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      2013 New Castle Semi-State Preview

      New Castle Semi-State 2012-2013
       
      Things heat up this weekend in New Castle, as 77 ranked wrestlers, including ten competitors ranked #1 or #2, will take the mat in an effort to earn an all-important Golden Ticket, also known as a state qualification. All-world 195 lb Mitch Sliga of Fishers is the lone returning state champion, although there are four returning state runners-up. Like last year, New Castle’s biggest strength is depth. Like last year, this semistate should get more than its fair share of state placers. Can this weekend’s competitors top last year’s three state champs from the New Castle semistate? It’s likely that, at the very least, this year’s version will have at least 3 champs and more like 4 or even 5. There are 5 nationally ranked wrestlers competing this weekend, including two at 285. The strongest weights, depth-wise, are 126, 160, 170, 220 (7 state-ranked grapplers in each), 145 (8 state rankers) and 285 (5 ranked athletes, including #1, #2 and #3). Lastly, some rough circumstances deprived this semistate of some really strong competitors, including Tommy Cash, Barry McGinley and Blake Giffin.
       
      “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.†-- George S. Patton
       
      “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.†-- Douglas Macarthur
       
      “There is no victory at bargain basement prices.†-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
       
      “Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy if possible.†-- Stonewall Jackson
       
      106
       
      Nationally ranked freshman Chad Red of New Palestine is an extremely strong favorite in this opening weight class. There are only 3 ranked wrestlers here, including #1 Red, which could make for some surprise qualifiers. Another freshman, #9 Matt McKinney of Warren Central, looks very strong on the bottom half of the bracket. It’s very possible that Red and McKinney could repeat last week’s regional finals matchup, won by Red. Despite the lack of top-level depth, there are some good young wrestlers competing in this weight, and the lack of predictability makes it exciting. Look for more domination by Red.
       
      Last year's champ: Nathan Boston, Lawrence North
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #1 Chad Red, New Palestine (nationally, #6 InterMat , #7 The Open Mat/AWN, #13 WIN Magazine)
      #9 Matt McKinney, Warren Central
      #19 Brett Johnson, Perry Meridian
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Tyler Flood, Pendleton Heights vs. Johnson (Opening round) – A couple of tough freshmen go at it to get the day started. Flood was a regional champ, and Johnson finished 4th in a truly nasty regional, but Johnson is much, much better than his record indicates.  It’s tough to wrestle the Perry schedule and come away without a few setbacks.
       
      #9 McKinney vs. #1 Red (Championship match) – Two of the very best freshmen in the entire semistate will likely battle for the crown and the all-important #1 seed at Banker’s Life. Barring injury, it’s tough to bet against Red, who pinned McKinney at regionals.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Johnson, McKinney, Briggeman and Red
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Chad Red
       
      113
       
      This weight class lacks some of the firepower found in some of the other weight classes. There are three ranked wrestlers at 113, as a fourth, #13 Vance Ellis of Roncalli, who didn’t make it to the postseason. Unlike 106, there isn’t a clear heavy favorite. Instead, there are two wrestlers who appear to be a cut above the rest in the field: #3 Jacob Cottey of Perry Meridian and #5 Jack Chastain of Hamilton Southeastern. Between the two, they have only one loss on the season.
       
      Last year's champ: Brandon James, Perry Meridian
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #3 Jacob Cottey, Perry Meridian
      #5 Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern
      #10 Riley Newkirk, Lawrence Central
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #10 Newkirk vs. Mitch Weber, Zionsville (Ticket round) – Both kids are seniors and each is hungry to advance to state. Newkirk, especially, has had some disappointments in past years and would love to cap his high school career with a state finals qualification. With the parity at this weight, each wrestler will have to avoid the upset in his opening bout
       
      Alton Jenkinson, Centerville vs. Charlie Baker, Crispus Attucks (Ticket round) – If each young man can navigate his opening match, this ticket battle will pit a 40-4 Jenkinson vs. a 38-2 Baker.  Could be a doozy between two very tough, slightly lesser-known wrestlers. A win here will put one of them on the state map.
       
      #5 Chastain vs. #3 Cottey (Championship match) – Cottey is a returning state placer and has managed to win every bout this year except one (in OT against the #2 wrestler at 113), despite competing against the very best in the state week in and week out. Not to be outdone, Chastain has yet to lose this year, and Hamilton Southeastern doesn’t exactly schedule a lot of cupcakes. While this should be a suspenseful, skillful and tight match, Cottey’s experience might be the difference.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Newkirk, Baker, Chastain and Cottey
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Jacob Cottey
       
      120
       
      Five top-13 wrestlers will vie for the title in this strong weight class. Undefeated Deondre Wilson of Warren Central and last year’s state qualifier Andrice Martin of Franklin Central are two of the favorites at this weight. Eleven competitors have 6 or fewer losses on the season, which shows the depth at this weight. While Wilson has been sharp the entire season, there is enough talent here that we could have a surprise champion. That said, Wilson is the house favorite.
       
      Last year's champ: Mason Todd, Pendleton Heights
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 4/4, 100%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #2 Deondre Wilson, Warren Central
      #6 Andrice Martin, Franklin Central
      #8 Aidan Kenny, Perry Meridian
      #9 Alex Sparks, Lawrence North
      #13 Evan Eldred, Westfield
       
       
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Adam Oyler, Lawrenceburg/Ben Lock, Shelbyville vs. #13 Eldred (Ticket round) – Oyler won his regional last weekend and opens with the junior Lock, who finished 4th in a loaded regional. This could go either way, and the winner should give Eldred a very tough match. Eldred is one tough freshman, and like many of Coach O’Neill’s wrestlers in recent years, he is wrestling very well this postseason. He lost a heartbreaker to Mantel last weekend and looks to redeem himself with a state berth as a freshman.
       
      #6 Martin vs. #9 Sparks (Ticket round) – This potential contest is one of the truly excellent matchups in the round to go. Either wrestler will be a strong candidate to place at Banker’s Life….if only he can make it there.
       
      Preston Mantel, Zionsville vs. #8 Kenny (Ticket round) – Mantel is an excellent wrestler, a three-time semistate qualifier and, for the third straight year, he has to beat a Perry Meridian wrestler to advance. Mantel had the misfortune of running into Cottey the past two years at New Castle, dropping both matches. Can he get some payback vs. Kenny this year? Mantel looked excellent in wrestling until the final buzzer to come from behind and stun Eldred last week at North Montgomery. This should be a dandy.
       
      #6 Martin vs.  #2 Wilson (Championship match) – Wilson has had Martin’s number so far this season, but the gap isn’t so wide that Martin isn’t capable of revenge. To get to this matchup, Wilson will have to get by the tenacious Eldred and Martin will have to beat Kenny and Sparks, neither of which are particularly easy tasks.
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Eldred, Martin, Kenny and Wilson
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Deondre Wilson
       
      126
       
      This is the first truly loaded weight class. Led by last year’s 3rd place finisher, #2 Brandon James of Perry Meridian, seven ranked wrestlers will compete in this field. While James is a pretty reliable favorite, the other tickets are up for grabs, as are the finishing spots 2-4. Tickets will be earned with blood, sweat and/or tears at this weight.
       
      Last year's champ: Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Brandon James, Perry Meridian
      #5 Tom Gettinger, Connersville
      #8 Ben Harvey, Cathedral
      #9 Chandler Moore, Southmont
      #10 Evan Smiley, Beech Grove
      #11 A.J. Belden, Westfield
      #13 Nick Reel, Warren Central
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #9 Moore vs. #10 Smiley (Ticket round) – This should be very close; both have wrestled tough opponents all season.
       
      #8 Harvey vs. #13 Reel (Ticket round) – Harvey might have a slight edge with his excellent postseason run a year ago. He has already won a ticket match and a state match. Reel could have his hands full with his opening round match vs. Broyles of New Castle.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Moore, Harvey, Gettinger and James
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Brandon James
       
      132
       
      State #1 and defending state runner-up (not to mention nationally ranked) Cody LeCount of Perry Meridian is a very strong favorite in this solid group. There doesn’t appear to be anyone here who can truly challenge LeCount, but the other three qualifying spots are pretty wide open.  Aside from the presumptive favorite LeCount, three former state qualifiers could collide. The bottom of the bracket could feature an all-Fishers area semifinals, if Lile and Snyder can win some tough matches.
       
      Last year's champ: Jared McKinley, Perry Meridian
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 50%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #1 Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian (nationally, #12 AWN/The Open Mat, #19 InterMat, #14 WIN Magazine)
      #12 Hugo Perez, Frankfort
      #14 Jordan Lile, Fishers
      #15 Mitch Snyder, Hamilton Southeastern
      #17 Sam Locke, Greenfield Central
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Austin Fuller, Union County vs. #14 Lile/#17 Locke (Ticket round) – Two of these three are former state qualifiers and any of the three could earn this year’s qualifying spot. The hot wrestler will advance from this group.
       
      #15 Snyder vs. #14 Lile/#17 Locke/Fuller (Semifinal round) – Like the ticket match described above, this is wide open and features a quartet of excellent wrestlers. It’s very possible we could have the battle for Fishers, with Snyder and Lile doing battle yet again. They have split two matches already this year. Locke owns an OT win over Lile this season, too.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Perez, Lile, Snyder and LeCount
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Cody LeCount
       
      138
       
      Five ranked wrestlers help populate this weight class, led by multiple time state placers Luke Blanton of Alexandria and Nick Bova of Perry Meridian. Outside of the two heavy favorites, the other two spots are pretty wide open. Fortunately for half the bracket, Bova and Blanton will face off in the semis, meaning someone else will earn a two seed at Bankers Life. Senior Dan Barrett of Southmont is undefeated this season and might be the best of the rest.
       
      Last year's champ: Josh Farrell, Greenfield Central
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 4/4, 100%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #2 Luke Blanton, Alexandria
      #4 Nick Bova, Perry Meridian
      #6 Dan Barrett, Southmont
      #11 Chase Watson, Hamilton Southeastern
      #15 Juwan Bartlett, Lawrence North
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #11 Watson vs. #4 Bova (Ticket round) – Watson dropped a very close match to Barrett in the regional championship last weekend, very nearly getting a takedown with time expiring. That tough loss is the difference between having a nice road to a 2nd place semistate finish and having to beat the rugged, battle-tested Bova to make it to State. Like football, wrestling is sometimes a game of inches.
       
      #8 Barrett vs. Gordon Wagner, New Palestine (Ticket round) – Barrett’s closest match all season was last week’s battle against Watson. He has been sharp all season and looks very confident and comfortable on the mat this postseason.
       
      #2 Blanton vs. #4 Bova (Semifinal round) – This one could go either way. Will Blanton’s funk play into Bova’s fundamental excellence? Or will Blanton secure a top seed at State to make a state title run? Or will Bova? Questions will be answered this Saturday.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Bova, Barrett, Bartlett and Blanton
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Luke Blanton
       
      145
       
      Just like last year at this semistate, this weight is absolutely stacked with depth. Also like last year, there isn’t a clear favorite, but there are 8 ranked wrestlers (a ninth ranked wrestler in the semistate, #13 Eric Dobbins of Pike, didn’t make it out of regionals) vying for the strap. Basically, the winner of this weight class will be whoever is hot throughout the day, and it’s quite possible that if you held the semistate on five different days, you might get five different winners. That said, the unpredictability of this weight class makes it exciting. Handley is my pick, but there are realistically several wrestlers who could win it.
       
      Last year's champ: Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #5 Cody Handley, Northeastern
      #7 Shabaka Johns, Warren Central
      #8 Robbie Elsea, New Palestine
      #10 Collin Campbell, Lebanon
      #12 Brant Larson, Cathedral
      #14 Michael Thomas, Perry Meridian
      #17 Scott Swingle, Lawrence Central
      #19 Michael Steele, Westfield
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #7 Johns vs. #17 Swingle (Ticket round) – Johns is coming off of an impressive regional title. Swingle is always game, but Johns might be a little too much this time.
       
      #10 Campbell vs. #14 Thomas (Opening round) – Campbell was impressive at regionals, while Thomas had a 4th place finish. Still, this is a pick ‘em.
       
      #5 Handley vs. #12 Larson (Opening round) – When there are so many ranked wrestlers in a bracket, it’s just going to happen like this—lots of tough matches early and often. Handley will have his work cut out for him to get by the tough Irish junior.
       
      Derek Noon, Noblesville/Chandler Hale, Shenandoah vs. #8 Elsea/#19 Steele (Ticket round) – This is a brutal quartet, and it wouldn’t be a complete shocker to see any of the four advance out of this group. The most likely ticket match is Noon vs. Elsea, which should be great viewing.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Johns, Campbell, Noon and Handley
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Cody Handley
       
      152
       
      Two returning state runners-up headline the action at 152. Vinny Corsaro of Cathedral and Josh Farrell of Greenfield Central appear to be on a collision course for the trophy and all-important #1 seed at Bankers Life. Each of these two are returning semistate champions as well. Joining these two studs are four additional ranked wrestlers, including two ranked in the top-8. Additionally, several non-ranked wrestlers in the bracket are competing at a high level and could be dangerous.
       
      Last year's champ: Conner Mullins, New Castle
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #2 Josh Farrell, Greenfield Central
      #3 Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral
      #6 Nick Borta, North Montgomery
      #8 Jackson Bennett, Hamilton Southeastern
      #14 Keanu Cooper, Perry Meridian
      #15 Luke Decker, New Castle
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Cody Steele, Connersville vs. #6 Borta (Ticket round) – Borta has competed at a high level all season, but Steele comes in as the regional champ. These two juniors appear pretty evenly matched, but one will likely be heading to Indianapolis the following weekend.
       
      #3 Corsaro vs. #14 Cooper (Ticket round) – These two have battled already this season, with Cooper sticking Corsaro in their earliest meeting. However, it’s tough to bet against Corsaro this time of year. Last year and the year before, he really turned it on during the postseason en route to placing at state both times. Can Cooper stop the Corsaro New Castle mojo? Stay tuned and grab your popcorn.
       
      #2 Farrell vs. #15 Decker (Ticket round) – Multiple time state placer has had great success at New Castle during his career. The Purdue signee should be challenged by Decker, who has strong bloodlines and excellent ability. Despite Decker’s prowess, a win by the New Castle wrestler would qualify as a huge upset.
       
      #2 Farrell vs. #3 Corsaro/#6 Borta (Championship round) – Tons of talent in this trio, but it should come down to New Castle superstars Corsaro and Farrell. Farrell already owns a win over the Irish standout.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Corsaro, Borta, Bennett and Farrell
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Josh Farrell
       
      160
       
      This weight class is pretty loaded, as four members of the top-8 in the state will be competing on Saturday. Leading the way is top-ranked Austin McCloskey of Western Boone, owner of some of the best defense in the state. Nipping at his heels is Hamilton Southeastern’s John Tatom, a state-placer last year and a runner-up to McCloskey at sectionals and regionals. Both championship matches were extremely close and as physical as high school wrestling gets. Tatom, however, has a tough road to the semis, as #8 Riley McClurg of Perry Meridian is lurking in the Ticket Round. Look for strong performances from Cathedral freshman standout Blake Rypel, South Dearborn senior Jimmy Shaw, a regional champ and Ed Pendoski-coached standout Ben Krege of Carmel. Last year’s 160 group contained the state champ and the state runner-up.
       
      Last year's champ: Brian Harvey, Cathedral
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #1 Austin McCloskey, Western Boone
      #3 John Tatom, Hamilton Southeastern
      #7 Blake Rypel, Cathedral
      #8 Riley McClurg, Perry Meridian
      #14 Conner James, Roncalli
      #16 Ben Krege, Carmel
      #18 Jimmy Shaw, South Dearborn
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #3 Tatom vs. #8 McClurg (Ticket round) – Tatom is a returning state placer and is mean and aggressive on his feet. McClurg has been on the cusp of making it to state and has earned a number of big wins in his career. While Tatom might have an advantage on his feet, McClurg likely owns an advantage on the mat. One of the most intriguing ticket matches of the weekend.
       
      #18 Shaw vs. #16 Krege (Ticket round) – The senior Shaw will be looking for a breakthrough win against the talented Greyhound wrestler. Krege has improved greatly this year and has shown he can bang with the big boys at the weight. This is basically a pick ‘em.
       
      #1 McCloskey vs. #14 James (Ticket round) – Unfortunately for the Rebel standout James, he must get by #1 McCloskey to make it to the Big Show. McCloskey has phenomenal defensive timing and monstrous hips, making him just about impossible to score on when on his feet. James’ best shot is to try to keep it low-scoring, as the WeBo standout sometimes wrestles conservatively, counting on his defense to win tight matches. As good as James is, it would be a shocker to see the #1 wrestler in the state fall here.
       
      #1 McCloskey vs. #3 Tatom (Championship round) – McCloskey/Tatom Part III should be one of the real highlights of this weekend’s festivities, as it was at sectionals and regionals. In both prior matches, Tatom didn’t back down at all against the Star stud. If anyone here can overthrow the top dog, and become the Alpha Dog himself, it’s Tatom.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Tatom, Shaw, Rypel and McCloskey
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Austin McCloskey
       
      170
       
      Seven ranked athletes will strap it on at 170. This group is as wide open as any in the semistate, as the highest ranked wrestlers here, #3 Austin Neibarger of Hamilton Southeastern and #4 Jeff Scott of Clinton Central, both lost last weekend. The competitor who beat both is #11 Logan Floor of Westfield, who was on fire last weekend. However, Floor beat Neibarger at regionals last year, too, and couldn’t quite parlay that into a state berth.  At this weight, pick your favorite wrestler and let it ride—could be almost anyone at this weight.
       
      Last year's champ: Jake Masengale, Perry Meridian
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #3 Austin Neibarger, Hamilton Southeastern
      #4 Jeffrey Scott, Clinton Central
      #10 Mitch Hensley, Noblesville
      #11 Logan Floor, Westfield
      #12 Austin Rose, Greenfield Central
      #13 Nathan Warman, Perry Meridian
      #17 KC Hedger, Lawrenceburg
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #11 Floor vs. #13 Warman (Opening round) – This is a rough reward for regional champ Floor, as he gets the Falcon junior for his opening match. Floor has a great gastank and tends to wrestle to the level of his opponent. Hopefully, if you’re a Floor fan, he doesn’t overlook Warman, or he will be sorry.
       
      #12 Rose/Manns vs. #10 Hensley/#17 Hedger (Ticket round) – This foursome could play out in many different ways. Even the unranked Manns was a sectional champ, and he won’t be an easy match for the senior Rose. If things play out like the rankings say, Rose and Hensley should match up in a rugged Ticket match. However, don’t be surprised if Hedger or Manns pulls a fast one.
       
      Sammy Mireles, Elwood vs. #3 Neibarger (Ticket round) – Mireles was an impressive regional champion and Neibarger has been facing topnotch competition his entire career. On paper, Neibarger is a substantial favorite, but as we all know, matches aren’t wrestled on paper and Mireles won’t roll over.
       
      #11 Floor vs. #12 Rose/#10 Hensley (Semifinal round) – While it might not be this grouping in the semis, it’s how it’s supposed to turn out rankings-wise. This is completely up in the air and the winner will simply be the hottest wrestler of the day.
       
      #3 Neibarger vs. #4 Scott (Semifinal round) – Two tough kids from the same sectional should match up in the semis, with the winner having a nice shot at winning the weight.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Floor, Hensley, Scott and Neibarger
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Austin Neibarger
       
      182
       
      Returning state runner-up and semistate champion #3 Jake Masengale of Perry Meridian is the wrestler to beat at this weight, despite his subpar (for him) performance at regionals. Joining him in the hunt for the prize are three other ranked competitors and some tough competitors with some solid results, like Fishers’ Seth Riley and North Central’s Seth Isaacs. This weight had the state’s runner-up last season, and Masengale looks to improve on that result this season. However, last week showed that even someone with the credentials and performances of Masengale can have an off day and be vulnerable to some tough opposition. The field would’ve had an additional ranked wrestler, but Elwood’s #11 Will Maluvac had a tough sectional and didn’t make it out.
       
      Last year's champ: Lukas Schaeffer, Westfield
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 100%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #3 Jake Masengale, Perry Meridian
      #5 Brian Wagner, New Palestine
      #10 Katrell Moss, Warren Central
      #17 Ben Elliot, Noblesville
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Chris Mason, Zionsville vs. #5 Wagner (Opening round) – The Zionsville senior faces the rugged Dragon wrestler in a tough opening match. Wagner is the favorite, but Mason is game and has had an excellent season.
       
      #10 Moss vs. #17 Elliot (Ticket round) – The regional champ Moss, also a standout on Warren Central’s vaunted football team, like Shabaka Johns, Noah Perdue and Georgio Blades was outstanding last weekend. Elliot has been outstanding all season, as evidenced by his 32-3 record. Moss is the favorite, but Elliot is capable of the upset. Both are juniors and could be back next year to do battle again.
       
      #3 Masengale vs. #10 Moss (Championship round) – This is a potential rematch from last week’s regional, won by Moss. Masengale has such an impressive track record, though, that it’s hard to picture Moss getting the best of him again.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Wagner, Riley, Moss and Masengale
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Jake Masengale
       
      195
       
      Just like last season, this weight is all Mitch Sliga's. Sliga is hungry for another state title to accompany his four Fargo titles. One of the state’s true elites, he is unlikely to be challenged too severely until his appearance the following weekend at Bankers Life. Past Sliga, the field is wide open and features just three other ranked wrestlers. The rankings issue is a little misleading, though; there are eight non-ranked wrestlers with 28 or more wins and eleven non-ranked wrestlers with 25+ wins. The bottom of the bracket, especially, is wide open.
       
      Last year's champ: Mitch Sliga, Fishers
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #1 Mitch Sliga, Fishers (nationally, #5 AWN/The Open Mat, #4 InterMat, #3 WIN Magazine)
      #5 Noah Perdue, Warren Central
      #7 Mason Nickell, Roncalli
      #17 Ty Webster, North Montgomery
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      Jason Hawkins, Milan/Zach Smith, Noblesville vs. Jeff Dixon, Hamilton Southeastern/#7 Nickell (Ticket round) – This is a tough grouping comprised of big, strong, physical athletes with excellent records on the season. If seeds and ranking hold, it should be Hawkins and Nickell in the Ticket match, with Nickell a slight favorite over the Milan standout.
       
      Raja Burt, Cathedral/Jarrett Hooten, Batesville vs. Mike Riffle, Franklin Central/#17 Webster (Ticket round) – Just like the group above, this is a deep and talented quartet. If things play out as they are “supposed toâ€, Burt and Webster should meet up for a state qualification. However, Riffle could easily win his first two matches.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Perdue, Nickell, Riffle and Sliga
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Mitch Sliga
       
      220
       
      Seven ranked combatants will take the mat at 220, while an eighth couldn’t make it out of regionals (#13 Gabe Estes of New Palestine). There is some pretty strong talent here this year, unlike recent years. New Castle produced zero state placers last season, which should be improved upon this season. Cardinal Ritter’s Dylan Faulkenburg was impressive last week, winning a regional crown by pinning Warren Central’s beastly Maximiliano Hernandez. That could be reversed this weekend. Of course, with the group Hernandez is in, he might not make it out of the Ticket round. In an impressive display of talent, there are four wrestlers with zero or one loss in this group.
       
      Last year's champ: Justin Sanders, Pike
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
       
      #4 Maximiliano Hernandez, Warren Central
      #8 Myron Hamilton, Lawrence Central
      #9 Ricky Brown, East Central
      #12 Jacob Aven, Zionsville
      #15 Dylan Faulkenburg, Ritter
      #19 Alex Lindemann, Milan
      #20 Dalton Hardy, Covington
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #19 Lindemann vs. #15 Faulkenburg (Ticket round) – The senior Lindemann faces off against the undefeated Faulkenburg. As hot as he is right now, and all season for that matter, it’s hard to bet against Faulkenburg.
       
      #8 Hamilton vs. #20 Hardy (Ticket round) – Senior vs. Senior here, with Hamilton a slight favorite, primarily because of his tougher competition all season. Hardy lost his first match of the year in the regional finals.
       
      #9 Brown vs. #4 Hernandez (Ticket round) – In my opinion, this is one of the very roughest ticket matches of them all. Either wrestler can win, and either is capable of a strong state run. Brown has been a heavyweight for much of his career, and an excellent one at that. Hernandez has been strong all year. This could go either way and should be a phenomenal match.
       
      #15 Faulkenburg/#8 Hamilton vs. #9 Brown/#4 Hernandez (Championship round) – There are some seriously tough wrestlers vying for the title. The winner here will have earned it.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Aven, Hernandez, Hamilton and Faulkenburg
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Dylan Faulkenburg
       
      285
       
      In probably the toughest weight class of all, at least at the top, two nationally ranked wrestlers should meet in the finals. Cathedral’s Wesley Bernard, a returning state placer, and Perry Meridian’s Donte Winfield, a Fargo runner-up, make up as formidable a semistate finals as you will ever see. Joining the two monsters of the group are four additional ranked competitors. All told, the top-3 wrestlers at the weight are here, and one at least will not advance. In recent years, just like 220, this hasn’t been the strongest of weight classes at New Castle. That should definitely change this year, and some really talented big men won’t be competing the following weekend at Bankers Life.
       
      Last year's champ: Donte Winfield, Perry Meridian
      Last year's Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%
       
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #1 Donte Winfield, Perry Meridian (nationally, #8 TOM/AWN, #10 Intermat, #16 WIN)
      #2 Wesley Bernard, Cathedral (nationally, #15 Intermat, #15 WIN)
      #3 Georgio Blades, Warren Central
      #10 Nate Trawick, Richmond
      #16 Tyler Uhls, Shelbyville
      #18 Joe Garland, Rushville
       
      Epic matchups:
       
      #2 Bernard vs. #3 Blades (Ticket round) – Wow! That’s about all I can say. This match is an embodiment of the argument for wrestlebacks, but, well, we don’t have wrestlebacks at this point, so one of them is going home. Bernard is very tough to bet against.
       
      #16 Uhls vs. #10 Trawick (Opening round) – Two tough big men face off in an opening round match that should produce a state qualifier.
       
      #1 Winfield vs. #2 Bernard (Championship round) – These two faced off in the semistate finals last year, with Winfield coming out on top. They have split two matches this year. Winfield has three wins over Blades, giving him a slightly better resume this year. Bernard has a little better offense, Winfield has better defense…should be an amazing matchup and one that could be repeated under the lights at Bankers Life.
       
      Dingo's Pack picks to advance:
      Bernard, Trawick, Garland and Winfield
       
      The Alpha Dog:
      Donte Winfield
       
       

      692

      2013 Fort Wayne Semi-State Preview

      106lbs

      Head of the Class: Hayden Lee- Garrett
      State Streeters:Garrett Pepple- East Noble, Cael McCormick- Yorktown, Blake Glogouski- Fairfield

       
      The Skinny:
      Returning semi-state champion Hayden Lee returns to this weight class and might have to go through a family member to defend his title. Undefeated Garrett Pepple of East Noble looks to be his toughest challenger, but he will have to go through a tough Cael McCormick to get to his cousin.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Ben Cauffman- Carroll vs. Cael McCormick- Yorktown
      Blake Glogouski- Fairfield vs. Shane Garretson- Peru
       
      113lbs

      Head of the Class: Connor Knapp- East Noble
      State Streeters: Logan Aldrich- Northrop, Sawyer Miller- South Adams, Alan Mock- North Miami
       
      The Skinny:
      This weight class will be quite a battle from start to finish with three returning state qualifiers coming back. Returning state 4th place finisher Sawyer Miller of South Adams will NOT be play wrestling this weekend as he will have stiff competition from Connor Knapp, Logan Aldrich and Alan Mock.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Greg Newman- Whitko vs. Connor Knapp- East Noble
      Logan Aldrich- Northrop vs. DeLawrence Gayfield- Concord
       
      120lbs

      Head of the Class: Schuyler Phillips- Yorktown
      State Streeters: LJ Moser- South Adams, Sterling Lutter- East Noble, Chase Wilson- Maconaquah
       
      The Skinny:
      There is not much to talk about in this weight...oh wait yes there is! This weight has one of those draws that have the fans and wrestlers just cringe in the potential ticket round match between Forrest Glogouski of Fairfield and Schuyler Phillips of Yorktown. Phillips wrestled under the lights last year and Glogouski finished 6th, both at 113lbs. Phillips defeated Glogouski 3-2 at semi-state last year, however Glogouski topped Phillips at freestyle state later in the spring. Beyond the crazy ticket round match you have to watch the super Starfire LJ Moser and the battlin' Brave Chase Wilson.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Forrest Glogouski- Fairfield vs. Schuyler Phillips- Yorktown
      Andrew Ledford- Kokomo vs. Sterling Lutter- East Noble
       
      126lbs

      Head of the Class: Nick Crume- Jimtown
      State Streeters: Cody Walburn- Adams Central, Steven Cardenas- Carroll, Brett Martz- Fairfield
       
      The Skinny:
      Semi-state champion and two-time 3rd place finisher Nick Crume returns to 126lbs this year with nothing less than a state title in mind. He will be challenged by Flyin' Jet Cody Walburn who has a chip on his shoulder after dropping a ticket round match last year. Don't sleep on Steven Cardenas or Brett Martz who are both tough competitors.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Cody Walburn- Adams Central vs. Bobby Humphrey- Snider
      Kegan Kern- Peru vs. Brett Martz- Fairfield
       
      132lbs

      Head of the Class: Zach Krumlauf- Dekalb
      State Streeters: Dalton Baysinger- Yorktown, Benjamin Fiechter- Southern Wells, Cody Koebel- Jimtown
       
      The Skinny:
      This weight class features three very strong wrestlers that will battle it out for the top step on the podium. Two-time state qualifier Zach Krumlauf would love to take the next step to the top of the semi-state, but he will be challenged by stalwarts Dalton Baysinger and Benjamin Fiechter.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Tanner Shippley- Huntington North vs. Cody Koebel- Jimtown
      Benjamin Fiechter- Southern Wells vs. Christian Hall- Kokomo
       
      138lbs

      Head of the Class: Chandler Carroll- Yorktown
      State Streeters: Evan Loe- Peru, Austun McCray- Garrett, Reese Sieger- New Haven
       
      The Skinny:
      The bracket gods of the IHSAA have separated the top two ranked wrestlers in this weight class which could make for an exciting finals match. Chandler Carroll has two state medals already, while Evan Loe made the trip to Banker's Life last year. Both have had great seasons so far and will look to claim the top spot on the podium in 2013.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Austun McCray- Garrett vs. Jacob Weimer- East Noble
      Derek Ellinger- Adams Central vs. Reese Sieger- New Haven
      Tylor Willms- Fremont vs. Evan Loe- Peru
       
      145lbs

      Head of the Class: Eli Walker- Yorktown
      State Streeters: Levi McKee- North Miami, Kyle Jolas- Huntington North, Tyler Housholder- East Noble
       
      The Skinny:
      This weight class is filled with wrestlers ready to make a name for themselves. Lead by two-time state qualifier Kyle Jolas and Eli Walker, this weight class has the potential to go one of about 12 different ways. Jolas and Walker cannot sleep on tough wrestlers like Levi McKee and Tyler Housholder or else they could be facing a tough draw at state.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Eli Walker- Yorktown vs. Donovan Elliot- Eastbrook
      Levi McKee- North Miami vs. Hunter Randolph- Wapahani
       
      152lbs

      Head of the Class: Isaiah Bradley- Muncie South
      State Streeters: Connor Brummett- Dekalb, Sebastian Eckert- Huntington North, Chad Gaddis- Kokomo
       
      The Skinny:
      This weight class features a heavy favorite and a couple wrestlers eager to get over the hump. Returning state champion Isaiah Bradley is the class of the field, but he will be challenged by hungry competitors like Connor Brummett and Sebastian Eckert. Eckert and Brummett have both lost tough matches in the ticket round over the past few years with this year looking to be their time to breakout.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Chad Gaddis- Kokomo vs. Tristan Wilson- Carroll
      Sebastian Eckert- Huntington North vs. Tim Deters- Northridge
       
      160lbs

      Head of the Class: Rhett Hiestand- Yorktown
      State Streeters: Spencer Malcolm- Carroll, Johnny Tredway- Elkhart Central, Kaleb Hammersley- Peru
       
      The Skinny:
      This weight class seems to be very spread out between all the regionals. Returning state qualifier Rhett Hiestand leads the way, but his spotlight could be hogged by a tough Spencer Malcolm.
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Spencer Malcolm- Carroll vs. Kaine Luginbill- Adams Central
      Kaleb Hammersley- Peru vs. Rashad Jackson-Tatum- New Haven
      Johnny Tredway- Elkhart Central vs. Shea Pyle- South Adams
       
      170lbs

      Head of the Class: Riley Lefever- Carroll
      State Streeters: Tanner Adams- Jimtown, Anthony Linnear- North Side, Luke Akers- Northwestern
       
      The Skinny:
      The action will heat up at 170lbs this year with quite a barnburner ahead. Thankfully the bracket gods separated the best wrestlers which will give us a great semi-final and finals match. Super Charger Riley Lefever leads the way, but he will be pushed by the winner of the future Findlay Oiler Anthony Linnear and Tanner Adams semi-final.
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Luke Akers- Northwestern vs. Jake Reed- Muncie South
      Tanner Adams- Jimtown vs. Kody Jones- Concordia
      Anthony Linnear- North Side vs. Keair Ross- Kokomo
       
      182lbs

      Head of the Class: Brad Busse- Bellmont
      State Streeters: Ben Pfister- Adams Central, Ben Evans- Bishop Dwenger, Russell Hazelet- Columbia City
       
      The Skinny:
      This will also be a great weight to watch as on any given day about one in six wrestlers could come away with the title. Returning state placer Brad Busse leads the way, but will be pushed to the limit by Adams County rival Ben Pfister, Ben Evans and even NHC rival Russell Hazelet.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Ben Evans- Bishop Dwenger vs. Zach Telschow- Northwood
      Corey Hinkle- Western vs. Ben Pfister- Adams Central
      Russell Hazelet- Columbia City vs. Neil Snep- Manchester
       
      195lbs

      Head of the Class: Kyle Garringer- Jay County
      State Streeters: Joseph Ross- Northfield, Tieshawn Johnson- Elkhart Memorial, Everett Green- Bishop Luers
       
      The Skinny:
      The Dunkirk Dragonslayer Kyle Garringer heads into semi-state this year with an unblemished record and looks to keep it intact after the dust settles. He will be pushed by tough wrestlers like the fighting Norseman Joe Ross and Tieshawn Johnson.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Everett Green- Bishop Luers vs. Zach Goodyear- West Noble
      Tieshawn Johnson- Elkhart Memorial vs. Brian Richardson- Churubusco
       
      220lbs

      Head of the Class: Fletcher Miller- Kokomo
      State Streeters: Nolan Wilson- Leo, Jason Nicodemus- Churubusco, Bradley Joseph Sadilek- Carroll
       
      The Skinny:
      As with last year this weight class features two undefeated wrestlers, along with that the only returning state qualifier has only one blemish on his record. Fletcher Miller of Kokomo and Jason Nicodemus have both had breakout seasons and come into the Memorial Coliseum undefeated. Don't sleep on the ferocious Lion Nolan Wilson as he is the only one in the field with state experience.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Fletcher Miller- Kokomo vs. Jacob Strauch- Muncie Southside
      Nolan Wilson- Leo vs. Brandon Joest- East Noble
      Brad Sadilek- Carroll vs. Briar Gerber- Bluffton
       
      285lbs

      Head of the Class: Eric Hemmelgarn- Jay County
      State Streeters: Matt Beard- Eastside, Drake DeMuyt- East Noble, Hayden Schmucker- Goshen
       
      The Skinny:
      Leaving before the heavyweights are done will be a grave mistake this year. This weight class is probably the most even throughout and could boast a big upset in every round. Lead by the pride of Portland Eric Hemmelgarn this weight will also feature undefeated the Butler Bully Matt Beard and double D Drake DeMuyt.
       
      Early Round Key Matches:
      Matt Beard- Eastside vs. Jacob Peckham- Monroe Central
      Chris Travis- Eastern vs. Hayden Schmucker- Goshen

      662

      2013 Evansville Semi-State Preview

      By Dustin Bentz
      Edited by Phillip Wimpee
       
      Well, it’s that time of year again; I hope everyone in Southern Indiana is ready for best show on ice at Ford Arena. This year’s Evansville Semi-State is shaping up to be sensational due to the fact that, with the exception of a few dominant wrestlers, there is so much depth and parity in the weights. This tournament should also be an example to all non-wrestle back fans as to why wrestle backs are so important, with some gut busting ticket round matches.
      And here we go, starting off at 106 lbs.
       

      106 –
      Ticket Punchers – Terrance Kennedy, Griffin Schermer, DJ Smith, Brock Hudkins
      Best Curtain Jerkers (1st rd) – Isaac Gomez (Plainfield) vs. Cale McCoy (Northview)
      Best R2G (Round to Go) – Tyler Ferguson vs. DJ Smith
      Dark Horses –
      Tyler Ferguson (Not really a dark horse, but the draw makes him one) and Isaac Gomez
       
       

      113 –
      Ticket Punchers – The Castle Flush - Jacob Brown, Damon Kuhn, Mitch Lehman, Matthew Mastison
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Ryan Koerner vs. Brian Rassbach
      Best R2G – Jacob Brown vs Elliot Molloy (Can the frosh break up the Castle Stronghold?), Hunter Fox vs. Damon Kuhn (Both returning State Qualifiers)
      Dark Horses –
      The Little Brothers (They’ve been in shadows, can they break out?) Elliot Molloy and Devin Hupp
       
       

      120 –
      Ticket Punchers – Bailey Lahue, Josh Davis, Anthony Schoettle, Nick Etienne
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Julian Suar (Mount Vernon) vs. Zack Runyon (Bloomington South), Nathan Schitter (Jasper) vs. Nick Meyers (Heritage Hills)
      Best R2G – Bailey Lahue (Corydon) vs. Alex Johnson (Mater Dei), Josh Davis (Evansville Reitz) vs. Chris Whitley (Floyd Central) It’s Castle’s two best vs. Jeff’s two best, should be great matches!
      Dark Horses –
      Nathan Schitter/Nick Meyers – Both have always been close to breaking through, can they finally break through when it matters most?
      Alex Johnson – Never count Mater Dei out in Evansville!
      Chris Whitley – a win over Lahue last year shows he can win the big ones, two close losses to Lahue the last two weeks shows he’s close to getting over his injury. It’s now or never for the Highlander.
       

      126 –
      Ticket Punchers – Luke Welch, Tyler Fleener, Austin Jamison, Cory Orndorff
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Austin Jamison (New Albany) vs. Bailey Schober (Greenwood), Tyler Fleener (Center Grove) vs. Austin Ward (Floyd Central)
      Best R2G – Cory Orndorff (Sullivan) vs. Angelo Robles (Decatur Central)
      Dark Horses –
      Dalton (or is it Dustin?) Noblitt (Columbus East) – Convincing wins over Holwager and Ward combined w/ a close loss to Jamison shows this Olympian can shake thing up.
      Bailey Schober – (Greenwood) Mooresville’s 126 was insanely tough, as was Schober’s sectional. As navigating through that made him prime to pull the Upset?
       

      132 –
      Ticket Punchers – Levi Moss, Devin Broukal, Skyler Lykins, Logan Wedding
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Korbin Karges (Princeton) vs. Skyler Lykins (Franklin)
      Best R2G – Devin Broukal (Bloomington South) vs. Josh Pierre (Mater Dei)
      Dark Horses –
      Josh Pierre (Evansville Mater Dei) – He has state experience and lost a close 2-1 decision to Broukal back at IHSWCA Duals.
       

      138 –
      In short, this weight class is loaded. I could have nailed all the Ticket Punchers or after the dust settles I might miss all 4. Don’t miss 138 on Saturday!Ticket Punchers – Tyler Hupp, Isaiah Kemper, Cory Troutman, Brady Meenach
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Don’t leave your seats, lots of interesting first round match ups here that could really shake up brackets. Brennan Barlow (Bloomington South) vs. Zach Batts (Cascade), Austin Spray (Southwestern) vs. Branson Schroeder (Mater Dei), Patrick Schnell (Castle) vs. Brady Meenach (New Washington), Cory Troutman (Floyd Central) vs. Charlie Allen (Boonville), Ruger Kersteins (Jasper) vs. Jonah Thompson (Greenwood).
      Best R2G – Isaiah Kemper (Evansville Central) vs. Zach Batts (Cascade), Cory Troutman vs. Ruger Kersteins, Phoenix Adams vs. Brandy Meenach, Tyler Hupp vs. Branson Schroeder
      Dark Horses – Anybody not listed in the Ticket Punchers section!
       

      145 –
      Ticket Punchers – Neal Molloy, Brent McCreary, Brendon Kelly, Logan Weinzapfel
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Can I just move some 38lb matches down here? Only one SS ranked match is Alex Riegel (Reitz) vs. Brent McCreary (Mooresville)
      Best R2G – Mike Wayant vs. Logan Weinzapfel
      Dark Horses –
      Grant Brescher (Jasper) – Has a returning SQ in the R2G but this Jasper Junior has had a great year.
       

      152 –
      Ticket Punchers – Brayden Montgomery, Jacob Stevenson, Kyle Stillinger, Kody Henshaw
      Best Curtain Jerkers – John Meldrum (Floyd Central) vs. Jacob Mundy (Southridge)
      Best R2G – Jordan Partee (Madison) vs. Jacob Stevenson (Franklin), Cody Helms (Terre Haute South) vs. Kody Henshaw (Memorial)
      Dark Horses –
      Jordan Partee (Madison) – He’s been to SS 3 times and now is a two time Regional Champ. Can he finally get over the hump w/ a tough draw R2G match looming?
      Ashton Forzerly (Mater Dei) – I think I said it earlier, Never count out Mater Dei in Evansville
       

      160 –
      Ticket Punchers – Mahlon Parkinson, Luke Kriech, Seth Seitzinger, Jacob Franklin
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Jacob Franklin (New Washington) vs Kyle Reeves (Danville) , Cole Kreilein (Jasper) vs. Michael Rynkiewich (Mount Vernon), Dalton Wheeler (Center Grove) vs. Chase Herron (Floyd Central)
      Best R2G – All of them… Very competitive weight class… Luke Kriech (Franklin) vs. Cole Kreilen (Jasper). Kriech’s style of winning close matches and Kreilen’s big move finishers could produce an exciting match.
      Dark Horses –
      Gabe Koontz (Edgewood) – Having Seitzinger two weeks in a row has gotten this very talented sophomore battle ready for Evansville.
      Cole Kreilen (Jasper) – see R2G explanation above
      Dalton Wheeler – He’s been in the R2G before, he has experience
       

      170 –
      Ticket Punchers – Jake Rickenbaugh, Connor Galvin, Larry Schaffer, Evan Elmore
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Jordan Frye (Mooresville) vs. Alex Schneider (Mater Dei)
      Best R2G – Connor Galvin (Bloomington South) vs. Jordan Frye (Mooresville), Jimmy Fisher (Columbus East vs. Evan Elmore (Avon), Garrett Fentz (Franklin) vs. Larry Schaffer (Owen Valley)
      Dark Horses –
      Jimmy Fisher (Columbus East) – I really like Fisher but didn’t want to buck my own rankings. Call it stubbornness. Fisher has multiple wins over Ethan Lee of New Albany while Elmore has lost to him. Fisher has bounced through the tourney almost untouched, will that help or hurt him Saturday?
      Alex Schneider (Evansville Mater Dei) – Not really favored to win either the Curtain jerker or the R2G, see above descriptions. Don’t count out Mater Dei in Evansville
       

      182 –
      Regional outcomes threw this weight class on its head!!Ticket Punchers – Dakota Thacker, Duvante Lane, Jonah Zoringer, Damien Chambers
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Gabe Konerding (Heritage Hills) vs. Michael Petrole (Franklin), Duvante Lane (Evansville North) vs. Connor Ludwig (Brownsburg) ?This could be a finals match!
      Best R2G – Gabe Konerding (Heritage Hills) vs. Dakota Thacker (Bloomington South)
      Dark Horses –
      Michael Petrole (Franklin) – Not wrestling Konerding could help him, having wrestled Thacker could also help him if he gets passed Konerding.
      Tanner Thompson (South Putnam) – The Senior from South Putnam could turn some heads
      Ian Songer (Jasper) – With lots of the attention on Lane/Ludwig, the winner might be thinking of Bankers Life while the Jasper Sophomore will be preparing to give them there Swan SONG(er).
       

      195 –
      Ticket Punchers – Clayton Fiddler, Kalob Salkill, Mitchell Sandlin, Moises Valenciano
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Kalob Salkill (South Spencer) vs. Randy Scott (Mooresville)
      Best R2G – Rudy Harris (South Putnam) vs. Moises Valenciano (Jasper)
      Dark Horses –
      Autry Pickens (Danville) – With only 3 losses and the schedule Danville wrestles shows this junior is no slouch.
      Ben Patton (Edgewood) – This Senior has had a great year, can he put together 2 more matches to end it in Bankers Life?
       

      220 –
      Ticket Punchers – Jared Boehm, Dylan Jones, Connor Tolley, Boyd Haley
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Tyler Harlan (Brownsburg) vs. CJ Andry (Paoli)
      Best R2G – Body Haley (Bloomington South) vs. Austin Pace (Evansville Central)
      Dark Horses –
      Tyler Harlan (Brownsburg) – Does this senior have what it takes to knock off Boehm in the R2G?
       

      285 –
      Flip-A-Coin weight classTicket Punchers – Austin Little, Ethan Schwoeppe, Nathan Wright, Drew Ponder
      Best Curtain Jerkers – Ummm… two top five state ranked wrestlers right off the bat? Austin Little (North Posey) vs. Justin Sampson (Northview)!!
      Best R2G – pick one… I’ll go with Guss Dajani (Bloomington South) vs. Drew Ponder (Center Grove) and Gavin Jolley-Little (Jeffersonville) vs. Ethan Schwoeppe (Southridge)
      Dark Horses –Dalton Miller (Pike Central) – The junior has some big wins already on the year
      Adam Wolka (Seymour) – Can Fozzie Bear pull off two big wins to punch that ticket?
      Rob McKee (Columbus East) – I mean he does have minimal TripleB and TSkin training… That should be enough….
      With so many big matches in the first two rounds, and some big time upsets brewing, fans should really appreciate the action this weekend. Don’t forget your blankets and hand warmers folks and remember, it takes a real man to eat Dippin Dots in a 60 degree arena.
      Good Luck This Weekend!

      446

      2013 Merrillville Semi-State Preview

      The Merrillville Semi State has been a premier site to watch top quality wrestling as the staff does an admirable job with the facility and they always make the finals special for the kids.  The addition of of the consolation wrestle back this year might just be the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to looking for a new facility.
       
      106
       
      The wee wrestlers have a pretty deep field that has talent coming from all over the semistate.  #6 Michael Garza and #2 Jake Sinkovics appear to be a cut above the rest of the field.  Both have been this far before with Garza pinning Sinko last year at semi-state.  Sinkovics has stormed back this year and has run the table with impressive dominating victories over both Garza and Garrett's Hayden Lee at the Al Smith Invite.
       
      In the upper half of the bracket, I like Penn's #13 Drew Hildebrandt and Lafayette Harrison's Daniel Davis to survive their quarter brackets.  Both must survive challenging ticket round battles.  Hildebrandt will likely battle New Prairie's physical Chris Trent and Davis might have his hands full with Plymouth's Cody Allmon.
       
      Winner – Sinkovics
      Runner UP – Hildebrandt
      #3 – Garza
      Hoping not to draw Red – Davis
       
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Jake Sinkovics Mishawaka
      2. Chris Trent- New Prairie
      3. Mike Garza-Merrillville
      4. Daniel Davis- Lafayette Harrison
       
       
       

      113
       
      There are a few stone cold, lead pipe locks at Merrillville and the 113 weight class provides one of them in junior Stevan Micic.  The top-ranked Micic has not been seriously challenged this year.  Second ranked Zach Davis is in this bracket but I have serious doubts that there is anyone in the state who will test Micic, who is also ranked 2nd nationally by FloWrestling.
       
      Penn's Zach Davis is the clear number two wrestler at this weight and he will likely be joined on the podium by South Bend Clay's #14 Jacob Hartman and the winner of the best ticket round match, Portage's #7 Gaige Torres and Benton Central's Cole Lukaszka.
       
      Winner – Micic
      Runner UP – Davis
      #3 – Torres
      Banker's Life trip - Hartman
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Stevan Micic Hanover Central
      2. Gaige Torres- Portage
      3. Zach Davis- Penn
      4. Jacob Hartman- Clay
       
      120
       
      A very compelling semi final clash will highlight this weight class if the bracket “follows chalk”.  A veteran Region rumbler, #5 ranked Adam Garcia of Merrillville will attempt to reverse a loss to Lowell's third ranked super frosh, Drew Hughes, that he suffered back in late December.  Hughes has been basically unchallenged at this weight and his name has been thrown around as a state title contender.
       
      In the other half of the bracket, Warsaw's Luis Munoz will have to fight off challenges from Hammond Morton's Ruben Rodriguez and veteran Lake Central lightweight, Matt Lechowicz to reach the finals.  Munoz is very slick on his feet and his neutral work might be enough to carry him to the finals.
       
      Winner – Hughes
      Runner UP – Munoz
      #3 – Garcia
      #4 – Lechowicz
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Drew Hughes-Lowell
      2. Matt Lechowicz- Lake Central
      3. Adam Garcia- Merrillville
      4. Ruben Rodriguez- Morton
       
       
       
      126
       
      Crown Point will get on the Merrillville podium at 126 when 27-0 Josh Fuqua dispatches all challengers this Saturday.  Fuqua will have the memory of last year's tough ticket round loss to Adam Garcia driving him toward his goal of being a semi state champion.  Fuqua's will probably battle the winner of the Blake Denton-Max Buckley match up. Valparaiso's 12th ranked Buckley has battled injury throughout his career but is battle tested.  Twin Lakes' sixth ranked Denton is not your typical Logansport regional kid.  He is very good on his feet and is already a two time state qualifier as a junior.
       
      Winner – Fuqua
      Runner UP – Denton
      3rd – Scott Warner – South Bend Riley
      4th – Buckley
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Josh Fuqua Crown Point
      2. Blake Denton- Twin Lakes
      3. Max Buckley- Valparaiso
      4. Dylan Logsdon- Portage
       
       
       
      132
       
      The 132 weight class might just be the deepest in the field at Merrillville.  The injury to Portage's highly ranked Julian Torres is a blow but the class remains deep and talented.  Look for South Bend Clay's second ranked Mitch Hartman to shake off a couple of frustrating losses the last two weekends and reach the finals.  He will likely have to defeat Merrillville upstart, freshman Jacob Covaciu.  The 7th ranked Covaciu will have his own ticket round thriller versus Penn senior Josh Curcio.
       
      The bottom half of the bracket will likely play out with a couple of battle hardened seniors reaching the semi finals in Mishawaka's eighth ranked Grant Martsoff and Crown Point's sixth ranked Trevor Burlison.  This match up will be a tactical low scoring affair but I like the way Martsoff has handled himself the past two weeks and look for him to take the narrow victory.
       
      Winner – Martsoff
      Runner UP – Hartman
      #3 – Burlison
      #4 – Covaciu
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Trevor Burlison- Crown Point
      2. Julian Torres- Portage
      3. Grant Martsolf- Mishawaka
      4. Jacob Covaciu- Merrillville
       
       
       
      138
       
      The second stone cold lead pipe lock at Merrillville looks to be Mishawaka's super soph, Tommy Forte.  He is ranked first in the state and 20th nationally.  The bracket is set up for him to cruise into the finals where he will face the winner of the highly anticipated ticket round battle between three time state finalist Anthony McHugh of Culver Military and 6th ranked Crown Point Bulldog Darden Schurg.
       
      The other two state finalists are a little less clear cut.  I like Penn's Alex Rinehart to win a close battle with Rensselaer Central's regional champ Hunter Hickman and Kankakee Valley's Jimmy Marich to prevail over Merrillville's Isaac Rentas.
       
      Winner – Forte
      Runner UP – McHugh
      3rd – Rinehart
      4th – Marich
       
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Tommy Forte- Mishawaka
      2. Darden Schurg- Crown Point
      3. Alex Rinehart- Penn
      4. Isaac Rentas- Merrillville
       
       
       
      145
       
      The Jason Tsirtsis era is over at 145 so this weight class opens up for a host of new challengers.  This is another bracket where the best match might just be in the semi finals.  A pair of one loss titans will likely square off when Mishawaka's 4th ranked Tristan Macri battles 6th ranked Chris Katsafaros in a rematch of the Al Smith finals back in December.  Conditioning appeared to play a factor in Macri's narrow win so if Cheese Towner has that part of his game tightened up, expect a donnybrook.
       
      The other side of the bracket will likely pit Lowell senior and 9th ranked Mitch Roadruck against the winner of the top ticket round match between Penn's Joey Mammolenti and Portage's Stephon Wilkins.
       
      Winner – Macri
      Runner UP – Roadruck
      #3 – Katsafaros
      #4 – Mammolenti
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Chris Katsafaros- Chesterton
      2. Mitch Roadruck- Lowell
      3. Tristan Macri- Mishawaka
      4. Joe Mammolenti- Penn
       
       
       
       
       
      152
       
      The 152 pound class might be a mirror image of the the 138 pound class with Rochester regional foes squaring off again under the lights at Merrillville.  South Bend Adams' 11th ranked Sam Ferdig is a long, lean and mean tilting machine and his conference foe is Penn's stout grinder Trevor Manspeaker.  The only thing preventing a finals match up for the third week in a row is a Bulldog named Schurg from Crown Point.  Schurg the Elder (Dustin) is the class of this bracket and will be standing on top of the podium Saturday night.  His conference rival, Danny Roach of Portage is the likely 4th member of this class to make his way to Indy.
       
      Winner – Schurg
      Runner UP – Ferdig
      Third – Manspeaker
      #4 – Roach
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Dustin Schurg- Crown Point
      2. Danny Roach- Portage
      3. Sam Ferdig- Adams
      4. Trevor Manspeaker- Penn
       
       
       
      160
       
      In the northern half of the state, this weight class has been owned by Kenny Hughes of Lowell.  The #2 ranked Hughes has pinned most of his opponents this year and this semi state bracket will be his for the taking.  Hughes has separated himself from the field.  He will likely face conference rival Mark Maldonado of Highland in the semis.  Maldo's lone loss on the season is to Hughes.
       
      In the top half of the bracket, Bishop Noll's Damien Gomez is likely to repeat in his bid for spot at Banker's Life.  The last spot is really a toss up as three talented ranked grapplers will duke it out.  South Bend Riley's Chase Hack, Merrillville's Matthew Hollins, and Crown Point's Dax Jones all have a realistic shot punching their respective ticket to Indy.
       
      Winner – Hughes
      Runner UP – Gomez
      #3 – Maldonado
      #4 – Hack
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Kenny Hughes- Lowell
      2. Damien Gomez- Bishop Noll
      3. Mark Maldonado- Highland
      4. Matthew Hollins- Merrillville
       
       
       
       
       
      170
       
      The third of my stone cold lead pipe locks is at 170 with the ultra talented and top ranked Merrillville Pirate, Bobby Steveson.  His likely finals foe is longtime rival Scottie Sopko of Hobart.  Sopko had a hiccup at the Al Smith tournament but has been locked in ever since.  Sopko should face a ticket round challenge from Rochester regional champ, Jeff Wiseman of Penn.
       
      The other state qualifiers are more of a toss up as LaPorte's talented junior Mike Eldridge is likely to be pushed in his opener versus Kelly Kolat of South Bend Washington and conference rival Jeff Brassea of Lake Central.  The final quarter bracket looks to be wide open.
       
      Winner – Steveson
      Runner UP – Sopko
      Third – Mark Hurford
      Fourth – Mike Eldridge
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Bobby Steveson- Merrillville
      2. Scottie Sopko- Hobart
      3. Mike Eldridge- LaPorte
      4. Jade Doty- West Lafayette
       
       
       
      182
       
      Senior two time state finalist Matt Hurford of Culver Community looks to be the class of the field at 182.  The top ranked Cavalier will look to be a semi state champ for the first time.  He will likely face the winner of the Tyler Scott/Exvonte Jones ticket round battle.  I feel that Scott will be the winner in a tightly contested match.
       
      The other half of the bracket features Hobart senior Tony Rodriguez who will be tested by South Bend St. Joseph or Kankakee Valley's Tim Schoonveld in a ticket round tilt.  The final spot has set up nicely for Crown Point's Matt Langbehn.
       
      Winner – Hurford
      Runner UP – Rodriguez
      Third – Scott
      Fourth – Langbehn
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Matt Hurford- Culver Community
      2. Antonio Rodriguez- Hobart
      3. Exvonte Jones- Portage
      4. Matt Langbehn- Crown Point
       
       
       
      195
       
      The 195 class returns a couple of wrestlers with state level experience.  Last year's semi state runner up, Jacob Ricks of Benton Central appears on a collision course with Crown Point's undefeated sophomore, Morgan Kral.  Ricks lone loss on the season was to Mason Nickell of Roncalli at the Connersville Classic.  Kral has proved his mettle in a few close matches this season.
       
      The top quarter bracket has set up nicely for Lowell's big man, Ryan Patterson.  He will likely face Merrillville grinder Alex Jara in a ticket round matchup.  South Bend Clay's Jaylin Allen will look to join the Hartman brothers on the floor of Bankers Life but might be tested in the ticket round if Twin Lakes' Kevin Winkle is healthy.
       
      Winner – Ricks
      Runner UP – Kral
      #3 – Allen
      #4 – Ryan Patterson
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Jacob Ricks- Benton Central
      2. Jaylin Allen- Clay
      3. Ryan Patterson- Lowell
      4. Morgan Kral- Crown Point
       
       
       
      220
       
      The last of the stone cold lead pipe locks is at 220 where Lake Central's electric Gelen Robinson is a man among boys in this bracket.  Robinson is one of the most exciting wrestlers in the state.  We shall see if anyone wants to go toe to toe, chest to chest with the big Indian.  His first round opponent, Tyler Schmitt is a talented thrower in his own right so get your popcorn early for a potential show.
       
      The second quarter bracket should feature an excellent ticket round tilt when Mishawaka's Braxton Eby will likely face Kankakee Valley's Matt Berdine.  The bottom half of the bracket will likely pit LaPorte's Benni Standifer against South Bend Adams' Kenan Boyd.
       
      Winner – Robinson
      Runner UP – Kenan Boyd
      3rd – Braxton Eby
      4th – Benni Standifer
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Gelen Robinson- Lake Central
      2. Roberto Yanez- River Forest
      3. Braxton Eby- Mishawaka
      4. Seth Meyer- Harrison
       
       
       
      285
       
      Can the legend of the Rochester Regional and Merrillville semi state continue in 2013?  The regional and semi state have produced the last two state champions in the big boy division.  The regional's best hope lies in mammoth Shakir Carr of South Bend Clay.  The D-1 football recruit battled to the end and won the Rochester regional in exciting fashion.  By doing so, Carr avoided the toughest quarter bracket which includes Merrillville's freshman phenom Shawn Streck, West Lafayette's John Duvall and South Bend Adams' Kali Boyd.  The other two quarter brackets have set up nicely for Chesterton's athletic Riley Harlow and Hanover Central's Josh Bartoszek.
       
      Winner – Streck
      Runner UP – Carr
      3rd – Bartoszek
      4th - Harlow
       
      Mike's Cold Hard Locks
      1. Shawn Streck- Merrillville
      2. Shakir Carr- Clay
      3. Joshua Bartoszek- Hanover Central
      4. Riley Harlow- Chesterton

      246

      Final 2012-13 IndianaMat.com Team Rankings

      1. Perry Meridian
       
      2. Warren Central
       
      3. Franklin Community
       
      4. Bloomington South
       
      5. Crown Point
       
      6. Penn
       
      7. Merrillville
       
      8. Ev. Mater Dei
       
      9. Center Grove
       
      10. Portage
       
      11. Hamilton SE
       
      12. Carroll (Ft. Wayne)
       
      13. East Noble
       
      14. New Palestine
       
      15. Mishawaka
       
      16. Yorktown
       
      17. Floyd Central
       
      18. Jasper
       
      19. Franklin Central
       
      20. SB Clay

      292

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings Final 2013

      Due to this year’s IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.
       
       




      1
      Perry Meridian
      108


      2(tie)
      Yorktown
      59


      2(tie)
      Warren Central
      59


      4
      Mishawaka
      58


      5(tie)
      Crown Point
      48


      5(tie)
      Bloomington South
      48


      7
      Merrillville
      44


      8(tie)
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      40


      8(tie)
      Hamilton Southeastern
      40


      10
      New Palestine
      34


      11
      Lowell
      33


      12(tie)
      South Bend Clay
      30


      12(tie)
      Danville
      30


      14
      Franklin Community
      28


      15(tie)
      Penn
      25


      15(tie)
      Muncie Southside
      25


      15(tie)
      Jimtown
      25


      18(tie)
      Heritage Hills
      24


      18(tie)
      Avon
      24


      20(tie)
      Lake Central
      23


      20(tie)
      Fishers
      23


      20(tie)
      Culver Community
      23


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1
       

      324

      IndianaMat.com Team Rankings 1/15

      *Rankings based on dual team strength
       
      1. Perry Meridian
       
      2. Franklin Community
       
      3. Warren Central
       
      4. Bloomington South
       
      5. Penn
       
      6. Crown Point
       
      7. Merrillville
       
      8. Evansville Mater Dei
       
      9. Center Grove
       
      10. Portage
       
      11. Hamilton Southeastern
       
      12. Carroll (Fort Wayne)
       
      13. East Noble
       
      14. New Palestine
       
      15. Mishawaka
       
      16. Yorktown
       
      17. Jasper
       
      18. Floyd Central
       
      19. Zionsville
       
      20. Noblesville

      243

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings 1/15

      Due to this year’s IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.




      1
      Perry Meridian
      107


      2
      Yorktown
      59


      3
      Mishawaka
      57


      4
      New Palestine
      53


      5
      Crown Point
      47


      6
      Bloomington South
      46


      7
      Warren Central
      45


      8(tie)
      Merrillville
      40


      8(tie)
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      40


      10
      Hamilton Southeastern
      36


      11
      Lowell
      31


      12
      Danville
      29


      13
      Franklin Community
      27


      14(tie)
      South Bend Clay
      25


      14(tie)
      Penn
      25


      14(tie)
      Muncie Southside
      25


      14(tie)
      Jimtown
      25


      18(tie)
      Heritage Hills
      24


      18(tie)
      Avon
      24


      20(tie)
      Lake Central
      23


      20(tie)
      Hanover Central
      23


      20(tie)
      Fishers
      23


      20(tie)
      Evansville Mater Dei
      23


      20(tie)
      Culver Community
      23


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1

      257

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings 1/9

      Due to this year’s IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.




      1
      Perry Meridian
      119


      2
      Yorktown
      57


      3
      Mishawaka
      56


      4
      New Palestine
      53


      5
      Crown Point
      45


      6
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      44


      7
      Merrillville
      43


      8
      Warren Central
      41


      9
      Hamilton Southeastern
      37


      10
      Penn
      36


      11(tie)
      Lowell
      32


      11(tie)
      Franklin Community
      32


      13
      Danville
      30


      14
      Bloomington South
      29


      15
      Evansville Mater Dei
      28


      16
      Muncie Southside
      25


      17(tie)
      Jimtown
      24


      17(tie)
      Avon
      24


      19(tie)
      South Bend Clay
      23


      19(tie)
      Heritage Hills
      23


      19(tie)
      Hanover Central
      23


      19(tie)
      Fishers
      23


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1

      242

      IndianaMat.com Team Rankings 1/7/13

      1. Perry Meridian
       
      2. Franklin Community
       
      3. Warren Central
       
      4. Bloomington South
       
      5. Penn
       
      6. Merrillville
       
      7. Evansville Mater Dei
       
      8. Crown Point
       
      9. Portage
       
      10. Hamilton Southeastern
       
      11. New Palestine
       
      12. East Noble
       
      13. Center Grove
       
      14. Carroll(Fort Wayne)
       
      15. Mishawaka
       
      16. Jasper
       
      17. Floyd Central
       
      18. Yorktown
       
      19. Zionsville
       
      20. Westfield

      262

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings 12/31

      Due to this year’s IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.




      1
      Perry Meridian
      116


      2
      Mishawaka
      56


      3
      Yorktown
      53


      4
      Warren Central
      44


      5
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      43


      6
      Crown Point
      42


      7
      New Palestine
      41


      8(tie)
      Hamilton Southeastern
      39


      8(tie)
      Bloomington South
      39


      8(tie)
      Merrillville
      38


      11
      Franklin Community
      37


      12
      Heritage Hills
      33


      13
      Lowell
      32


      14
      Danville
      31


      15(tie)
      Jay County
      30


      15(tie)
      Evansville Mater Dei
      27


      17
      South Bend Clay
      24


      18
      Muncie Southside
      24


      18(tie)
      Jimtown
      24


      20(tie)
      Castle
      24


      20(tie)
      Fishers
      23


      20(tie)
      Western Boone
      22


      20(tie)
      Lake Central
      22


      20(tie)
      Hanover Central
      22


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1
       

      363

      2012 Year in Review

      This past year was filled with a lot of great stories in the sport of wrestling. Here is a recap of the top ten stories from the year in no particular order.
       
      1. Miracle to state
      Kayla Miracle became the first female to qualify for state in Indiana. She did so the hard way by finishing 4th at regional then won her first two matches to qualify for state. At state she suffered a 4-0 loss to Hayden Lee of Garrett to end her run.
       
      2. Miracle and Sliga place at Worlds
      Mitch Sliga and Kayla Miracle both wrestled in the FILA Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan in August.  Both made it to the semi-finals and were guaranteed spots on the awards stand. Sliga dropped his semi-final bout and finished 5th in the world. Miracle made it to the finals and dropped her match to a tough wrestler from Japan.
       
      3. Tsirtsis wins his fourth state title
      Jason Tsirtsis of Crown Point became the 8th four-time state champion in Indiana history. He defeated Cathedral’s Vinny Corsaro in the finals to cap his history four year run. On top of that he also duplicated the feat of his older brother Alex in claiming four state titles.
       
      4. Big time coaching changes
      This past offseason saw a lot of coaching changes as usual, but this year it involved a lot of big name coaches.  Elkhart Memorial’s Brian Seltzer moved south to Indianapolis to take over the head coaching job at Lawrence North. Former Portage coach and CIA founder Ed Pendoski took over the Carmel program. Former four-time state champion Blake Maurer took over the Gibson Southern job after being an assistant at his alma mater Mater Dei. Finally, Bryce Hasseman made his return to Indiana to take over perennial powerhouse Mishawaka.
       
      5. IndianaMat makes it 4 years
      IndianaMat celebrated their fourth birthday in 2012. It is astonishing how the website has grown over the years and the following it has throughout the state. With over 9 million page views and 150,000 unique visitors over the past year the site will only continue to grow.
       
      6. IHSWCA Team State
      The IHSAA announced an end to the team state competition after the 2012 season. However, the IHSWCA took the reins and created a new IHSWCA Team State Duals with three classes. The event was a hit with Adams Central winning 1A, Yorktown winning 2A and Perry Meridian winning 3A.
       
      7. Olympic Team Trails with Indiana representation
      With 2012 being an Olympic year that meant that there would be an Olympic Team Trials. This year with a capacity crowd on hand we saw quite a few Indiana natives in the event.  Sarah Hildebrandt wrestled in the women’s division. She went 0-2 but lost two close matches and the experience will lead to her being a contender for the 2016 Olympic team. In men’s freestyle Angel Escobedo, Reece Humphrey, Andrew Howe and Bryce Hassemen all came up short of their goals of making the team. Howe made the finals, but was defeated by the eventual Olympic Champion Jordan Burroughs in the first bout. He ended up being injured in that bout and could not continue. Escobedo and Hasseman both has rough draws and did not make the finals. Finally, due to an injury Reece Humphrey did not actually wrestle-off until June for his spot. He lost to eventual bronze medalist Coleman Scott. The good news is it looks as if all but Hasseman are going to be making the push for the 2016 games.
       
      8. Perry dominates for the second year in a row
      After coming up short numerous times Perry Meridian and Coach Jim Tonte captured their second straight state title. This time is was even more dominant than in 2011. To add insult to injury it looks as if Perry Meridian will be running the streak to three in 2013.
       
      9. Tsirtsis and Brooks at Dapper Dan
      Jason Tsirtsis and Jarred Brooks became the fourth and fifth Indiana natives to be invited to wrestle in the prestigious Dapper Dan dual meet. Both were ranked #1 at the end of the season in various polls and at the Dapper Dan wrestled two top wrestlers from Pennsylvania. Brooks won 8-5 over Billy Rappo. Tsirtsis won 13-4 over Zach Beitz in his match. Both wins helped propel Team USA to a 34-9 victory over Team Pennsylvania. The two wins also keep Indiana’s record in the Dapper Dan Classic perfect at 5-0.
       
      10. Barroquillo wrestles in the All-Star Classic
      Travis Barroquillo of Indiana Tech was invited this fall to participate in the NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington DC. He wrestled Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sam Shames in the event in early November. Barroquillo defeated Shames 8-2. He was the fifth Indiana native to wrestle in the event. Barroquillo joined the likes of Leroy Vega, Will Hill, Reece Humphrey and Alan Grammer as Indiana natives to participate in the event.

      290

      IndianaMat.com Team Rankings 12/31

      1. Perry Meridian
       
      2. Franklin
       
      3. Warren Central
       
      4. Crown Point
       
      5. Penn
       
      6. Bloomington South
       
      7. Evansville Mater Dei
       
      8. Portage
       
      9. Merrillville
       
      10. Hamilton Southeastern
       
      11. New Palestine
       
      12. East Noble
       
      13. Center Grove
       
      14. Yorktown
       
      15. Floyd Central
       
      16. Carroll(Fort Wayne)
       
      17. Mishawaka
       
      18. Noblesville
       
      19. Jasper
       
      20. Elkhart Memorial

      387

      Crazy Week of Wrestling Recap

      To say the least the past eight days of wrestling has been filled with a lot of wrestling action.  On top of that a lot of top ranked wrestlers and teams hit the mats in some of the biggest events of the year. Here is a recap of each of the events over the course of the past week.
       
      IHSWCA Team State Duals
      In the first year of the duals it was a home run as Adams Central, Yorktown and Perry Meridian all claimed titles. Adams Central defeated Churubusco in a hotly contested dual, but utilized a strong lower part of their line-up to fend off the Eagles. Yorktown handled Evansville Memorial in the finals, only losing two matches in the championship bout. Perry Meridian fended off a tough Franklin squad in the 3A finals. Franklin won three matches and lost four others by three points or less.
       
      On the individual side in Outstanding Wrestlers were 1A #10 Cody Walburn of Adams Central, 2A #3 Chandler Carroll of Yorktown and 3A #2 Brandon James of Perry Meridian. The Technical Superiourity awards were given to 1A Brandon Wormcastle of Churubusco, 2A #1 Nick Crume of Jimtown and 3A DJ Smith of Franklin.
       
      Al Smith Invitational
      As always the Al Smith Invitational is littered with state ranked teams and individuals. Due to snowmagedon Danville, Jasper and Princeton were not able to make the trip. On the team side, Penn won by one point over Merrillville on superior depth. Penn started the second day with nine wrestlers in the semi-finals, but only one made it to the finals. Merrillville however landed five in the finals, but only came away with one championship. Mishawaka and South Bend Clay both had three champions while Lowell came away with two champions thanks to the Hughes family. Another team that had a great tournament was Peru who finished in 8th place.
       
      With every Al Smith Invitational comes a boat load of upsets and this year was no different. Mishawaka’s Jake Sinkovics dominated #2 Hayden Lee 6-2 in the finals and #4 Michael Garza in the semi-finals 6-1 to claim the 106lbs championship. At 120lbs the 8th seeded Drew Hughes went through a meat grinder to come away the champion, defeating #1 Adam Garcia, #8 Alex Sparks, and #13 Zach Davis along the way. Jimtown Jimmie Nick Crume was dominate all day long with bonus point victories in every match. Tommy Forte and Bobby Steveson both claimed their second Al Smith titles in as many years and are on track to become the second and third four-time titlists.  Triva: Who is the only 4-time Al Smith Champion? (Answer at the end of the article)
       
      Both Hartman brothers brought home titles for the Colonials along with heavyweight Shakir Carr. Kenny Hughes of Lowell had five pins along the way to his championship to also join his brother on top of the podium. Gelen Robinson claimed his second Al Smith title and 195lber Dominique Avila claimed his first title for South Bend Riley.  Bellmont’s Brad Busse had four pins and then an injury default in the finals to claim his championship. Rounding out the champions were Mishawaka’s Tristan Macri and Columbus East’s Kyle Stillinger.
       
      Connersville Spartan Classic
      East Noble pulled away from conference rival Carroll to claim the team championship on the strength of championship performances from Garrett Pepple, Connor Knapp and Sterling Lutter. Carroll was led by Riley Lefever who claimed a championship at 170lbs and defeated #2 ranked Anthony Linnear 12-1 in the semi-finals. Another big match-up was at 152lbs where #2 Josh Farrell defeated #5 Vinny Corsaro  in the finals. Mitch Sliga of Fishers won the 195lbs bracket and also was voted outstanding wrestler for the tournament. Wesley Bernard gave Cathedral a second champion claiming the big boys weight class. Other top wrestlers with championship include Tom Gettinger, Zach Krumlauf, Tyler Hupp and Austin McCloskey.
       
      Mater Dei Holiday Classic
      The Mater Dei Classic had more than its fair share of great wrestling on Friday and Saturday. The host Mater Dei, Franklin and New Palestine were all hoping to bring home  championship, but it was Union County out of Kentucky taking the title away from the host Wildcats for the first time in 29 years. Franklin and Mater Dei were within striking distance, but could not pull it out at the end.
       
      On the individual side, #1 Chad Red defeated #3 DJ Smith in the finals 6-4 in a great matchup that could be a preview of the state finals. Terrence Kennedy claimed the championship at 113lbs for Floyd Central. Grizzly Cub #14 Skyler Lykins defeated #12 Josh Pierre in the finals at 132lbs in a battle of ranked wrestlers. At 160lbs #4 Mahlon Parkinson defeated #8 Luke Kriech 7-0 to claim the only championship for the host school. Avon had two champions in 182lber Jonah Zorringer and 220lber Dylan Jones who defeated Franklin’s Conner Tolley in the finals. Jacob Brownfield of Franklin rounded out the Hoosier champions at the tournament.
       
      North Montgomery Holiday Duals
      Perry Meridian continue their roll through the state in going undefeated in the tough dual tournament. They shut out a very tough Portage team along with New Haven. They only allowed 10 points against Carmel, 6 against North Montgomery and 15 against Bloomington South. Warren Central defeated both Bloomington South and Portage to help make their case for a top three ranking. Conner Galvin of Bloomington South was voted Outstanding wrestler after going undefeated at 170lbs.
       
      Mooresville Holiday Classic
      Yorktown took the title at Mooresville in their 16-team tournament. They were lead by champions Cael McCormick, Schuyler Phillips, Dalton Baysinger, Eli Walker and Rhett Hiestand.  While not winning a championship, Yorktown’s Chandler Carroll, had a great match with Evansville Central’s Brendon Kelley. The match featured numerous scrambles and close calls, yet Kelley came out on top 2-0 on a reversal in the second period. Bishop Dwenger’s Ben Evans won the 182lbs bracket over #11 Conner Ludwig.
       
       

      286

      Indianamat.com Team Rankings 12/26

      These rankings are based off dual team strength.
       
      1. Perry Meridian
       
      2. Franklin Community
       
      3. Penn
       
      4. Bloomington South
       
      5. Evansville Mater Dei
       
      6. Crown Point
       
      7. Warren Central
       
      8. Portage
       
      9. Hamilton Southeastern
       
      10. Merrillville
       
      11. Carroll(Fort Wayne)
       
      12. New Palestine
       
      13. Yorktown
       
      14. Center Grove
       
      15. East Noble
       
      16. Floyd Central
       
      17. Mishawaka
       
      18. Noblesville
       
      19. Jasper
       
      20. Elkhart Memorial

      343

      2012 Al Smith Coverage

      Dates:
      Thursday, December 27th, 2012 (Apprx.) 10:45 AM
      We will wrestle until there are four wrestlers in the losers’ bracket and four
      wrestlers in the winners’ bracket.
       
      Friday, December 28th 9:00 AM
      Small Break between each round
      Introduction to Finals 1:30 PM
      Finals shortly after 1:30PM introductions
       
      Participating Teams:
      Bellmont, Calumet, Center Grove, Chesterton, Columbus East, Danville, Elkhart Memorial, Garrett, Goshen, Hobart, Jasper, Jimtown, LaPorte, Lake Central, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, Lowell, Merrillville, Michigan City, Mishawaka, Munster, Northwood, Penn, Peru, Prairie Heights, Princeton Community, Rochester, S.B. Adams, S.B. Clay, S.B. Riley, Warsaw Community, West Noble
       
      Brackets:
      Individual Brackets
      Team Scores

      350

      IHSWCA Team State Duals 3A Championship Matches

      Videos from the IHSWCA Team State Duals 3A Championship between Perry Meridian and Franklin
       

      302

      IHSWCA Team State Duals 2A Championship Matches

      Videos from the IHSWCA Team State Duals 2A Championship between Yorktown and Evansville Memorial

      306

      IHSWCA Team State Duals 1A Championship Matches

      Videos from the IHSWCA Team State Duals 1A Championship between Adams Central and Churubusco
       

      254

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings 12/24

      Due to this year’s IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.  Here is the inaugural poll.




      1
      Perry Meridian
      111


      2
      Merrillville
      57


      3
      Yorktown
      48


      4
      Bloomington South
      47


      5
      New Palestine
      46


      6
      Mishawaka
      42


      7
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      39


      8(tie)
      Warren Central
      34


      8(tie)
      Heritage Hills
      32


      8(tie)
      Danville
      32


      11
      Hamilton Southeastern
      30


      12
      Jay County
      28


      13
      Franklin Community
      26


      14
      Fishers
      25


      15(tie)
      Crown Point
      25


      15(tie)
      Penn
      24


      17
      Muncie Southside
      24


      18
      Jimtown
      24


      18(tie)
      Evansville Mater Dei
      24


      20(tie)
      Hanover Central
      23


      20(tie)
      Western Boone
      22


      20(tie)
      Lowell
      22


      20(tie)
      Lake Central
      22


      20(tie)
      Castle
      22


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1

      278

      IHSWCA Team State Duals: The Good and Bad

      Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the first of hopefully many IHSWCA Team State Duals championships. There has been lots of criticism and praise of the event from the selection to the date and everything in between.  It was a great day of wrestling and for the first go-round, it was spectacular. As with anything in life if you don’t strive to improve the product will suffer. Here are some things I saw as a casual fan and promoter of the sport.

      The Good
      1A Teams and Fans
       
      [caption id=attachment_4708" align="alignright" width="300] Adams Central celebrates after a big win[/caption]
       
      During the finals the fans and teams really got after it and every match was exciting. It was a great atmosphere and it seemed the kids and coaches had the most enthusiasm of any of the classes.  You could tell Adams Central and Churubusco put a lot of stock in this event and each point scored was cheered by each squad.
       
      Coaches and Schools getting excited for the event
      Lots of schools made this event a big deal and it showed in not only things like t-shirts, but fan support. Great job to everyone that made this tournament something special.
       
      Mater Dei bumping up
      It is very rare that a team will bump up classes, but Mater Dei did and lost by the slimmest of margins. Thank you for not being a big fish in a small pond Wildcats and getting after it with the big boys.
       
      Refs
      The refs were great and were “not seen” for most of the day. Great job by the IHSWCA getting the best refs in the state.
       
      Awards
      The awards were top notch for everyone and not only will the participants have great memories they will have a great keepsake to go along with it.

      The Bad
      Fans for the Finals
      I was disappointed to not see many casual fans or fans from teams not in the finals staying to watch the last three matches.
       
      Team Scoreboards
      It was extremely difficult to keep track of the team score of each match if you didn’t have TrackWrestling on your phone.
       
      People complaining about the process
      I for one am not shy about criticizing the IHSWCA, but this time they did a great job with what they had to work with. I would love for an in-season “wildcard” to be awarded, but there is no feasible way of doing this. Maybe our IHSAA Commissioner will give us a weigh-in exemption and we can do this…hint hint Mr. Faulkens!

      Suggestions
      While the IHSWCA did a great job and hit a home run with this event, I feel that they are still not even close to what this event can be.  Here are a few suggestions that they will hopefully look at for the future.
       
      Facilities
      Westfield has great facilities that 99% of the schools in the state are jealous of, but the place was cramped on the floor. The IHSWCA should look into having the event at a place like the Pepsi Coliseum at the fairgrounds. That would add a lot of flare to the event and give it more prestige with it being held outside of a high school.
       
      Team Entry Fee
      It seems weird for the IHSWCA to invite a team, then charge them to enter the event. What about waiving or reducing the entry fee if a team sells X amount of presale tickets? This is a great way for teams to save money and get more fans to the event.  This would also be a great way for teams to recoup some of their expenses if the IHSWCA would give teams a cut of their sales after X number of tickets sold.
       
      Promotion
      This is where I feel the IHSWCA really dropped the ball. This event should have been shoved down the throats of the fans of the sport since the start of practice in late October.  Have someone create a webpage(not in MS Word) with all the information for the event. Maybe ask some person at IndianaMat for a banner ad and other promotional help, they seemed to do well with that preseason event in September.
       
      Sponsors
      Need more sponsors! This is a great event and there seemed to be a lack of sponsors. Sponsors could help with securing a facility like the Pepsi Coliseum and reduce team travel expenses. Hotel sponsors would love to give a reduced rate for people attending the event. Restaurants would love to hand out coupons and such. The list goes on and these companies would love to have acknowledgement during the event.

      697

      IHSWCA Team State Streaming Video

      The following are the links to the video streams for the IHSWCA Team State Finals. This video streaming will be directly linked to TrackWrestling and will be live all day Saturday with wrestling action.  You can watch all or one of the streams to see your favorite wrestlers and teams competing.
       
      Mat 1:

       
      Mat 2:

       
      Mat 3:

       
      Mat 4:

      505

      IHSWCA Team Rankings 12/13

      3A Rankings
      2A Rankings
      1A Rankings


      1. Perry Meridian
      1. Yorktown
      1. Adams Central


      2. Bloomington South
      2. Jimtown
      2. Fremont


      3. Franklin
      3. Evansville Memorial
      3. Churubusco


      4. Penn
      4. North Montgomery
      4. South Adams


      5. Evansville Mater Dei
      5. Danville
      5. North White


      6. Crown Point
      6. Heritage Hills
      6. North Miami


      7. Warren Central
      7. Leo
      7. North Newton


      8. Portage
      8. Jasper
      8. Fountain Central


      9. Merrillville
      9t. Belmont
      9. Milan


      10. Hamilton SE
      9t. Culver Academy
      10. Prairie Heights


      273

      IndianaMat Team Power Rankings 12/18

      Due to this year's IHSAA State Championship being determined at the individual state finals, we have developed a power poll based off of the IndianaMat individual rankings. This poll will simply give point values to each ranking spot and totals them up for each team.  Here is the inaugural poll.




      1
      Perry Meridian
      115


      2
      Bloomington South
      51


      3
      Merrillville
      47


      4
      Yorktown
      42


      5
      New Palestine
      40


      6
      Mishawaka
      39


      7
      Penn
      34


      8(tie)
      Jimtown
      32


      8(tie)
      Franklin Community
      32


      8(tie)
      Crown Point
      32


      11
      Indianapolis Cathedral
      29


      12
      Danville
      28


      13
      Evansville Reitz
      27


      14
      Lowell
      25


      15(tie)
      Warren Central
      24


      15(tie)
      Muncie Southside
      24


      17
      Heritage Hills
      23


      18(tie)
      Fishers
      22


      18(tie)
      Evansville Mater Dei
      22


      20(tie)
      Western Boone
      20


      20(tie)
      South Deerborn
      20


      20(tie)
      Lake Central
      20


      20(tie)
      Hanover Central
      20


      20(tie)
      Hamilton Southeastern
      20


      Point values are as follows:
      1-22
      2-18
      3-13
      4-11
      5-8
      6-6
      7-4
      8-3
      9-2
      10-2
      11-2
      12-2
      13-1
      14-1
      15-1
      16-1

      279

      2012/2013 Genius Ratings Potential

      From the desk of Maligned:
      Most data through December 8 matches is included.  All ratings should be taken very lightly until more connections can be made between schools. Especially any school with less than five in the "competitions" column should be considered quite inaccurate at this point. Also, we're still filtering out some post-football results that may accidentally be here and shouldn't.
       
      Remember that POTENTIAL is based on point results only (not wins and losses) and is a much stronger predictor of future success than is a wins/losses based rating.
       
      No strength of schedule data is included at this point because it is a virtually useless calculation until more matches are wrestled.
       
      Enjoy!
       
      For more information on the Genius Ratings click this link
      http://www.indianamat.com/genius-ratings-version-2-0/2011/01/
       
      *Hint: Click the table headings to sort by the different columns or use the search to narrow your search by class, sectional or conference.
       
      [table id=10 /]

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