106 - I have it on good authority that Indiana Mudflap is a fan of the lilâ€™ guys on the mats. He says he will be eating some hot wings before invading Bankerâ€™s Life but I can guarantee he will be there for the fireworks on display as four, count â€˜em, four ranked wrestlers will tangling in the first two matches. Returning state runner up Ty Mills of Brownsburg is the top ranked kid in the bracket and he should get by 16th ranked Gavin Rose of Greenfield Central. Mills will then rest up for Saturday morning where he face off against the winner of one of the premier Friday night tilts. Northwoodâ€™s Tanner DeMien is ranked fifth and is a returning 7th place finisher from last year. He will square off with Crown Pointâ€™s super frosh Jacob Moran. Moran does a nice impression of Jared Brooks with his athleticism and leg attacks and I feel he will be too much for the Panther.
In the second quarter bracket, Warren Centralâ€™s powerful Keyuan Murphy is a strong favorite after his championship run at New Castle. He should get by Castleâ€™s Devon Casebolt on Friday night. The other match features Wheelerâ€™s Jose Diaz and Jimtownâ€™s Hunter Watts. Diaz has impressed region rats with his goer mentality and he has become his schoolâ€™s first state qualifier. Jimtownâ€™s mighty mite Watts frankly did not look like a state qualifier earlier in the season. A great day at team state has seemed to jump start his season and he has been on a nice run. Another great match up.
In the third quarter bracket there are another four ranked wrestlers and two legitimate threats to win a state championship. Fourth ranked Kory Cavanaugh of Penn has state experience and has been rock solid all season. He will likely see nemesis Sam Fair of Perry Meridian. Fair has two razor thin wins over Cavanaugh. This will be a great Saturday morning tussle. Set your alarms and donâ€™t miss this one.
The final quarter bracket is completely wide open in my mind. Cathedralâ€™s Lukasz Walendzak has wins over some of the best 106ers in the state. Walendzak will face Avonâ€™s ace, Asa Garcia. Garcia is the author of one of the bigger upsets of the semi state weekend when he dashed the dreams of top ranked Cayden Rooks in Evansville. The other tilt features Yorktownâ€™s #7 ranked Brayton Curtis, who won the Ft. Wayne semi state, and Trey McCartney who was impressive at East Chicago.
113 â€“ This class is probably not as wide open as the 106ers because of the dominance shown by Lowell Red Devil Colton Cummings. Cummings has shredded everyone put in his path this season with a lethal combination of leg attacks and pinning power. A potential #1 versus #2 is possible in this class as New Palestineâ€™s overshadowed Alec White is poised on the other side of the bracket. White is a three time qualifier and former medalist. White must first survive a brutal quarter bracket that also features seniors 14th ranked Geoffrey Davis of Ft. Wayne Wayne HS, #7 Austin Slates of Penn and frosh #10 Alex Mosconi of Indian Creek. The bottom quarter bracket features super hot grapplers, Colin Poynter of Portage and Nick Weaver of Brownsburg. Poynter vs. Weaver should be outstanding if they meet on Saturday morning.
In that top half, Colton Cummings looms large but he will still need to survive a Saturday morning clash with #3 Skylour Turner of Warren Central and a semi final match with a largely unknown group of wrestlers.
120 - All the top contenders are in the bracket and most of the top names are split in the opposite sides of the bracket. Fifteen of the sixteen state street spots are taken by ranked wrestlers. An impressive display by IndianaMatâ€™s rankit ngs guy. At the top of the bracket, we have one of the most unheralded semi state champs in Brownsburgâ€™s Blake Mulkey. The Bulldog sophomore has an unblemished record but is only ranked 7th. I look for him to win Friday night over Bellmontâ€™s Mason Mendez and then advancing past Beech Groveâ€™s Ethan Smiley on Saturday morning.
The battle to meet Mulkey in the semiâ€™s will be fought by some studs who have a ton of state experience. Columbia Cityâ€™s fourth ranked Hunter Langeloh, Lebanonâ€™s tenth ranked Caleb Bocock and Griffithâ€™s second ranked Jeremiah Reitz all have multiple years of experience on the floor at Bankerâ€™s Life. The projected matchup between Langeloh and Reitz is state final quality wrestling on Saturday morning. Indiana wrestling fans are the winners here.
Top ranked Drew Hildebrandt tops the next quarter bracket but the Kingsman will have no easy road as the winner of the Friday night match up between fifth ranked Blake Glogouski of Fairfield and sixth ranked Kyle Luigs of Mater Dei awaits last yearâ€™s state runner up.
The final set of four contains New Castle champ Dylan Culp of Warren Central and third ranked Graham Rooks of Columbus East. The depth of quality wrestling at 120 is quite impressive and this is a weight class that will provide great matches from the beginning.
126 - Danvilleâ€™s Brock Hudkins will look to defend his state title this year and comes into the tournament with an unblemished 43-0 record. The Northern Illinois bound senior will have to top fifth ranked Joel McGhee of Warren Central on Saturday morning and fourth ranked IU bound Austin Holmes of Hamilton Southeastern in the afternoon to make a return to the match under the lights. I like Hudkins chances to do just that.
The other side of the bracket has both the second and third ranked wrestlers and if they hold chalk, Portageâ€™s Gaige Torres and Cathedralâ€™s Breyden Bailey should battle for the right to wrestle Hudkins. Torres versus Bailey should be one of the better semi final matches as they wrestle almost opposite styles. It will be the funky always exciting style of Bailey matched up with the classic in your face toughness of Torres. The top four kids in the state with one in each quarter bracket, what more could wrestling fans ask for.
132 - Ali versus Frazier, Red Sox versus Yankees, Michigan versus Ohio State, Chad Red versus Nick Lee. It has been the most talked about match up in the state over the past two years and it appears that we are all going to see the greatest match up ever in the state finals this year at 132.
In one corner you have a returning champ in Mater Deiâ€™s Nick Lee. Lee has shown he is afraid of no one as he squared off against Steven Micic in his freshman year. Lee won a title last year and then followed it up with an impressive spring and summer. He ended up his summer with a scholarship offer to Penn State and top ten national ranking.
In the other corner you have New Palestineâ€™s incredible Chad Red. All he has done is beat everyone put in front of him over the past three years, not only in the state of Indiana but also in the entire country. A fourth state title and an unblemished high school record are what Red puts on the line. The Nebraska recruit is so fun to watch and I, like many, have been dreaming about the potential scrambles these two studs will get into on Saturday night.
138 - It has been 150 plus years since those in the north have had to worry about an invasion by Lee but now Indianapolis will have two worry about three Leeâ€™s all coming for Evansville semi state. Nick was the first Lee at 132 and at 138, we see top ranked Brayton Lee of Brownsburg. Brayton is another Bulldog with an perfect record who will be the odds on favorite to win Brownsburg a state title. Lee has exorcised the ghosts of last yearâ€™s shocking defeat in the ticket round with a dominating performance last week. The talented sophomore will likely see Westfieldâ€™s Evan Eldred in the semiâ€™s. The Shamrock seniorâ€™s only loss on the season is a narrow 5-3 loss toâ€¦..Brownsburgâ€™s Brayton Lee.
On the other side of the bracket, all eyes will be on the quarter final match up between second ranked Sage Coy of Delta and fourth ranked Matt McKinney of Warren Central. The winner of this match up will likely be under the lights.
145 â€“ The third Lee is sophomore Joe Lee of Mater Dei. The younger brother of Nick wrestled under the lights last year and seemed poised to join his brother on top of the podium until Tommy Cash struck with an excellent counter to secure the win. This season looked to be all about Joe until suffering a pair of defeats to New Palestineâ€™s Jared Timberman and Mount Vernonâ€™s Austin Bethel. So what we have is a weight class that is wide open with four or five wrestlers that can make a legitimate run for the crown.
The top half of the bracket looks like an absolute meat grinder. Top ranked Brad Laughlin of Yorktown has one blemish on his record and that was at 160 pounds. He must overcome 2nd ranked Timberman, or 3rd ranked Lee, or 6th ranked Triston Rodriguez of Culver to wrestle Saturday night. No easy task.
On the other side of the bracket we have returning state runner up Jordan Vaughn of Franklin Central and Kasper McIntosh of Portage who come in as semi state champs. But for these two to reach the semis, they must beat Jimtownâ€™s Kenny Kernn and Leoâ€™s Isaac Eicher respectively. Eicher has a state medal on his resume and Kernn has been nothing short of dominant since midseason. I predict a lot of maroon and gold under the lights.
152 â€“ No one named Lee is contending at 152 but a similar bracket has been built with one side looking significantly deeper than the other. The bottom half contains #1 BAM Lawrence of Portage, #2 Cael McCormick of Yorktown, #4 Dru Berkebile of Frankton and #5 and #6 Elijah Dunn of Indian Creek and Brett Johnson of Perry Meridian. Can you say meat grinder? I like McCormick and BAM to survive but honestly would not be surprised if any of the other three ranked wrestlers to get to the semis because of the depth at this weight class.
At the other end, the bracket gods smiled down on Trent Pruitt. The third ranked Warren Central junior has a stacked quarter bracket with a tough Friday night tilt with Mater Dei senior Mitch Lehman. Pruitt will face the winner of a likely Denzyl Prentice/Andrew Herrin match up that looks to be a donnybrook. Both are coming off excellent semi states where Herrin throttled the field at Evansville and Prentice looked as good as he ever has, giving Lawrence a great match in the finals.
160 â€“ Speaking of bracket gods, they were not too kind at 160 as #1 Jacob Covaciu and #2 Alston Bane were both bracketed on the same side. However, Baneâ€™s Batman last week, Noah Warren of Perry Meridian won the New Castle semi state and put himself in a position to wrestle under the lights on Saturday night. Warren has only one blemish on his record and that was to Jarod Swank of Penn at team state. For Warren to get to the semis he might need to avenge his loss to Swank and then also defeat either the Fort Wayne champ Josh Garman or the ultra talented Tavonte Malone of South Bend Adams.
The other side of the bracket has top ranked and Wisconsin bound Jacob Covaciu of Merrillville. I honestly donâ€™t think he will be seriously challenged until he reaches the finals. 12th ranked Laine Frazee of Fountain Central and Jed Levitz of Prairie Heights is an interesting battle Friday night between a couple of small school studs. Upset Alert: Bellmontâ€™s Tony Busse will be focused and ready to knock of the 2nd ranked Alston Bane of Richmond.
170 â€“ This is another weight class where one side of the bracket appears to be a little top heavy. The first quarter bracket contains four ranked grapplers including the 2nd and 3rd ranked Nathan Walton of Brownsburg and Jacob Gray of Delta. Walton is one of the most exciting wrestlers in the state to watch and his match up with Tristan Goering of South Bend Riley will be filled with all kinds of fireworks. Wait for this match to be done before you get your 3rd Shave Ice. Three unranked wrestlers will try to slay â€œDragonâ€ Drew Hughes. â€œWinter is comingâ€ for any of Hughes opponents. He probably wonâ€™t be challenged by anyone in the state this year.
On the other side, semi state champs Ricky Samuels and Bryce Baumgartner thanked the bracket gods and both have a shot to wrestle under the spotlight. These two are by no means shoe ins as Thomas â€˜Launcherâ€™ Dull and super soph Kameron Fuller will look to make a name for themselves statewide.
182 â€“ You win some and you lose some when you randomly draw brackets. Not being able to see the potential match between nationally ranked Big Ten recruits Andrew Davison and Blake Rypel is a shame but letâ€™s not dwell on that and just enjoy this battle between Davison, the undefeated junior from Chesterton and Rypel, the undefeated senior from Cathedral. Davison has committed to Michigan and Rypel to IU. Hopefully they will match up down the road as well.
A couple of other wrestlers look to crash the party. They include Lawrence Northâ€™s 3rd ranked Cameron Jones, 4th ranked David Eli, 6th ranked CJ Damler of Brownsburgh and 7th ranked Isaac James of Lowell. James is my pick to click in this half of the bracket. No real reason, just a feeling I have after watching him last weekend.
195 â€“ I see at least five potential state champs in the 195 pound class. This makes this bracket incredibly hard to predict but incredibly fun to watch. The top quarter bracket features semi state champ Jake Kleimola of Lake Central. Kleimola is ranked 6th and will face the winner of Carmelâ€™s Nick Fox and Brownsburgâ€™s Isaac McCormick. These two suburban Indy studs have met earlier in the season with the Greyhound winning a narrow 3-1 match.
The second group of four has Fort Wayne semi-state champ Corbin Maddox of Daleville. The Broncos are the third smallest school to send a wrestler to Bankerâ€™s Life and he will have a tough road to get through Cedrick Vakalahi of Penn and second ranked Ben Stewart of Indy Cathedral.
In the bottom half, Kurtis Wilderman appears to have a relatively clear path to the semi finals but might have to beat the talented Damari Embery of South Newton (the second smallest school to qualify a finalist) to reach the semis.
The bottom four includes three ranked wrestlers but â€˜T Squaredâ€™ Triston Tonte is the clear favorite due to his experience, talent and coaching.
220 â€“ Ahhhhâ€¦â€¦ after a few weight classes where the top two were located on the same side of the bracket, we have a match up where two national ranked big men are poised to wrestle under the lights. But this weight class features more than just the big two. All four semi state champs are undefeated and three of them are non seniors. This is good news for the future.
In the top half of the bracket, the semi state champs Mason Parris of Lawrenceburg and Evan Ellis of Eastern (Greentown) are a combined 90-0. Parris is ranked 2nd in the state and 19th in the country. Ellis will be looking to make his bones on Saturday afternoon.
The bottom half of the bracket features 3rd ranked Gunnar Larson of Avon. It seems like he has been around forever but he is still just a junior and comes into the state finals with a 39-0 record with a semi state crown to his name. He is likely to face returning state champ, Kobe Woods of Penn. Woods record is spotless at 33-0. Some have questioned if Kobe is as sharp as he needs to be to win this weight class. I would expect the senior to be ready to rock and roll this weekend.
285 â€“ Shawn Streck has been an absolute joy to watch perform the past four years. In many peopleâ€™s minds he is the finest heavyweight wrestler the state has ever produced. He is the best I have seen in the past 15 years. Unfortunately for 2nd ranked Cory Klem of Gibson Southern that he is in the same quarter bracket as Streck.
In a race for second, 6th ranked Robert Samuels of Lawrence North and 5th ranked Sean Galligar of Columbus East appear poised to match up in the semi finals for a shot to take on the big Pirate in the finals. Samuels would present a nice style contrast whereby Galligar might be able to match Streck for pure strength.