Castle Regional Preview
In the Evansville and Central sectionals, the big names rolled, while several upstarts made their presence known. The Castle regional--traditionally one of the toughest in the state--will feature a host of nail-biting first-round matches, semifinals and championship bouts.
106- Castle's Baxter Annakin bounded to a sectional title and is the favorite for a regional championship. In semifinal action, North Posey's Levi Miller will see the winner of the Harley Gorman (Mt. Vernon) and Kyler McKinney (Princeton) bout.
113- Southern Indiana wrestling fans breathed a sigh of relief when Mt. Vernon's Paul Konrath returned to action after a potential season-ending injury at the Big 8 championship. Konrath should see Mater Dei's Kyle Luigs in the semifinal. Logan Dilbeck of Gibson Southern will likely fill the other slot in the final. The trio also holds the top three rankings in the Evansville semi state. Don't be surprised to see them go at it again at the Ford Center.
120- After a two-month injury recovery, Reitz's Tyler Ferguson returned to action on Saturday. With only one match under his belt, Ferguson was sharp and mopped up the field. Mater Dei sophomore Will Egli has produced another stellar season and hopes to improve upon his fifth-place finish from the 2014 state tournament. Expect the duo to butt heads on the center mat.
126- Mater Dei's Alex Johnson looks to capture his third regional title. In order to do so, he will need to get past the winner of the Caleb Craig (Reitz) and Michael Polen (Gibson Southern) match. Craig and Polen are both very solid and will produce an interesting dust-up. The other side of the bracket will also be competitive, as Castle's 32-7 Braedon Clopton and North's 34-4 Nick Burke will meet for a title shot opportunity.
132- In his last six matches, Mater Dei's Nick Lee has spent less than six minutes on the mat. Ranked number-one in the state, expect Lee's rampage to continue. Mt. Vernon's Austin Bethel and Princeton's Chase Wilson should meet for a rematch of their Big 8 championship bout. The winner will meet Lee for the title.
138- A couple of weeks ago, southern Indiana 138-pounders began to re-think their weight class choice. There are five, top-shelf grapplers here; only four will advance. Gibson Southern's fifth-ranked Kyle Todrank will see Memorial's Johny Wargel in the first round. Both are seniors; one of them will see their high school career end here. Mater Dei's third-ranked freshman, Joe Lee, will likely meet Reitz's AJ Dixon in one semifinal. The Todrank/Wargel winner will meet Castle's ninth-ranked sectional champ, Austin Ramsey, in the other semifinal. Do not miss a match at 138!
145- Fifth-ranked Blake Jourdan of Mater Dei and Castle's tenth-ranked Patrick Schnell headline this very competitive weight class. Both are dynamic. Expect another exciting match. Memorial's Chance Williams, Central's Hunter McCormick and Mt. Vernon's Peyton Whoberry will fight it out to earn a semistate berth.
152- With a title this Saturday, Central's Isaiah Kemper will have earned three consecutive regional championships. Ranked second, Kemper will likely realize the accomplishment. On the other side of the bracket, Pike Central's Colton O'Neal and Castle's Jacob Farmer will meet. The winner gets Kemper in the final. Heritage Hills' Cordell Miller and Mater Dei's Mitch Lehman will also be in the medal hunt.
160- Populated by wrestlers who are defined by action, this class give the fans something for which to cheer. Castle's veteran senior Turner Lockyear has put up 37 wins on the season, in addition to SIAC and sectional titles. Lockyear's Warrick county rival, Tecumseh's Tristan McDaniel, scorched the field at Central. A senior, McDaniel looks poised for a post-season run. Do not overlook Tell City's Elliot Brown or Mater Dei's Nick Buedel, as both are capable of big wins and upsets.
170- 170 is a very balanced class, possessing three individuals with the potential to win. The toughest road belongs to Mater Dei's Ashton Forzley and Memorial's Noah Huelsing, as they will meet in the semifinal. Forzley, with a pair of state qualifications, is a big-match wrestler. Huelsing counters with a sizable gas tank and an early-season win over Forzley. Castle's Blake Jeffress, who finished second to Forzley at the SIAC meet, will inhabit the other slot in the final.
182- Mater Dei's 182-pound senior, Sam Bassemier, has wrestled a brutal schedule en route to a 26-1 record and continues to slide in the rankings, ending the season at 14th. On Saturday afternoon, expect to see him on the center mat. After this coming weekend, Tecumseh's Jeremy McKinley will no longer be off the radar. Expect him to give Mt. Vernon's Tyler DeKemper a very tough match. The winner earns a ticket to the final.
195- Beginning in the first round, when Central's Gabe Patterson meets the sectional champion, Jake LaMar of Castle, you will find many competitive matches at 195 pounds. Patterson, with his never-say-die attitude is likely the best fourth-place finisher in the field. Marcus Gahagen of Memorial will meet Tecumseh's Adam Lytle in another huge first round match. Gahagen has accumulated 21 wins against the backdrop of a tough schedule. Lytle suffered his first loss of the season at the Central sectional and will look for redemption. On the other side of the bracket, South Spencer's Keith Barclay will put his 38 wins against Vincennes Lincoln's Nic Dellion, the owner of 35 wins. The Barclay/Dellion winner will meet Mater Dei's Chase Anslinger in the semifinal. Try to pick 1-2-3-4!
220- If you have not seen Gibson Southern's Cory Klem, after Saturday, you will understand his sixth-ranking. Klem is up-tempo, strong and slick. He will be in the face off. Harrison's LaTerrance Kyles and Mater Dei's Kurtis Wilderman will dance in the bottom half of the bracket, in a rematch of their SIAC final. Mt. Vernon's Tristan Choate is formidable. He has spoiler potential and will look to maximize his regional performance.
285- Like 195, 285 has a number of potential champions. Mt. Vernon's Wade Ripple will square off with Tecumseh's Colton Dossett in the opening round. The duo has accounted for 53 wins against 12 losses. Pike Central's 24-2 Bryce Manning will meet Memorial's 27-11 Will Page, in another first-round barn burner. As sectional champs, Mater Dei's Adrian Butler and South Spencer's 42-7 RJ Shaw will also be in the hunt for a title.
Hook's Random Comments:
Â· Watch the Tecumseh fans. They are loud, rowdy and highly partisan. This tiny school provides the model of what wrestling fans should be!
Â· Hook's daugther, Hookticia, pointed out that Castle not only has huge slices of pizza, but offers baked potatoes "as big as your head."
Â· I love the intensity of Central's head coach, Mike Lapadat. How many calories does Lap burn on a typical Saturday? He is to coaching wrestling what James Brown was to show business.
Â· North Posey's coaches, Cody Moll and Sam Goebel, look lean and mean. I will wager, that with a week to cut, both could make weight.
I have been criticized for the fact that my previews are light on predictions. Since this is my last one of the year, I will go out on a limb.
These predictions are guaranteed.
Â· Mt Vernon's head coach, Tim Alcorn, will get very excited.
Â· At least once, in unison, the Mater Dei crowd will yell, "Two!"
Â· Castle will do an outstanding job of hosting.
Â· The Castle regional will produce a number of state placers...maybe a couple of champs.
Â· A Castle sectional vs. Central sectional post will be started on Indiana Mat.