PLYMOUTH - At the Plymouth Sectional, 30 area wrestlers placed among the top four to advance to Saturday's Rochester Regional. Warsaw and Tippecanoe Valley each had eight qualifiers, while Wawasee and Triton had seven.
In addition, six area grapplers finished in fifth place and stand as alternates.
Warsaw had three champions: Jarred Brooks (103 pounds), Justin Brooks (119), and Adam Keener (152).
Also qualifying for the regional were a pair of Wawasee champions, Bobby Marcuccilli (130) and Tom Schwartz (215). Triton teammates Blake Hoffer (171) and Dylan Senff (189) were winners, while Tippecanoe Valley had a lone champion in Elijoe Yoder (160).
"It was good day for us," said Wawasee coach Scott DeHart. "With four in the finals and two champions, and of the 11 we entered, we have seven moving on to the regional. It was a good day."
Marcuccilli wrestled a little over two minutes in the sectional, winning both of his matches quite convincingly. In the semifinals he pinned Jake Wyatt of Rochester in 1:44. Then, in the finals, Austin Nelson of Valley fell in just 41 seconds.
Schwartz, who has returned to wrestling after a bit of a hiatus, had a semifinal pin en route to the finals. In this class of big, strong competitors, the Warrior senior made bold leg attacks, going in under and lifting his opponent to score four takedowns. Then after demonstrating total control with a 13-4 lead, he nailed Bremen's Abraham Hall at the 3:07 mark to take the championship.
Ethan Eastway (145) showed his substance in his two wins to reach the finals, pinning Erik Hoffman of Triton and beating Plymouth's Chris Erickson 13-9. The Warrior senior was no match for unbeaten Daniel Young of Culver Academy, however. Eastway took runner-up honors when Young won by fall in 1:44.
Wawasee freshman Dimitri Kaplanis (285) pinned Valley's Sam Kimmel in 36 seconds in the semifinal match, but then Kaplanis had to settle for second place when he was upended by Damon Howe of Plymouth in 1:43.
Sam Davis has been coaching the sport for about 40 years by his reckoning. For the most part, he was pleased Saturday.
"We had some good results, and some that didn't get up to where we needed to be," said Davis. "But all in all, team-wise it is pretty much where we figured we would be."
In two successive weight classes the Triton Trojans struck pay-dirt. First, Blake Hoffer (171) made his way to the finals by pinning Cory Glietz of Culver Academy in 49 seconds. Then the 16-1 senior beat Phillip Miller of Rochester in a 9-0 major decision. Hoffer went on to win the championship with a 9-3 decision over Culver Community's Robert Molebash.
Then Dylan Senff, who earlier this season had been competing at 160 pounds, stepped up into the heftier 189-pound class and blew away Will Connelly of Rochester, and then in the semifinal he scored a tech fall against Culver Community's Jacob Sheridan. To close the day, he controlled Plymouth's Brock Vermillion 7-0 to take first place.
Elijoe Yoder was the 160-pound champ for the Valley Vikings. Yoder pinned Plymouth's Sam Tomasik in 2:33 to reach the finals. Yoder won the championship when he edged upstart Warsaw Tiger Zac Erba 4-3.
As a team, the Vikings finished third.
"It has been our best finish in while," said Valley Scott Smith. "I thought we wrestled well today, although there some times when we were a bit sluggish. Some of the kids hadn't wrestled for a couple of weeks due to injuries, but they came back and wrestled strong."
Valley had a couple of runners-up. After winning a 4-3 decision to reach the finals, Austin Nelson (130) was runner-up to Wawasee's Marcuccilli. Later, top-seeded Isaac Yoder (152) had a major decision and a fall in his path to the championship round, but the Viking sophomore lost there to Keener of Warsaw.
"We had a really successful competition today, especially with this young group," said Warsaw coach Justin Smith. "We have eight moving on and we won quite a few close matches."
Jarred Brooks was one of three participants in the 103-pound weight class who started the day with only one loss. Brooks pinned his first opponent in under a minute, before meeting Triton's 26-1 Matt Lindsey in the semifinal. The Tiger freshman scored the fall with a banana split in 59 seconds.
In the finals Brooks encountered Rochester's Jacob Schroder (35-1), who also had two falls on the day. The score was tied at four apiece in the final stanza, but Brooks scored an escape with just seven seconds on the clock to win the championship with a 5-4 decision, improving his season record to 32-1.
Still unbeaten on the season at 31-0 is Justin Brooks (119) who faced a rather weak field in the Plymouth Sectional. None of the other participants at 119 pounds had a winning record and Brooks, in his usual attack mode, racked up scads of takedowns before dispatching both of his opponents. Brooks earned his fourth sectional championship by scoring a dozen takedowns before locking up Nolan Ludwig of Plymouth at 3:36.
Adam Keener (152) nabbed a sectional championship for Warsaw by means of an earlier fall and tech fall. The finals saw the Tiger senior score an opening-period takedown against Isaac Yoder of Valley. Period two was scoreless and then a 5-1 flurry in the closing period gave Keener the win.
Two of the Tigers finished in second place. Paul Manbu (135) had a tough loss in a rematch with Plymouth's Chase Lewandowski. Manbu had a couple of falls en route to the finals where he met Lewandowski, whom he had beaten earlier in the season. This time, Manbu was edged 4-2 in overtime to take second place.
Zac Erba (160) was also a runner-up, edged out by Valley's Isaac Yoder.
In the past, both the first- and second-place teams in the sectional would advance to the next round of the team tournament. However, a new IHSAA policy was established this past November and only the first-place team moves forward in the team competition. The team tournament is scheduled for Wednesday at Jimtown, where the sectional champion Rockies will meet perennial powerhouse Mishawaka.
The next competition for area wrestlers will be the individual regional at Rochester Saturday, fed by the top four placers in each weight class from the Mishawaka and Plymouth sectionals. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m.