By Dustin Bentz
It’s that time of year!!! Triple B feels like WWE Hall of Famer Booker T, he’s walking down the streets of North Vernon and Madison Yelling, “CAN YOU DIG IT, SUCCCKKKAAAHHHHH”
It’s me, it’s me, it’s TripleB and I’m here to deliver the World Famous TRIPLEB EVANSVILLE SEMI-STATE SPECTACULAR PREVIEW!!!!!!
With good old 3B’s birthday being the Friday before, is there a better gift than the GREATEST SEMI-STATE IN THE STATE OF INDIANA??
Evansville will be popping off Saturday, I’m actually negotiating with the IHSAA to go ahead and send us the state medals b/c we all know that THE DIRTY SOUTH SEMI-STATE is the GOLD STANDARD!!!
House keeping items -
Here is the link for the Indianamat Semi-State Hub -
From our former inside man Markio - Ford Arena info:
- Parking and general information about the arena can be found at www.thefordcenter.com
- Wrestlers can enter the arena at 7:30am for weigh-ins. Wrestlers and coaches will enter at the interior ticket office lobby (to the far right of the main lobby doors) to check in and head back. You will pick up your credentials here.
- The only coolers allowed are for wrestlers and must enter at the check in table through the interior ticket lobby. NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINK for anyone else is allowed inside unfortunately. Not my rules, just standard building policy.
- Public doors open at 8:00am CST. Enter on Main Street through the main lobby. We will look to create a separate door/entrance for those that already have tickets. $12 dollars for all session ticket, $10 for finals only.
- There is NO onsite parking. Please do not have any team vehicles attempt to park in the loading dock or attached outer lot. These are reserved spots.
- There is no public Wi-Fi.
- Please do not jump over the dasher walls to access the floor. They try to control access to the floor, so you need to enter from the lower level hallway under section 103. You wouldn't jump the wall at Gainbridge would you? lol
- The hospitality room for officials, etc. will be in the Corner Club. Enter from the main lobby and hang a right at the lower level hallway.
- If you are going to set up a camera please do not have the cord running across the aisle. You will be made to unplug any cords running across an aisle.
- We will have full concessions available throughout the day. Coffee and hot chocolate are also available all day as well. (get the bbq pork nachos, huge and awesome)
- There is no smoking on or in the Ford Center property, this includes e-cigarettes.
- Brackets will be updated throughout the day and posted on several of the 170 or so TVs located all over the arena. The brackets end up kind of small, but hey, they are everywhere and pretty cool.
- Lastly,if you are a wrestler that loses please don't kick,throw,or punch Ford Center property. We had a kid break off a door handle last year.Sent the bill to the school.
Nestled between two days of absolute Love (3B’s birthday on Thursday and Valentine’s Day on Tuesday) 224 grapplers will be battling to GAIN 56 tickets to the Bridge in Indianapolis next weekend!!
Let’s not pull any punches, Evansville is the toughest Semi-State in the state. There were kids getting sent home at regionals that could have placed at state and the same will happen this weekend. It will be absolute Carnage, Chaos, and Heartbreak. 176 Semi-State ranked wrestlers, 107 of whom are also state ranked will take to the Ford Center Saturday with more excitement than the pre-teens at the Jo-Jo concert the night before. We have the potential to feature, 4, yes 4 #1 vs. #2 state ranked wrestlers. We also have 7 of the 14 #1 ranked wrestlers in the state in our semi-state.
How does this work - The exclusive Evansville Championship Selection Committee (ECSC) spent 2 days in hard deliberations over their Ford Fab 4 picks. Each member selected their ballot, points were accumulated, and from there the picks started falling into place.
The Charles Barkley “Turrible” Draws - ticket round matches that shouldn’t be happening in the ticket round!
The Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - Best first round matches!
The Built Ford Tough Locks - Any weight class where the pick for champion was unanimous, makes it a Ford Tough Lock. This year we have, what may be a record, 10 yes 10 FORD TOUGH LOCKS!
Ford Fab 4 - After the picks were gathered, points distributed, and the dust settled, we’ll have the Ford Fab 4.
A big shout out to Navy80, BigToe19, a mystery guest picker, and The DONNIE BAKER for their contributions. I will add some commentary throughout from our great pickers.
What if I didn’t agree with the ECSC or I thought they made a terrible error? Then have no fear - The TripleB Guarantee will help you sort out the madness.
Before we get started….. Is this the year for siblings??? Or are some cousins??? Or maybe Uncle/Nephews??
BigToe did some digging and came up with the following families, good luck this weekend!
Ash Brothers - Monrovia
Bell Brothers - Ev North
Haines Brothers - BBurg
Heaston Brothers - Indian Creek
Henderson Brothers - Vincennes Lincoln
Rioux Brothers - Avon
Rose Brothers - Switz County
Schoeff Brothers - Avon
Smith Siblings - Heritage Hills ( Brother/Sister ???)
VanOver Brothers - EMD
*Clement Brothers- Merrillville/Edgewood
BigToe Regional Breakdown based off his predictions (will slightly differ from the selections ahead):
Bigtoe19 Regional Breakdown:
Mooresville - 25 to State, & 7 EVSS Champs
Bloomington- 11 to State, 3 EVSS Champs
Jeffersonville- 6 to State, 1 EVSS Champ
Evansville- 14 to State, 3 EVSS Champs
Without further ado—--------LET’S FREAKIN’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
106: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 7/9
All 10 SS ranked wrestlers have navigated the waters! Every year we talk about future hammers and blue bloods filling out 106. This year is no different as names like Bloomington High School South, Avon, Brownsburg, Columbus East, and Floyd Central all litter the bracket. But there are some schools hoping to be bracket busters!
106 also welcomes our first of record 10 Ford Tough LOCKS!!!
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Freshman from Columbus East Talon Jessup has had a great year, Brennan Leonard has been lurking in the shadows w/ an injury and brings 6-3 record to SS. This match will kick things off Saturday!! Another rising program, Indian Creek, will bring Jude Heaston to the Ford and a first round match w/ Brady Byrd from Washington should be the caffeine everyone needs Saturday morning!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - LET THE MOORESVILLE CHAOS BEGIN!!! The Mooresville Regional, or the fifth semi-state as those #County folks have started referring to it, which always causes death draws. #4 SS ranked and returning State Participant Cameron Meier from Bloomington South will take on Monrovia’s Super Sophomore Gavin Ash. Could they both punch tickets if in a different bracket? Don’t know but this match will be great!
Don’t sleep on…. Gavin Ash, as mentioned above. Nate Rioux, he’s wrestled Dickman approximately 1000 times and both are Contender trained. But keep an eye on The Castle Regional duo of Ty Henderson from Vincennes Lincoln and Brady Byrd from Washington. Both are battle tested and compete on the national level. Byrd and Dickman aren’t strangers and that match could be entertaining!
Ford Fab 4 - Our first Ford Tough Lock - Revin Dickman of Brownsburg hopes to get Bulldogs from Brownsburg going early!
1st - LOCK Revin Dickman Brownsburg, 2nd - Nate Rioux Avon, 3rd - Isaac Campbell Floyd Central 4th - Cameron Meier Bloomington High School South
113: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 6/8
A returning LOCK that is ranked #1 in the state and #1 in the semi-state…. And he’s not a lock, nor is he favored! 5 top ten state ranked wrestlers will look for top honors at 113 and up until a week ago returning SS champ Preston Haines of Brownsburg appeared to have it locked up again. Then the Trojans of Center Grove came a’callin, and Charlie LaRocca helped pull the weight class and regional upset! This weight class is loaded and 3 different wrestlers all got votes to win it; Haines, LaRocca and Avon’s Luke Rioux.
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - #9SS ranked and regional champ Gavin Wheeler from North Posey got a Curtain Jerker and turrible draw as he gets #8 state ranked Isaac Ash from Monrovia. Wheeler is tough and North Posey wrestles a great schedule, don’t expect him to lay down for Ash!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - Sound the FLIPPIN Sirens…. Call the EVPD, actually don’t, I follow a page called Evansville Watch and they need their own TV show, anway…. We got 2 returning state medalists going at it in the ticket round!!! #6 ranked Jackson Heaston has gone out and got challenges all season at whatever weight he wanted. #4 Luke Rioux comes from the battle hardened Contender Academy and Rioux family….. Someone really has to go home?!?!?!
Don’t sleep on…. Hold on, I’m still gathering myself…. Don’t sleep on the dream dashers known as the IHSAA!!!
Ford Fab 4 - It’s the first Mooresville Sweep!!! LaRocca gets the nod and the rest play out like last weekend
1st - Charlie LaRocca Center Grove, 2nd - Preston Haines Brownsburg, 3rd - Luke Rioux Avon, Isaac Ash Monorovia
TRIPLEB_GUARANTEE - Preston Haines gets the W back and gets another SS crown.
120: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 7/9
120 features a returning semi-state champ, state champ, who hasn’t lost in the state of Indiana in over a year, has to be a lock right? NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!! Jake Hockaday is the presumptive favorite but some pickers think a Wildcat can take out a Bulldog. This weight class features 4 top ten ranked wrestlers not all are favorites to get out!
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker: Lane Gilbert has lots of state, national and even world medals. He definitely has his eyes set on finally climbing that podium next weekend, but will that cause him to overlook Cascade Cadet #23 ranked Logan Bickel? Another great first round match will feature SS #8 ranked Quinten Q Schoeff vs #10 ranked Cameron Fogle from Southridge. Fogle is a sectional champ who dropped a decision loss to Gilbert last weekend.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - See below…..
Don’t sleep on…. Switzerland County wrestling has been quietly putting together the pieces for a run for a few years now. Freshman Peyton Richards comes into Semi-State undefeated and has collected a sectional and regional championship. Trips has been trying to tell people but no one will listen!!
Ford Fab 4: Hockaday gets enough to cover followed by Mater Dei’s Isaiah Schaefer (we didn’t even mention him, he did get a vote to knock off Hock), Gilbert, and Richards
1st - Jake Hockaday Brownsburg, 2nd - Isaiah Schaefer, Evansville Mater Dei, 3rd - Lane Gilbert Sullivan, 4th Eddie Goss Center Grove
DONNIE BAKER AND TRIPLEB’S BET THE BOAT - Peyton Richards becomes Switzerland County’s first ever state qualifier… and won’t be the only Pacer going.
126: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 7/10
Our 2nd LOCK at 126 and is 2x state medalist, 2x semi state finalist and a champ 2 years ago, Evansville Mater Dei’s Evan Seng. Seng has been rolling through the state tourney w 4 falls, 1 tech and 1 major. He is the heavy favorite Saturday. Yearly 126 is one of the deepest weight classes and 2023 is no different as there are some absolute hammer matches in the both first rounds and the ticket round.
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Both #8 Josiah Dedeaux of Terre Haute South and #7 Keith Parker of Ben Davis didn’t like how their seasons ended a year ago and went to work. They’ve wrestled all over the country. They have grown leaps and bounds. Dedeaux was knocked out of regionals last year by Floyd’s Vince Kessinger and this year he knocked off Kessinger for third place. Parker has flip flopped matches w/ Landen Haines the last two weekends. This match has all the makings of a barn burner, unfortunately the winner gets the LOCK Seng.
Another lights out curtain jerker features returning state qualifier Dominic McFeely from Cascade taking on super soph from 3 time 1A state champs Tell City Chase Stephens. Can the Marksmen keep rolling or will the Cadet triumph?
ANNNNDDD Hold on one more match! Brownsburg’s Landen Haines will go at it w/ Vince Kessinger from Floyd. Throw the rankings away, these dudes wrestle w/ multiple siblings. I can’t even imagine what Thanksgiving looks like at either of their houses. The Kessinger Kids, the Haines Bros…. Battles and that will come into play Saturday. Kessinger has home run capabilities and Landen can’t wait to get his Haines on…wait, bad joke, nevermind…. Don’t miss this match!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - The winner of McFeely/Stephens won’t have long to rest b/c CE’s returning state qualifier Liam Krueger waiting for them. Krueger has wins over both, though just a 2 pt decision over Stephens.
Corydon’s Zane Schreck has been on a mission all year, last weekend he beat Krueger convincingly, Krueger has Dub over Yeager. One of these two are going home!
Don’t sleep on…. Hell is there anybody I haven’t mentioned?? Yeah there is, Remember the headlocks heard around the world last year? I guarantee Seth Cowden does, he was winning 11-0 heading into the 3rd period when Jarred Dunn dropped the boom. Last weekend Cowden lost in OT to Chase Stephens. You think that dude is happy right now? He could send Yeager and Schreck packing Saturday!
Ford Fab 4: A grinder of a bracket after Seng, Krueger, Haines and Schreck all still standing at the end
1st - Evan Seng Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd Liam Krueger Columbus East, 3rd Landen Haines Brownsburg, 4th Zane Schreck, Corydon Central
132: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 8/8
Here’s what we know about 132 - It’s Joey’s world and we are just trying to keep up, and after that all bets are off. Joey Buttler from Whiteland is our next LOCK as the 2x state medalist and returning Semi-State champ looks to rule the bracket. The bottom half bracket is insane. Past turrible draw recipients from last year Coy Hammack from Tell City and Justice Thornton from Columbus North both hope to avoid being on the bad side of the draws.
Hammack is a 2x qualifier, 1x medalist and was upended last year.
Thornton is now a 2x regional champ for Columbus North.
Both have Mooresville Regional draws in the form of Seth Syra and Brady Ison.
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - Floyd Central Freshman Hunter Banet and Jennings County’s Lane Kirchner is a homer pick for old 3B, two HHC foes going at it! Kirchner won the HHC in January, Banet took third but they didn’t cross paths.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Coy Hammack has a celebrated career, but the grinder of Evansville doesn’t care about celebrations. In what might be one of the worst (or best??) ticket round match ups ever he gets Brownsburg 2x State Qualifier Brady Ison. It’s a shame someone’s season and possibly career ends here Saturday. This is also what makes Evansville the absolute best SS in the state.
Don’t sleep on…. Seth Syra, Avon. He was a ticket rounder last year and has a 1-0 win over Thornton this year. The pickers went w/ Thornton but can Seth Syra put a stamp on his earlier season win? Also Odin Fortune from Reitz has never been able to punch his ticket, the pickers say he will do just that this year, but will his fortune reveal more than just a state finals birth?
Ford Fab 4 - Buttler, Hammack gets the nod, Thornton gets the nod and Fortune
1st - Joey Buttler Whiteland, 2nd - Coy Hammack Tell City, 3rd - Odin Fortune Evansville Reitz, 4th - Justice Thornton Columbus North.
138: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 8/10
Cheaney Schoeff is the star of this weight class. He’s a 3x state semi-finalist, defending semi-state champ is looking to finish off his career with a state ‘ship next weekend. He’s also LOCK #4!
With all 10 ranked SS wrestlers in the bracket there are a number of bangers to open this weight class and some possibly good Ticket round matches. Another Pacer punching his ticket and WildCat helping out a Bulldog?!?! 138 is LOADED!!
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Interesting 1 vs 4 to get things going Trevor Hott is ranked 18th in the state but not ranked in the semi-state. Gabe Rose is ranked 10th in the state, has beaten everyone he’s wrestled as he’s walked through the state tourney but isn’t ranked in the state!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - Not really turrible draws, but some great blood round matches here - Rose/Hott winner vs #8/#4 Branson Weaver. Weaver has had tough L’s in the state tourney, but not an impossible draw here.
Skip down to #12/#5 Kelby Glenn, a tough 2 loss senior from Tell City and Freshman Phenom from Brownsburg #3/#2 Parker Reynolds. This match will be good, and a turrible draw!!!
Don’t sleep on…. Evansville Mater Dei’s Tyler Vanover has a “Dub” over Reece Courtney in a barn burner at Team State. This is another ticket round match.
Ford Fab 4 - Schoeff is a LOCK, two upsets on paper as Rose edges out Weaver and Vanover gets one on Courtney, Parker Reynolds punches his first ticket
1st - Cheaney Schoeff Avon, 2nd - Parker Reynolds Brownsburg, 3rd - Tyler Vanover Evansville Mater Dei, 4th - Gabe Rose Switzerland County
145: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 6/9
Center Grove’s Wyatt Krejsa was one of the highlights last year when he won his ticket round match by fall in 30 seconds. There’s no surprises this year as Krejsa is our 5th LOCK.
After that there are some great first round and ticket round matches as this weight features all 10 SS ranked wrestlers, w 9 being ranked in the state. Can my boy, TripleB Trained Braedon Spears come out of one of the toughest quarter brackets and finally punch his ticket?!?!
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - State ranked wrestlers right out of the gates!!! #18 Alex Smith was winning his first round match a year ago when he got cradled with under a minute to go. Braedon Spears was up 3-2 w/ 14 seconds to go in his ticket round match when a shredded knee and reversal ended his season. With heartbreaks on their minds, these grapplers have each other in this highlight Curtain Jerker! The winner gets tough Jeffersonville Senior Bradley Owen. They both own wins over Owen but Owen is on fire right now. This will be a great ticket round match!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Cash Turner just became Edgewood’s first ever 4 time regional champion, a 2x state finalist and would be a three timer if not for Brownsburg…. Who he happens to have this year in Bulldog Sophomore Mason Day. They are both ranked top 4 in Semi State and top 12 in the state.
Don’t sleep on…. Bradley Owen as mentioned above and Tell City Senior Brayden Lain. The pickers like Luke Robards from Evansville Central but Tell City’s season has been magic, don’t count Lain out!
Ford Fab 4 - Another weight, another LOCK - Kresja, Spears, Turner ekes out Day, and Robards
1st - Wyatt Kresja Center Grove, 2nd Braedon Spears Madi…err.. Plainfield, 3rd - Cash Turner Edgewood, 4th - Luke Robards Evansville Central
TRIPLEB_GUARANTEE - My man crush on Mater Dei is well documented, but what has stayed hidden is my affinity for my boy JMILL and Brownsburg - Give me Day over Turner.
152: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 8/9
3 returning state qualifiers, another LOCK, and what could be a wide open quarter bracket highlight 152.
2x state medalist and a semi-finalist last year, Mater Dei’s Hunter May is the next WildCat LOCK joining teammate Wyatt Seng. The WildCats aren’t being heavily talked about which is weird, but these two LOCKS hope to pull off some hometown magic!
The rest of the bracket will feature 3 great ticket round matches and another school hoping for their first ever state qualifier.
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Terre Haute South Senior and 24th state ranked Luke May is making his first trip to Semi-State, Jeff’s Senior Hayden Bartle is making this third trip to Ford, well Jasper/Ford, whatever. These seniors would both like to keep their seasons rolling into the quarters!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - 2 turrible draws - Greencastle Senior Chase Carrington is probably underranked (17/7) as he won the always tough Mooresville Regional. Tyce DuPont is a returning state qualifier that ran into Evan Roudebush last weekend. That leaves these two dudes duking it out here w/ a trip to Gainbridge on the line.
Speaking of Roudebush and that tough Mooresville Regional, Silas Stits of Center Grove hit a road bump last weekend named Gage Eckels from Ben Davis. Now we get the turrible draw of two top ten ranked wrestlers in the state as Stits will take on Roudebush for a chance to advance!!
Don’t sleep on…. And speaking of Gage Eckels, the Giant might be already making plans for state but West Washington Senior Wyatt Johnston along w/ teammate Mason Jones gave the Senators their first wrestling regional championships last weekend. Don’t sleep on Johnston punching that ticket!
Ford Fab 4 - LOCK Down May, Dupont in a nailbiter, Eckels, and Roudebush gets the nod
1st - Hunter May Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd - Evan Roudebush Bloomington South, 3rd - Tyce DuPont Tell City, 4th - Gage Eckels Ben Davis
TripleB GUARANTEE: Center Grove shocked the state last weekend when they upended Brownsburg for a regional title. If the Trojans wanna add a SS title, they need Stits. Give me Stits!
160: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 5/8
Jeb Prethcel has put himself together a season - 33-0, Bo Henry Champ, SIAC champ, Spartan Champ and has made it unscathed to Evansville. Will Evansville be his undoing? NOPE, ANOTHER LOCK FOR THE JASPER WILDCAT!!
Outside of that there is what might be the most fun quarter bracket in the tourney and some great blood matches
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Just highlight this quarter bracket as anything can happen - Charlestown’s Braden Moore, Mooresville’s Corbin Scott, Cale Hickok from Bloomington North, and Peyton Bell from Evansville North. The votes for the winner of the quarter bracket were split between Hickock and Bell, which means this first match could feature a state qualifier!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - 2 years in a row Cascade’s Michael Hutchinson has shown he has all the tools to be a medalist and now 2 years in a row the bracket gods have not been kind. This year he gets Jeb Pretchel, the weight class LOCK. Great kid, Great family (his dad introduced me to Hey Dudes like 6 years ago!) Come On HUTCH!!!
Don’t sleep on…. Decatur Central Junior David Oybode spent some of the year at 170 before coming down, Luke Kemper is a stud. But don’t count out Oybode!
Ford Fab 4 - LOCK Precthel, Center Grove’s Andre Merritt (The reason Hutch has the death draw), Kemper, and Hickok gets the nod
1st - Jeb Prechel Jasper, 2nd - Andre Merritt Center Grove, 3rd - Luke Kemper Evansville Central, 4th - Cael Hickok Bloomington North
TripleB GUARANTEE: Give me Peyton Bell, he has SS experience, tough Evansville area.
170: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 5/8
Hey we finally don’t have a LOCK….. Just kidding, Delaney Ruhlman is as close to LOCK as one gets. He’s a 3 time state qualifier and returning two time runner up. He’s on a mission… Gold medal in his sight.
There’s an interesting quarter bracket brewing as rumors swirl about Noah Clouser and his knee. How bad is it? Will he give it a go? Will he pull out? How does this affect the weight and quarter bracket?
A freshman looking to make a splash, Heritage Hills Jett Goldsberry has had some good wins and puzzling losses. Can the frosh put it together and become a State Qualifier?
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - SS #6 ranked Noah Sumner from Martinsville and #7 Spencer Turner from Mater Dei will be competitive, unfortunately the winner gets Ruhlman.
And watch the quarter bracket featuring Regional Champ Teagan Trotter from Jennings Co, Maddox Vernon from Southridge, Austin Bell from Evansville North, and Noah Clouser from Center Grove. If Clouser pulls out, all bets are off and it’s a free for all. Man, maybe even if his knee is banged up bad enough it might be free for all.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - SS ranked #3 Vincent Tinoco from Whiteland and SS ranked #4 Noah Terry from Tell City will hook up in the Quarters. Winner goes to state, the loser goes home. Turrible, Turrible, Turrible draw!!!
Don’t sleep on…. Noah Clouser, yeah he’s picked to get through but w all eyes on him and his coaches planning all week, the Trojan might just figure out how to get through and survive!
Also don’t count out Teagen Trotter from Jennings County. Trotter is a Regional Champ and w/ Clouser banged up, can an unranked Trotter be the beneficiary of the bad luck?
Ford Fab 4 - Lock Lock Lock Denlany Ruhlman from Bloomington South, Clouser figures it out, Tell City gets another and Goldsberry JETTS through!
1st - Delaney Ruhlman Bloomington South, 2nd - Jett Goldsberry Heritage Hills, 3rd - Noah Clouser Center Grove, 4th - Noah Terry Tell City
Donnie Bakers Bet the Boat Shocker of Saturday - Jasper’s Victor Peter gets to workout w/ Jeb Precthel every day….. Victor will be the VICTOR over Goldsberry and advance. Take that Randy!
182: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 7/12
After a run of 7 straight LOCKS, Navy80 said naaahhhhh enough of that. The LOCK wasn’t top SS ranked Caden Brewer but rather Highlander Bray Emerine, Navy likes Brewer.
This weight class does appear to be a 2 horse race w/ Emerine and Brewer, but there could be several spoilers littered throughout the bracket. Jackson Fox made his 182 debut at sectionals and promptly knocked off always game Van Skinner two weeks in a row. Speaking of Skinner, a two time ticket rounder who took John Purdy to the limit last year in the first round of SS. This is Skinner’s last chance, can he knock off Emerine in the ticket round?
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - This is the first weight class were nothing really jumps off the page. The only opening match between two ranked wrestlers is Emerine vs. #9 Alex Ramsey of Ben Davis.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Call me a homer…. Van Skinner is a stud that has shown multiple times he could be on the podium. His SS draw has gone - Gabe Sollars, Gabe Sollars, John Purdy. This year he gets Bray Emerine. It’s a turrrrrrrrrilble draw….. for Emerine as the Madison Cub finally punches that ticket (*Warning those thoughts are those strictly of TripleB)
Don’t sleep on…. Richard Alexander, on paper, would be the favorite over Jackson Fox. It’s more of an issue that the Olympian dropped late and I just wasn’t sure where to place him. Fox is the favorite, Alexander has big moves and has had a great year. Don’t sleep on Alexander getting one over Fox here.
Donnie Baker was either in a meat coma by this point of just sleeping but he stirred and started yelling “Johnson, JOHNSON I SAY!!” I asked him what he meant and like a bear he arose and bellowed “I SAID CALE JOHNSON OVER WEEMS!!”
Ford Fab 4 - Despite Navy 80’s Pleas, Donnie’s Demands, and TripleB Guarantees - Emerine is the favorite, followed by Weems, Brewer and Fox
1st - Bray Emerine Floyd Central, 2nd - Julian Weems Center Grove, 3rd - Caden Brewer Brownsburg, 4th - Jackson Fox Columbus East
195: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 5/10
After taking a small detour of a weight class without a lock, we have resumed our normal activities with our 9th LOCK, Castle’s John Purdy. Purdy is pretty good and a 2x time state medalist. He’s currently ranked #1 in the state and SS.
Purdy might be a lock, but weight class features the #1, #2, #3 and #7 state ranked wrestlers.
Brownsburg’s Gunnar Henry is a returning state semi-finalist, Purdy is a 2x medalist,Southridge’s Reid Schroeder is a 2x qualifier and a medalist last year. Kaden McConnel from Center Grove knocked off Henry last weekend! The semis here should be lights out!
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - SS#5 Blake Driver from Whiteland vs SS#8 Parker Hart from Heritage Hills will be entertaining. The only other first round match of SS ranked wrestlers is #7 Stevie Drake vs #1 Purdy.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Another homer selection - Scottsburg Sophomore Bryson TANK Mata is an alum of the Bentz DoJo. He’s 42-1 and won both Sectionals and Regionals in dominating fashion, pinning everyone. Imagine if Gunnar Henry had stayed at Pekin Eastern? These two would have battled multiple times! Now these sophomores will go at it for a chance to go to state. Turrible draw for……. Henry!!!!
Don’t sleep on…. It only took 12 weights to get here, but this our first “chalk” weight where the pickers all picked the same 4 kids to advance. There were some disagreements on the order that’s about it
Ford Fab 4 - LOCK and Chalk - Purdy, Henry, McConnel, Schroeder
1st - John Purdy Castle, 2nd - Reid Schroeder Southridge, 3rd Gunnar Henry Brownsburg, 4th - Kaden McConnell Center Grove
220: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 6/10
STOP THE PRESSES… STOP THE PRESSES…. After having everything ready and my TRIPLEB_Guarantee of Clay Martin ready, he’s disappeared!!! Abracadabra!! Gone!! Good thing I was the odd man out and I blame it on my wildcat obsession. We also do not have a lock here, with 3 returning State Qualifiers and no medalists, it’s a 3 man between Tommy 220, Alex Kissed By A Rose, and Nate “Dog” Johnson! Also a dark horse looms at 220 as Tecumseh Senior Mason Hines brings in a 34-2 record along w/ a Old Capitol Classic, PAC, Sectional and Regional. Despite all that, he’s not ranked in the Semi-State…. Yeah I messed up…
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Give me #9 Spencer Watson from Tri-West and #10 Malachi Rios from Charlestown. Both have 30 plus wins, the winner gets Mason HInes and they both have to feel like that was the best draw possible.
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws -Eli Henshaw is a2 time Semi-State Quarter finalists. He’s battled all year w/ Alex Rose - They both have 2 wins over each other. But Rose’s wins have came at Sectionals and Regionals. This leaves Hinshaw, ranked #8 in state and #3 in Semi State, taking on #8/#2 Nate Johnson from Center Grove in the ticket round. Two big boys going at it, this is Hinshaw's last shot… Trips says FIREWORKS BABY!!!!!
Don’t sleep on…. Jakarrey Oliver of Whiteland has been in the talks of being a state qualifier for a few years. This year he just hasn’t been able to solve Nate Johnson. Good news is, he doesn’t have Nate Johnson, he has Alex Rose. I wouldn’t look past Oliver, he’s tough and capable of grabbing the Dub.
Ford Fab 4 - Tommy 220 was almost a lock, but Alex Rose got some gold love. They are followed by Johnson and Hines
1st - Tommy 220 Morrill Columbus East, 2nd - Alex Rose Terre Haute South, 3rd - Nate Johnson Center Grove, 4th - Mason Hines Tecumseh
Joe, Joe, Joe don’t ya know - Secret guest picker says Hinshaw over Johnson!
285: State ranked/Semi State ranked = 6/10
Let’s just get this out of the way, Leighton Jones should be going for his third state championship. I refuse to acknowledge 2 years ago and I wasn’t around last year. So in Trips eyes, he IS a 2x state champ. He’s a 4x sectional, 3x regional, 2x SS and now a 3x LOCK!
This is also a weird bracket where one wrestler got more people votes, but another got more points. That’s the only time this happened in 2023. HWT also had 7 unique individuals get votes, also the most of any weight class in 2023.
Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - Don’t run to the bathroom yet… there’s some matches here worth sticking around for. #6 Hunter Kolley from Heritage Hills and #10 Ben Land from Jeffersonville will feature two big dudes looking for big moves. Land was an ISWA Cadet Triple Crowner a year ago.
Here’s another interesting one - SS #7 Ben Craig has two losses, both to Patrick McMahon from Columbus East. He’ll take on State ranked #15 (but not ranked in SS) Austin Vanover from Mater Dei. Some like Vanover to move on!
Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Columbus East Heavyweight Senior Patrick McMahon is in his first year of being a varsity wrestler and he’s done okay, just kidding he’s done phenomenal. He’s won the Columbus East Invite, Hoosier Hills Conference, Sectionals, and Regionals. He’s currently ranked #19 in the state and #3 in the semi-state. He will go to battle w/ State ranked #16 and #4 semi-state ranked Tyler Schott from Center Grove. Both have good wins this year, this match should be fun.
Don’t sleep on…. The already mentioned Austin Vanover and Kelton Farmer as a champ. Kelton is a 2x State Qualifier, Jones has shown he’s not invincible. I could totally see a Kelton Farmer win here and a Leighton Jones 3rd state championship next weekend.
Ford Fab 4 - Our last LOCK, Leighton Jones of Brownsburg leading an absolute crew of studs behind him. Austin Vanover had 3 voters rank him 4th, but Bryce Mills had 2 rankers place him 3rd. So Mills gets the nod!
1st - Leighton Jones Brownsburg, 2nd - Kelton Farmer Evansville Memorial, 3rd - Tyler Schott Center Grove, 4th - Bryce Mills Owen Valley
TripleB_Guarantee - Erick Ousley finally gets out of my shadow and gets him a state qualifier that he can claim all on his own, Patrick McMahon will punch his ticket!
Man we made it…….let’s end w my favorite - food recommendations
Hilltop Inn - Fried Brain sandwiches. Brains aren’t your thing? Turonis is a local pizza place that’s dynamite. Like German? Gerst Haus is phenomenal. Want to head out for some adult beverages? Go to Franklin St, Gerst Haus is there and a number of other watering holes and great restaurants. I’m never up early enough for Breakfast so I have no clue. I hear the nachos at the Ford are great and worth the $. And a tradition on the way home used to be Stoll’s Country Diner (RIP).
It’s been a pretty dramatic year for TripleB. I’m just happy to be here, typing this letter. My life took a huge turn the Monday after semi-state last year. My health bottomed out and for about a week we weren’t sure I was going to see another Semi-State. That being said, I can’t freaking wait to be there Saturday. Have a great time Saturday, I love the Evansville Semi-State experience. I’ll be there slumming around, feel free to say hey, you can’t miss me! Good luck to all my coaching buddies and all 224 grapplers. Use this to pump you up and get mad bc you were slighted and parents have fun with this as we at Indianamat are just trying to bring attention to our favorite sport, wrestling!
See everybody at the FORD and onto The Bridge!