe for the elusive Golden Ticket. For a meaningless bit of 'comparison', Jones beat Dillon Jackson and Jackson edged Nuckols earlier this year. This is essentially a pick 'em, and an unfortunate end to the season for two of these three.

    #19 Irick vs. Anthony Bear, Triton Central (Ticket round) – Though not currently ranked, Bear has spent time on that list, and is a returning semistate qualifier. Irick has been a bit up and down, but has also been competing against some pretty tough competition the last few weeks. If Irick is on, he should win. If not, Bear may 'maul' him. Deep analysis, I know.

    #2 Harvey vs. #6 Jones (Final round) – These two are thinking big picture--namely, seeding at Bankers Life the following weekend. Harvey is as consistent and well-rounded as they come. Only an upset loss on Friday night last year kept him from being on the brink of becoming a four-time state placer. Jones, on the other hand, has more peaks and valleys than Harvey. He is exceedingly dangerous, as Dillon Jackson can attest. He also lost a 2-1 match to top-ranked Dylan Lydy. Harvey has to be the favorite, but Jones is lurking and capable.

    1st round picks:
    Nuckols over Ragains
    Jones over Grubb
    Worm over Marion
    Simmons over Bowling
    Orcutt over Hertenstein
    Irick over Bear
    Harvey over Roach
    Wray over Wilson

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Harvey, Jones, Irick, Worm

    The Alpha Dog:
    Ben Harvey

    182

    This, to me, is one of the most intriguing weight classes at New Castle. There are 3 undefeated wrestlers here (all regional champs, obviously), and the other regional champ is returning state placer Jonathan Morales. At the very least, 2 'O's' must go, and it could be 3 if Morales, Stewart or Manns catches fire. By another metric, this semistate features the #4, #5, #6, #7 and #8 wrestlers in the state. In case you're counting, that's 5 of the top-8. There are four spots open. Sigh, there are no easy roads to Bankers Life.

    Last year's champ: Blake Rypel, Cathedral

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #4 Conner James, Roncalli
    #5 Mason Parris, Lawrenceburg
    #6 Jonathan Morales, Western Boone
    #7 Robert Manns, Crawfordsville
    #8 Spencer McCool, Pendleton Heights
    #12 Ben Stewart, Cathedral

    Feature matchups:

    #8 McCool vs. #7 Manns (Opening round) – Last year at New Castle, McCool dropped a one point ticket round match and Manns a two point ticket round match. This year, only one will even get the opportunity to get to the ticket round, as they meet in another agonizing early round New Castle matchup. It's unfortunate that they're both seniors, but it is what it is, and I'm sure they will both come out guns blazing. The winner has a nice shot to advance to state.

    #4 James vs. Griffin Steffy, Lebanon/Ricky Samuels, Lawrence North (Ticket round) – James was my top pick at New Castle's 152 last year and was upended in the ticket round in a big upset. I'm sure he's agonized over that loss all year, and will be trying to take care of business this year. He's been pretty dominant this season, even more so than last year, en route to a spotless 41-0 record. Moving up 30 pounds should allow him to be a little less impacted by weight cutting, which should improve his gastank compared with last season. Steffy is no pushover; despite a fair number of losses, he's a goer and a battler and is fully capable of giving James his first loss if he's not on his toes. The exact same is true of Samuels.

    #5 Parris vs. #12 Stewart/Tanner Smith, South Vermillion (Ticket round) – Parris has been a revelation this year as a freshman, not only going undefeated thus far, but winning with bonus points and falls. The scary thing for the rest of the semistate is that he's only going to get better. He will have a large task waiting for him in the ticket round in the form of the Irish's Stewart, a ticket rounder last year or Smith, a semistate qualifier last season. Stewart especially will give a heat check for Parris. If he can win impressively over Stewart, he might take the title on Saturday.

    #6 Morales/#8 McCool-#7 Manns vs. #4 James/#5 Parris-#12 Stewart (Finals) – This unique weight class, with literally half of the best 12 in the state, should provide some high quality matches in the semis and finals. It's really impossible to predict who comes out between McCool/Morales/Manns/Parris/James/Stewart, and all I've done is taken a wild stab at it.

    1st round picks:
    Morales over Trammell
    Knox-Abbott over Orschell
    McCool over Manns
    Hoots over Clark
    James over Bugni
    Steffy over Samuels
    Parris over Kaiser
    Stewart over Smith

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    James, McCool, Morales, Parris

    The Alpha Dog:
    Conner James

    195

    Junior Blake Rypel has been so successful thus far in his career, it seems like he's been around for 4 or 5 years. Unfortunately for his opponents, he has one more year to go after this one. A strong favorite to win it all at 195, Rypel should be in control at semistate. Rypel is very slick for a person his size, and he's been pinning his foes at a high rate this year. The race for 2nd is led by returning state qualifier Tristen Tonte, and the battles for spots 3 and 4 should be vicious and unpredictable.

    Last year's champ: Brian Wagner, New Palestine

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #1 Blake Rypel, Cathedral (Nationally #10 @ 195 Intermat, #11 AWN)
    #4 Tristen Tonte, Perry Meridian
    #6 Jake Cavins, Milan
    #10 Scott Fuller, Zionsville
    #11 Sam Hipple, Carmel
    #13 Justin Stone, Lawrence Central

    Feature matchups:

    #11 Hipple vs. #6 Cavins (Ticket round) – Both big men were semistate qualifiers a year ago, but fell just short of nabbing a ticket. Hipple, Ed Pendoski's big gun, is rock-solid with positioning and defense and will not beat himself. He has a solid gastank and has faced a tougher level of competition this year than Cavins. That said, Cavins is the higher ranked wrestler and is, therefore, technically favored. Cavins must first deal with returning semistate qualifier Josh Torres of Franklin Central.

    Will Amberger, Batesville vs. #10 Fuller (Ticket round) – Amberger was a semistate qualifier last year, losing to Tonte in his opening match. Fuller is another in a very long line of studly Zionsville upperweights. Fuller looked better at sectional than he did at regional, but he may be due for a bounce-back effort against Amberger.

    #4 Tonte vs. #13 Stone/Nick Schaeffer, Westfield (Ticket round) – Tonte was impressive as a freshman, making it all the way to Bankers Life. He's clearly taken a step forward this season, as evidenced by his near-spotless 37-1 record. Schaeffer has been a little bit up and down, but clearly has it within him to spring an upset over Stone, a returning semistate qualifier. Tonte should have enough for either eventuality.

    1st round picks:
    Rypel over Slavens
    Burton over Guintini
    Hipple over Mayfield
    Cavins over Torres
    Amberger over Smith
    Fuller over Haire
    Tonte over Mosley
    Stone over Schaeffer

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Rypel, Tonte, Hipple, Fuller

    The Alpha Dog:
    Blake Rypel

    220

    Five of the top-20 are represented by this year's New Castle field at 220 (could've been six if not for the late-season injury to #11 Matthew Penola), led by #3 Courvoisie Morrow, who has wrestled a murderer's row at 220. There's some real parity after Morrow and Erik Hart, led by Grable, Cooper, Stephens and Guhl. As in past seasons, this is not among the very strongest weight classes at New Castle, although it is still plenty formidable.

    Last year's champ: Dylan Faulkenburg, Ritter

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #3 Courvoisie Morrow, Warren Central
    #13 Erik Hart, Lebanon
    #15 Ryan Guhl, Cathedral
    #17 Noah Grable, New Palestine
    #19 Jacob Cooper, Triton Central

    Feature matchups:

    #19 Cooper vs. Josh Stephens, Pendleton Heights (Opening round) – This is a really tough match to handicap, as they have roughly similar records against roughly similar competition. Cooper came into New Castle last year as a 4 seed and upset a top seed, ultimately dropping a very close ticket match. The winner gets an even bigger test in the one-loss Hart.

    #15 Guhl vs. Blake Schjoll, Perry Meridian (Opening round) – It's a little unusual to see a Perry wrestler with a 25-4 record and still unranked, but Schjoll was 4th best in his regional, whereas Guhl was regional champ. While Guhl is favored, Perry's staff is likely devising a plan to neutralize the Irish wrestler as we speak.

    #13 Hart vs. #19 Cooper/Stephens (Ticket round) – Hart has been nearly flawless all season, save for one match against the now-injured Penola. While Hart will be favored against either senior wrestler, he will certainly have his work cut out for him.

    #13 Hart vs. #3 Morrow (Finals) – Morrow has faced elite level competition all season long, and has managed to come out on top in all but two matches. Hart has a golden record, but he can't say he's faced the same sort of challenges. Hart will find out where he stands in the overall state picture after this match, if it takes place.

    1st round picks:
    Hart over Clouse
    Cooper over Stephens
    Miller over Reynolds
    Grable over Ogorek
    Guhl over Schjoll
    Martin over Dishman
    Morrow over Lucas
    Ford over Neff

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Morrow, Hart, Guhl, Grable

    The Alpha Dog:
    Courvoisie Morrow

    285

    Returning state qualifier Nate Trawick is a solid favorite over the other 4 ranked wrestlers and the rest of the field at 285. The Richmond football standout has had a pretty dominating season thus far, dropping only one match and avenging that loss. He should win this weight, although he will be tested in the ticket round by IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open champion Chris Ridle of Perry Meridian. Jasion Brogan looks like a solid bet for 2nd, and the 3rd and 4th slots are pretty wide open.

    Last year's champ: Wesley Bernard, Cathedral

    Ranked wrestlers:

    #3 Nate Trawick, Richmond
    #8 Jasion Brogan, Warren Central
    #11 Anthony Jackson, Pike
    #14 Michael Smith, Lebanon
    #19 Chris Ridle, Perry Meridian

    Feature matchups:

    #8 Brogan vs. Clark Minges, Union County/Zach Saylor, Anderson (Ticket round) – While Brogan has had the superior regular season, Minges was one win away from state last year as a freshman. He upset a favored, higher seeded opponent from Indianapolis. Hmm...Probably not this year. If it's Saylor, also a semistate qualifier last year as a sophomore, the chances are a little more remote of pulling the upset.

    #19 Ridle vs. #3 Trawick (Ticket round) – This is a very intriguing ticket bout, but Trawick is just so physically dominant. He'll have to make a big mistake that Ridle capitalizes on in order to drop this one.

    #11 Jackson vs. #14 Smith (Opening round) – Smith has had a fine season, but seems to have a matchup problem with Hobick. Jackson has also had a fine season, but has had the misfortune of facing Stormin' Norman Oglesby more than once. Smith is a very nimble heavy, and if he can avoid being put on his back, he could pull this one out with a superior gastank.

    1st round picks:
    Hobick over Ewers
    Phifer over Smith
    Brogan over Bean
    Minges over Saylor
    Trawick over Kessler
    Ridle over Williams
    Samuels over Selm
    Smith over Jackson

    Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
    Trawick, Brogan, Hobick, Smith

    The Alpha Dog:
    Nate Trawick

    • 02/13/2015
    • by Dingo Brigade
  3. #WrestlingWednesday Feature: 900 Wins and Counting

    Brought to you by EI Sports
    Posted Image
    By JEREMY HINES
    jerhines@cinergymetro.net

    NEW CASTLE — A lot has changed in the world since Rex Peckinpaugh began coaching wrestling at New Castle High School.

    Michael Jackson was the big hit on the radio when Peckinpaugh started out. Ronald Reagan was President. Microsoft introduced the world to MS-DOS, the 3M company started mass producing Post-it notes and MTV first went on the air.

    One thing that hasn’t changed for Peckinpaugh, now in his 34th season at the helm of the Trojan team, is his ability to win.

    Peckinpaugh reached his 900th dual victory of his career (all with New Castle) last week at the Broncho Duals in Lafayette. New Castle went 8-1 in the meet to push its season record to 27-4.

    “When I got that 900th win, it was a special moment,” Peckinpaugh said. “I couldn’t help but sit back and think of my mom and dad who didn’t miss a match for about 500 of those wins. But when it was over, I was ready to go for 901 wins.”

    Peckinpaugh has been Indiana’s winningest coach for years. He is No. 2 nationally in high school wins.

    “Rex is obviously a good coach,” former Trojan standout turned Shenandoah head coach Gary Black said. “You don’t get anywhere near 900 wins without knowing what you’re doing. But I think he’s an even better motivator in life. For Rex, it isn’t so much about the wins and losses as it is about having the chance to instill great values and teach kids to be good individuals off the mat.”

    Peckinpaugh can still tell specific details about every wrestler that has put on a Trojan uniform for him.

    “They are all still pretty fresh in my mind,” Peckinpaugh said. “I can tell stories on any of them if I’m asked to do so.”

    Peckinpaugh continues to coach because he loves watching kids improve.

    “It’s not so much about the winning and losing,” Peckinpaugh said. “My favorite part of coaching is seeing kids get better in the sport. I love that moment when the lights go on so to speak. Also, I enjoy building the team each year. It’s like a construction project. Every year something changes and you have to figure out how to build the team to be successful.”

    This year the Trojans do not have any seniors in the lineup. They are led by seven freshmen, four juniors and three sophomores.

    “He’s taken a very young team and has worked to get the most out of his lineup,” Black said. “It’s easy to see why he’s so successful.”

    One stat that Peckinpaugh is proud of is that all of his teams have either won a sectional, a conference title or a regional. The Trojans had a winning streak of 106 matches from 1992-95. The team won 29 consecutive sectional titles from 1976 until 2003 (a streak that started before coach Peckinpaugh took over at New Castle).

    The 2004-05 Trojans lost the sectional to Centerville. It was the only time a Peckinpaugh coach team did not win the sectional tournament. But instead of focusing on the loss, Peckinpaugh geared the team up for the upcoming regional. New Castle would later win the team regional and become the first team in the state to not win a sectional, but turn around and claim a regional title.

    “That’s an important thing as a coach and as a wrestler,” Peckinpaugh said. “You have to have a short memory. If you get beat, you have to look at what’s next. If you don’t, you’ll get caught up in celebrating the moment and lose the next one. Or you’ll be so depressed you’ll lose the next one.”

    Peckinpaugh is the first to point out that his success also has a lot to do with those who are helping him. Mark “Sparky” Griffith has been an assistant coach for Peckinpaugh for almost the entire time he’s been at New Castle. Frank Ryan, Ted Fitzgerald and Larry Sutton were also instrumental in building the New Castle program. He also points out that his wife Bonnie has been a huge supporter of the team for the last 20 years.

    Peckinpaugh has coached three four-time state finalists in Mac Taylor, Matt Jaggers and Connor Mullins. He has had one state champion — James “Bubba” Dickerson won heavyweight in 1995 as a junior. He passed away before his senior season. He has had a plethora of state placers, including Brenden Campbell who was a state runner-up two seasons in a row. Campbell is currently wrestling for the United States Naval Academy.

    In 1995 and 1996 New Castle was the team runner-up in the state. The Trojans took eight to state in 1996.

    Peckinpaugh is a health teacher at New Castle. He is also on the New Castle City Council. He was an assistant football coach for the Trojans in the 80s. He also was the girls golf coach for a short time.

    “Coaching girls golf was an interesting experience,” Peckinpaugh said. “They needed someone and I said I’d do it.”

    Peckinpaugh is not sure when he will retire from coaching. He feels he has a good assistant in Jason Martin who can take over the team and keep it in good hands.

    “Jason has been trying to get me to stay on to maybe go for 1,000 wins,” Peckinpaugh said. “I don’t know if I’ll hold on that long. But I do love coaching the kids, and that will never change.”

    If you have an interesting feature idea, please contact Jeremy Hines at jerhines@cinergymetro.net.

    • 01/15/2015
    • by Y2CJ41