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  • 2015 State Finals Preview


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    Chad Hollenbaugh

    IndianaMat Senior Writer

     

    Cathedral Looks to Repeat, Red to Three-Peat

     

    A number of great storylines accompany this weekend’s festivities in Indianapolis at the 2015 IHSAA State Wrestling finals. The incredibly deep 120 weight class should have outstanding matches starting early Friday evening and contains this year’s most compelling in season rivalry between Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith and Brendan Black of Hobart. The 170 pound class is wide open with five to six wrestlers that can legitimately make a run for the top of the podium and the heavyweight bracket contains three Division One athletes at the top of the rankings.

    Although all three of these stories will quite compelling, two other stories have a special appeal. The team race currently has Penn High School in the pole position but last year’s champ, Indianapolis Cathedral, has the pieces in place to repeat should Penn falter. Other teams that should be in contention include Perry Meridian, Warren Central, Yorktown, and Avon.

    The second major story will be the Chad Red show. Unbeaten in his first two seasons of high school, Red is a heavy favorite to continue his dominance and win a third straight state championship. If anyone was unsure of just how great Red is, Cael Sanderson’s recent visit to New Palestine should remove any doubts. In his junior season, Red is currently ranked first in the country by Flo Wrestling and number three by Intermat. Much like Stevan Micic last year and Jason Tsirtsis before him, Red appears to be that type of wrestler that seems to be destined to be a factor at the next level.

     

    BREAKING IT DOWN

     

    106

    This year’s crop of flyweights contain the usual high number of new faces (9 freshmen) that look to make their bones on the Banker’s Life floor. Columbus East semi-state champ Graham Rooks, Hobart’s Tylor Triana and Avon’s Mason Miranda are the frosh poised to make the deepest run in this bracket.

     

    POLE POSITION (FAVORITE)

     

    COLTON CUMMINGS – LOWELL (41-1). Cummings will look to erase his Friday night memory of last year where he was pinned by Columbia City’s Hunter Langeloh in fifty nine seconds. Cummings has been nothing short of dominant (He has a win over Rooks) this year with his only loss coming while wrestling two weight classes up against Perry Meridian’s David Clayton.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER (RELATIVE UNKNOWN)

     

    JON ANDERSON – LAFAYETTE JEFF (47-2) and CAINAN SCHAEFER – SOUTH DEARBORN (45-2). Anderson was a surprise runner up at Merrillville where he looked very solid against competition with more press clippings. Schaefer wrestles in the southeast corner of the state and gets very little press but he had a break out performance at the New Castle semi state where he pinned highly regarded Klayton Anderson of Hamilton Southeastern. These two hard chargers may meet Saturday morning with a trip to the semis on the line.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL (BEST FRIDAY NIGHT MATCH UP)

     

    TYLOR TRIANA – HOBART (37-4) VS. MASON MIRANDA (20-5) – The winner here has a great opportunity to make a run to the finals. Triana is the higher ranked wrestler (5th vs 9th) but Miranda is wrestling very well and his team is in the hunt for state hardware.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Cummings.

     

    113

    East Noble’s Garrett Pepple has established himself as a force in this weight class but there is also outstanding depth here. Pepple season started with an All-American run at the pre-season Super 32 (4th) and has not been seriously tested. He currently holds top ten rankings nationally by both Flo and Intermat. Last year’s state runner up at 106, Paul Konrath of Mount Vernon seems to be wrestling with a bum leg but dominated the field at the Evansville semi state. Others looking to rain on Pepple’s parade include Hamilton Southeastern’s Austin Holmes, Penn’s undefeated Drew Hildebrandt and Fairfield’s Blake Glogouski (who has only lost to Pepple).

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    GARRETT PEPPLE – EAST NOBLE (42-0). All the pieces seem to be in place for the Indiana recruit. Pepple has experience (two runner-up finishes), training (teammate Conner Knapp and coach Andy Uhl), and confidence. If anyone were to topple Pepple, it would be considered a fairly substantial upset.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    BLAKE GLOGOUSKI – FAIRFIELD (49-2). Glogouski was knocked out in the ticket round last year but don’t be surprised if he has an outstanding weekend. The Falcon does have a brutal draw which might include Paul Konrath and Drew Hildebrandt to go along with Friday night’s tussle with New Pal’s Alec White.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    ALEC WHITE – NEW PALESTINE (40-4) VS. BLAKE GLOGOUSKI. White was one of the favorites to win the New Castle semi state but was pinned by Cathedral’s Skylour Turner in the semis. This set up the Friday night fight with Glogouski who finished second at Fort Wayne to Pepple.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Pepple.

     

    120

    This insanely deep class will be one of the best to watch starting on Friday night. Nearly a half dozen different wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the crown. Top ranked Breyden Bailey of Cathedral is undefeated and has won a couple of close matches with contender Cornelious Elliot of Perry Meridian. The state’s best in season rivalry between Brendan Black of Hobart and Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith could be played out one more time under the lights.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    BREYDEN BAILEY – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Bailey has run the table this season and Cathedral’s schedule is no joke. Hobart’s Black is as hot as any wrestler in the state right now. No easy draws in this bracket.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    TYLER FERGUSON – EVANSVILLE REITZ (10-2). Ferguson has a fifth place medal from last year and started the year ranked first. He has been out of action for most of the season and many thought a comeback was not in the cards. This Panther certainly has the skills to sound that siren.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    BRENDAN BLACK – HOBART (30-3) VS. WILL EGLI – MATER DEI (29-4). Two medalists match up on Friday night in this battle. Other Friday night matches between returning medalists include Elliot vs. Langeloh and Ferguson vs. Reitz. Wow!

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Bailey.

     

    126

    Whereas there was no front runner at 120, the 126 class is about as sure bet as any class this weekend. Chad Red of New Palestine has shown no weaknesses in his game. On his feet, Red dominates. On the mat, Red dominates. He is the complete package. The drama here is who will Red meet in the finals. Portage’s Gaige Torres, Perry Meridian’s Ngun Uk, East Noble’s Nathan Weimer and Cathedral frosh Zach Melloh all could be under the lights.

     

    POLE POSITION – CHAD RED – NEW PALESTINE (43-0). Red….’Nuff said.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    ZACH MELLOH – CATHEDRAL (36-7). Don’t call him Melloh Yellow, this Irish freshman has flown under the radar but has wrestled tough all season and run to the semi-finals is not out of the question.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    BRANDON TRUVER – LAKE CENTRAL (29-10) VS. DANIEL GUNSETT –BELMONT (32-9). Nineteen losses between these two does not mean either caught a break or were lucky in some way to qualify. These are two high quality kids that can beat anyone in the bracket not named Red.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Red.

     

    132

    Handicapping this bracket is much like the 126 bracket. All you have to do is substitute Mater Dei’s Nick Lee for Chad Red. Lee has been every bit as dominating as Red. The only difference is that Lee ran into the top wrestler in the country at 126 last year in Stevan Micic and finished third. The other side of the bracket offers up a few potential finalists in East Noble’s Conner Knapp, and Griffin Schermer of Bloomington South.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    NICK LEE – MATER DEI (31-0). Lee is currently ranked 4th and 6th in country by Intermat and Flo. He had to spend less than six minutes on the mat last Saturday in winning his second semi state crown. He should not be seriously tested this weekend. He IS that good.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    SAGE COY – DELTA (39-1). Coy has had a series of unfortunate events during his first two high school seasons and his move from the closed down Muncie South to Delta has brought better luck. Coy brings a high energy attack that should be highly entertaining to watch this weekend.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    CONNER KNAPP – EAST NOBLE (41-2) VS. AUSTIN BETHAL – MT. VERNON (37-4). Bethal shocked the state with his stunning pin of super frosh and second ranked Brayton Lee of Brownsburg. Standing in his path on Friday night is veteran stud Conner Knapp of East Noble. Knapp already has two state medals on his resume. Honorable mention goes to Westfield’s Evan Eldred vs. Merrillville semi state champ, Austen Laughlin of South Bend Riley.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Lee.

     

    138

    A third straight class where one wrestler stands above the field. Amazingly, that wrestler is not returning state champion Tommy Cash but it is Perry Meridian’s Brandon James. James has three top-5 medals to his name and national rankings of 9th and 12th. You can’t count out returning champ Cash even though he has been beaten a couple of times by James. Out of the south is freshman Joe Lee, who has taken down James earlier in the season during his only loss. Clarence Johnson of Merrillville is wrestling awesome right now and Maldonado Magic always seems to strike during the state finals weekend.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    BRANDON JAMES – PERRY MERIDIAN (41-0). James has been a formidable force in the Falcon line up and a threat to win a state title since his freshman season. The stars seem to be aligned for Coach Tonte’s star grappler this season. He will be relaxed, focused and motivated to win his first title on Saturday night.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    KYLE TODRANK – GIBSON SOUTHERN (43-3). Todrank is largely unknown but has progressed tremendously the past couple of years. He has wrestled Mater Dei super frosh Joe Lee tough the last couple of weeks.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    KASPER McINTOSH – PORTAGE (29-9) VS. CLAYTON MOORE – MANCHESTER (35-1). A four over one potential upset lurks here. Both are big and physical 138s who will mix it up. McIntosh is a freshman who wrestles one of the toughest schedules in the state. Moore is a returning qualifier from a small school where he rarely is tested.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – James.

     

    145

    We finally have a weight class where there is real drama involved. A nice Duneland conference rivalry has developed between returning runner up Jacob Covaciu of Merrillville and returning medalist Steven “Bam” Lawrence of Portage. Covaciu has a win over New Castle champ Trenton Pruitt of Warren Central on his resume. It’s strange to say but Yorktown’s Cael McCormick has kept a fairly low profile despite a dominating season where he often wrestled up a class. It would not be a huge upset if he were to topple Covaciu in the semi-finals.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    JACOB COVACIU – MERRILLVILLE (40-1). Despite his loss in the semi state championship match, Covaciu still has to be considered the front-runner in this class. Lawrence and McCormick are not that far back.

     

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    ANDREW HERRIN – JENNINGS COUNTY (46-2) – Herrin wrestled awesome last weekend at semi state. He avenged one of his regular season losses with a win over Castles Patrick Schnell. Along the way he put the hammer to Mater Dei’s Blake Jourdan. A deep state run would not be out of the question.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    EVAN SMILEY – BEECH GROVE (39-5) VS. ANTHONY VAUGHN – ELKHART MEMORIAL (40-3). Two stud seniors will face off on Friday night. Both have been previous state qualifiers and appear to be evenly matched. Expect a very tight match here.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – McCormick.

     

    152

    Tommy Forte of Mishawaka is the wrestler to beat at 152. He has not been tested this season and I would be surprised if anyone gives him much resistance this weekend. Tommy’s knee is a little dinged up but it doesn’t show and he cruised to the semi state title last weekend. The other side of the bracket holds a few potential finalists in Yorktown’s Dru Berkebile, Lebanon’s Kellen VanCamp, and Forte’s conference rival Jarod Swank of Penn. Evansville Central’s Isiah Kemper deserves mention as he is a three time state qualifier.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    TOMMY FORTE – MISHAWAKA (33-0). Forte is ranked 9th and 15th respectively by Intermat and Flo. He is wrestling next year for Buffalo and former coach Bryce Hasseman. It would be a huge upset if anyone were to beat Forte this year.

     

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    MARQUIS SCHIEBER – JIMTOWN (30-8). I saw Schieber wrestle during a couple of mid-season tournaments and frankly was quite disappointed. He looked disinterested and ready for it to end. After watching him at his conference meet, I saw a rebirth. Athletic and skilled this Jimmie is a difficult match up for anyone and has great momentum going into the state meet.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    ELIJAH DUNN – INDIAN CREEK (42-2) VS. JAROD SWANK – PENN (32-5). A contrast of styles between the funky Dunn and the controlled, methodical Swank should prove interesting. It will likely come down to who can impose their will on the other.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Forte.

     

    160

    Another weight class where the state’s top ranked wrestler also has national credentials and rankings on his resume. Lowell’s Drew Hughes is a favorite to become Lowell’s second state champ in 2015, joining Colton Cummings. He wrestled under the lights as a frosh and got spladled by Ty Fleenor last year on Saturday morning. Experience and motivation along with an unparalled ability to turn guys on top make Hughes a tough package to deal with.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    HUGHES – LOWELL (40-0). A clear front runner but must face Edgewood’s Gabe Koontz in the quarter finals and possible Delta’s Jacob Gray, Avon’s Brandon Helm or local rival Darden Schurg from Crown Point in the finals.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    TRISTAN GOERING – SOUTH BEND RILEY (37-11). Goering got an absolute great draw for a fourth place finisher and has a good chance to reach the semi-finals for coach Bill Flatt and the Wildcats.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    ADAM DODSON – JOHN GLENN (36-2) VS. ETHAN BRIGGEMAN – CARDINAL RITTER (36-4). Two evenly matched senior studs from lesser known programs make this an interesting matchup. Each will be fighting to get on that podium and wrestle on day two.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Hughes.

     

    170

    The furious five (Stevenson, Lydy, Jackson, Harvey, Mammolenti) became the splendid six after watching the Google Hangout with state’s ‘experts’. I am convinced that Lawrence North’s Cameron Jones has the goods to challenge for a title as well. It did appear that returning state champ Jacob Stevenson might have seriously injured his leg at semi-state. Let’s all hope he can end his high school career on the mat.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    DYLAN LYDY – BEN DAVIS (42-0). Lydy has wins over Stevenson, Jones and Dillon Jackson of Yorktown. This is just enough to edge Ben Harvey of Cathedral as the pre meet favorite. The top tier here is incredibly close and this should be one of the marquee weights to watch because just about any results are possible.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    CAMERON JONES – LAWRENCE NORTH (38-6) – If things fall right for Jones, he could find himself wrestling under the lights. However it shakes out, Jones has clearly put himself in position to be a serious state title threat as a senior next year.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    ISHMAEL CORNEJO – PORTAGE (29-7) VS. JACOB STEVENSON (34-6). Keep an eye on this match to see how last year’s state champ Jacob Stevenson is wrestling on his injured leg. He can’t expect any sympathy from Portage’s Cornejo.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Lydy.

     

    182

    Penn’s Chase Osborn is a returning state runner up and has been ranked #1 all season. That should make him the favorite to take home title but I have seen probably more variety of picks in this weight class than any other. Western’s Corey Hinkle, Chesterton’s Andrew Davison, Avon’s Evan Elmore and Lawrenceburg’s Mason Parris are all receiving some love as potential state champions. Osborn and Hinkle have the most experience, Elmore is coming in hot, and both Davison and Parris represent the future will be filled with great upper weight wrestling.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    CHASE OSBORN – PENN (35-0). As mentioned before, Osborn has experience under the lights and an unblemished record this year. This adds up to a number 1 ranking and front runner status.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    GAGE GARPOW – WINAMAC (37-3). Garpow was one of the big surprises of the Merrillville semi state. He had Osborn on the ropes in their match up and dominated state ranked Jake Kliemola of Lake Central.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    CONNER JAMES – RONCALLI (44-1) VS. ANDREW DAVISON – CHESTERTON (38-2). An absolutely brutal Friday night matchup between two wrestlers with three losses between them. The winner will get the honor of facing Western’s undefeated Corey Hinkle. A nasty quarter bracket.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Davison.

     

    195

    This is one of the few brackets that should hold chalk through the semi-finals with all four semi state champs winning. That does not mean that the winner is in much question at this weight class. Cathedral’s junior Blake Rypel season has been every bit as dominating as Chad Red or Nick Lee. He is just too explosive for anyone to handle in the state of Indiana. Mooresville’s Randy Scott, Perry Meridian’s Tristan Tonte and Yorktown’s Myron Howard will battle it out for the chance to meet Rypel under the lights.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    BLAKE RYPEL – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Rypel has the skills to lap the field here. Ranked seventh by Flo and tenth by Intermat, no one should challenge Rypel this weekend.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    TANNER BRADLEY – MISHAWAKA (26-4). Much like Sampson, there is much power in the hair of Tanner Bradley. Don’t get mesmerized by the mullet, Bradley is an athletic freak who can put you on your back at any time. A run to the finals is not out of the question for this Caveman.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    TRISTON TONTE – PERRY MERIDIAN (40-2) VS. MATT HEDRICK – PORTAGE (29-7). Tonte is a very exciting sophomore who will wrestle with no fear of the big stage. Hedrick wrestled smart tactical matches at semi state to earn his bid to Indy.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Rypel

     

    220

    The 220 class is led by preseason top ranked Kobe Woods of Penn. Woods has maintained that ranking by fashioning a perfect 40-0 record. In fact, Woods has even cracked the national rankings at #19 by Flo. This class is by no means a slam dunk (sorry) as several challengers could step up if Woods were to falter. Conference rival and returning state placer, Eliseo Guerra of Elkhart Central has had two tight matches with Woods. Warren Central Courvoisier Morrow was narrowly defeated by Woods at the Al Smith tournament.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    KOBE WOODS – PENN (40-0). The Penn big man has gone wire to wire and has the experience, skill and coaching to bring home the gold.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    EVAN ELLIS – EASTERN (44-2). Ellis was a ticket round causality last year and wrestling at small school Eastern has kept him off many people’s radar. He is a talented wrestler that could make a run deep in this bracket.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    BLAKE DAVIS – GARRETT (47-4) VS. MORGAN KRAL – CROWN POINT (36-2). Davis has been largely over shadowed by his higher ranked older brother but one could argue that Blake has had a slightly better season than his brother Bo. He will face Kral, who is looking for his first state medal and has a state champion older brother in Tyler Kral.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK - Woods

     

    285

    It looks like a two horse race for the big boys between nationally ranked top ten wrestlers Shawn Streck of Merrillville and Norman Oglesby of Ben Davis. There looks to be lots of purple under the lights on Saturday night. Both big men have state medals and lots of experience wrestling on Banker’s Life floor. Oglesby, a senior, has already accepted a football scholarship to Cincinnati while Streck is a junior who will likely have his pick of offers in both football and wrestling.

     

    POLE POSITION

     

    SHAWN STRECK – MERRILLVILLE (42-0). The bracket gods were kind to wrestling fans by putting Streck and Oglesby on opposite sides of this bracket.

     

    HUNGUS’ HARD CHARGER

     

    BRYCE BIDDLE – PLAINFIELD (30-3). Plainfield’s promising sophomore Bryce Biddle has had one of the toughest roads to qualify for state going clear back to his sectional. He got a nice draw and could parlay this to a semi-final trip in his sophomore campaign.

     

    FRIDAY’S BRICKYARD BRAWL

     

    QUINN YORK – FRANKLIN (40-4) VS. JASION BROGAN – WARREN CENTRAL (38-5). These two juniors are just a shade under the top tier heavyweights and will battle Friday night for state hardware.

     

    DRINKING THE MILK – Streck.



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