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      2015 IHSWCA Vice Presidential Candidate Mark Line

      1. Tell us what your background in wrestling is as a coach and as a competitor.
      HS: Columbia City
      Collegiate: Anderson (Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference Champion/NAIA qualifier)
      University of Indianapolis
      Coaching: Craig MS (Lawrence Twp. 3 yrs)
      Knox HS/MS (1 yr)
      North Newton HS (3 yrs as volunteer)
      Boone Grove HS (2 yrs)
      Ben Franklin MS/Valparaiso HS (2 yrs volunteer)
      Valparaiso HS (2 yrs)
      20 year IHSWCA Member and current Crown Point Regional Rep
      2. Why did you decide to run for office in the coaches association?
      To work with the Coaches throughout the state to help improve and advance wrestling in Indiana
      3. What does the IHSWCA do well?
      Clinics/Team State/Attempts to communicate desires to the IHSAA
      4. What can the IHSWCA improve on?
      Continue to grow membership
      5. What do you think you can bring to the association as the VP and eventually president?
      Desire to grow the Association and to try to communicate our desires to and work with the
      IHSAA to incorporate them
      6. Who was most influential in your life both as an athlete and coach?
      My Father and Coach Don Armstrong (Columbia City)
      7. How would you go about recruiting more coaches to be members of the association?
      Email AD's, so they can pass it to their coach and then follow up with them, to encourage
      Coaches to include their MS Coaches as well
      8. What makes Indiana high school wrestling so great?
      The State Tournament Series, the number of schools represented throughout and schools
      of all sizes
      9. What other experiences outside of wrestling do you believe would help you in this position?
      I believe in negotiating in the business world will help prepare me in trying to negotiate and work
      with the IHSAA on our proposals
      10. What issue(s) do you feel the coaches association should address?
      Wrestle-backs/ possibly modification of the scoring in the tournament
      11. How would you improve communication between the IHSWCA and wrestling coaches?
      Mass email and/or postings on IndianaMat.com
      12. How does the IHSWCA become an association that is well respected by the IHSAA?
      By continued growth (membership); open forum with members and the IHSAA
      13. In what direction do you see the IHSWCA Team State going?
      I would like to see it remain


      2015 IHSWCA Vice Presidential Candidate Greg Ratliff

      1. Tell us what your background in wrestling is as a coach and as a competitor.
      I have been wrestling since the 6th grade. I got cut from the basketball team and my PE teacher/ wrestling coach Rod Dorsey made sure I got involved with wrestling. I wrestled for 4 years at Franklin Community High School and graduated in 2001. During my last two years of college at IU, I got involved in coaching at the school I student taught at, Mooresville High School. I have coached 2 years at Mooresville (assistant), 1 year at Franklin Community (assistant), 1 year at Benjamin Rush Middle School (head), and 7 years at Edgewood High School (3 assistant and 4 head)
      2. Why did you decide to run for office in the coaches association?
      I want to be involved with the association because it is an opportunity for me to help improve our sport. Wrestling fans are passionate and often very giving of time, energy and support to help improve the sport. I would like to help be an extension of that for our sport.
      3. What does the IHSWCA do well?
      The IHSWCA always has our sport’s best interest in mind. I know they have many good ideas and there are many people that give tons of time to make the association work. I like the way they have focused on bringing back the old team state and improving it.
      4. What can the IHSWCA improve on?
      I believe that we can probably work more on communicating with our members and the voices of our sport. It sounds like there has also already been a movement to start to incorporate a little more technology like virtual meetings.
      5. What do you think you can bring to the association as the VP and eventually president?
      I am always open minded and trying to find ways to improve things. I am not a guy that is stuck in his ways. I am all for incorporating technology to our process of doing things. I do a good job of promotion and building enthusiasm. I also feel that one of strong suits is to pay attention to small details and do some gritty and detailed work.
      6. Who was most influential in your life both as an athlete and coach?
      I have had many influential people in my life and try to take little pieces of information from every coaching person I have been involved with. There is no doubt in my mind though, that I would have never got involved with wrestling from a professional stand point had it not been for my high school coach Bob Hasseman. I loved being around the sport. I couldn’t get enough of it. I always thought that Hasseman had the best job in the world. He got to watch kids play sports all day, hang out in a weight-room, and then be around wrestling. That sounded like nothing but fun. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know reality beforehand. I always felt that I wanted to help people reach their potential like Coach Hassemen was doing on a daily basis.
      7. How would you go about recruiting more coaches to be members of the association?
      I think that coaches need to know why they should join. What is in it for them? I think there needs to be more email communication with the coaches on how to register.
      8. What makes Indiana high school wrestling so great?
      Wrestling is the greatest sport for many of those reasons that we often use to sell kids to join our sport; discipline, hard work and all of the other life lessons. Indiana is so great in particular because of the state tournament itself. It really is the best state finals of any sport in our state. I have had many people who attended their first wrestling event at the state finals and were absolutely impressed with the whole presentation.
      9. What other experiences outside of wrestling do you believe would help you in this position?
      My experiences as a Physical Education and Health teacher have helped me become a better leader and to manage situations and people effectively.
      10. What issue(s) do you feel the coaches association should address?
      I think we need to continue to address the team state tournament and making it an actual portion of the state tournament series.
      I like the idea of coaches having a singular stat/ match reporting such as trackwrestling. Football and basketball games are all reported in some capacity. It would be nice if wrestling matches weren’t so secretive.
      I like the idea of wrestle- back to determine a true top 4 at semi-state so we are less concerned with someone getting a bad draw. I also would like to see wrestle-backs to 3rd at the state tournament.
      I also think we need to look at the number of Saturday matches that we are currently participating in. As a coach I’m not going to get rid of those currently because I want my wrestlers to get as many opportunities as everyone else. That being said, Saturday 5 way dual meets make it hard for the casual observer to come watch. We want our sport to grow, but I have a hard time asking students to come sit in a gym for 8 hours.
      11. How would you improve communication between the IHSWCA and wrestling coaches?
      Communication doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It appears that there has already been a message board created to allow for communication on Indianamat. I think that we need to have an email database with all wrestling coaches that allows to communicate issues to them and hear their thoughts. Using technology such as surveymonkey is a great way to help find out pressing issues to our coaches as well.
      12. How does the IHSWCA become an association that is well respected by the IHSAA?
      I cannot speak on the current standing with the IHSAA, but being well respected is all about creating relationships with people. We need to take a civil approach to dealing with them and make sure they understand we are not just attacking them.
      13. In what direction do you see the IHSWCA Team State going?
      I believe the IHSWCA is currently doing the best they can within the parameters they are given. It obviously would be best if they qualifiers were based on the current year, but I also understand that we are currently not able to do that. Out of the whole mess of losing team state, a much improved team state was created. I like that team state is classed into the right amount of groups. Other positives are that it is in one singular venue on one day and all teams get at least 3 matches so that each place is determined 1-12. I think the future has to have some sort of in-season qualifier or something based on in-season rankings. That means that it can’t take up points on the schedule though.

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      #Wrestling Wednesday Feature: Purdue Ready for NCAA Championships

      Brought to you by EI Sports

      When Tony Ersland took the job as Purdue University’s head wrestling coach he knew it would be a challenge to compete in arguably the toughest wrestling conference in the country. He embraced the challenge.
      Ersland’s Boilermakers finished the season ranked in the top 25 in the country. Purdue finished with a dual record of 10-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten. Eight Boilermaker wrestlers will compete in the NCAA National Championships this week, starting Thursday.
      “There were a lot of positives for us this year,” Ersland said. “This was my first year in the program with the kids. We set the foundation for how we are going to operate. Overall, I’m happy with the progress we made this year.
      Ersland comes to Purdue from Nebraska, where he was an assistant coach for the past eight seasons. He has coached several top wrestlers, including Craig Brester who was a two-time NCAA finalist and a Big 12 champion.
      “Craig is one athlete who is near and dear to my heart,” Ersland said. “He started out as a walk on at the University of Nebraska. Then he became a two time All-American. He’s the type of athlete that makes coaching worthwhile. He poured his heart and soul into wrestling. He was a special wrestler, and his work is what made him that way.”
      Purdue’s Danny Sabatello, Brandon Nelsen, Nick Lawrence, Doug Welch, Patrick Robinson, Chad Welch, Patrick Kissel and Braden Atwood will all be competing in the NCAA Championships.
      “Our goal is to have national champions and All-Americans,” Ersland said. “That’s the mindset we are going in with. We want to go in and perform at a high level. We’ve wrestled outstanding competition all year long. The Big Ten is a brutal grind. It’s like SEC football. We’ve had four out of the top five teams in the country in the Big Ten.
      “It’s extremely competitive. It’s tougher sometimes to win in the conference than it is in a national bracket. There are no illusions going into the national tournament. You know exactly what you need to do.”
      Ersland likes the quality of wrestlers he has been able to look at in Indiana. He feels that there is great talent in the state.
      “Purdue is in the middle of a great wrestling state,” Ersland said. “Indiana turns out a lot of good talent and we want to see those wrestlers stay at home. We don’t want the Jason Tsirtsis out there to look elsewhere.”
      When asked about Indiana’s high school tournament format, Ersland said he prefers to keep a one-class system.
      “Personally I like the one class tournament,” Ersland said. “I can understand a two class format as well. But as far as evaluating talent, I really enjoy the one class. You don’t end up with a watered down system.
      “I think Michigan’s system sort of waters it down. They have four classes and that’s too many. One or two tops is the way to go.”
      Ersland is married to wife Carolyn. They have twin sons, Jaxon and Mason.
      “They will always have a wrestling partner,” Ersland said of his sons. “My hope is that they will fall in love with the sport as much as I have. But right now they are just four years old. They love to come to practice and watch the guys roll around. I try to get them in bed, but sometimes they just want to stay up and watch wrestling on T.V.”
      The NCAA championships begin at noon on Thursday in St. Louis.

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      2015 IndianaMat Awards

      1A Coach of the Year
      Tony Currie- Adams Central
      In his first year at the helm of the Flying Jets Currie continued the storied tradition of the program. The list of accolades in his first season will set a high standard for the years to come. In early January the Currie lead Jets captured the 1A Team State Duals title in dramatic fashion over Prairie Heights. They kept the ball rolling winning the tournament portion of the Allen County Athletic Conference. Adams Central was also the only 1A team to take more than one wrestler to state, which included 4th place finisher Kaine Luginbill.
      2A Coach of the Year
      Trent McCormick- Yorktown
      The Yorktown contingent had an outstanding year once again, led by Coach Trent McCormick. The Tigers captured their third straight 2A Team State Duals title in dominating fashion. The won in the finals 45-18 and in total outscored their opponents 229-59. Along the state path they captured a sectional, regional, and semi-state titles. They also qualified eight wrestlers for state and finished 11th in the final standings.
      3A Coach of the Year
      Brad Harper- Penn
      Adults often joke about the endless energy of kids…and Brad Harper. Harper is a high energy coach that is a master motivator. The architect of the Penn resurgence is the 3A Coach of the Year. With a banged up and patched up team at the 3A Team State Duals Harper’s squad was an eyelash and a tiebreaker from the finals. Then came a state run that was redemption for team state. Penn lost two very important wrestlers in the first round of state and came into the quarter-finals with one less wrestler than Cathedral. They managed to outpace the Irish as Harper’s squad brought home two individual titles along with a runner-up finish. This is Penn’s first wrestling state title in the school’s history along with the first individual titles since 1971.
      1A Wrestler of the Year
      Sawyer Miller- South Adams
      After being in the semi-finals as a freshman and sophomore, Miller was knocked out of the state tournament at semi-state as a junior. That fueled the motivation to not quit until he was under the lights in his last go-round. He had an unblemished record until the finals where he dropped an overtime bout to Brock Hudkins. Miller wraps up his career as the most decorated Starfire in history with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place medals. His legacy will be hard to top, but he does has a younger brother just itching to break all his records.
      2A Wrestler of the Year
      Brock Hudkins- Danville
      Luck hasn’t been a friend of Brock Hudkins during any of his three high school seasons. As a freshman he missed the first half of the season with an injury and came into the state tournament with a limited amount of matches. He ended up 5th in a very tough weight class. As a sophomore he came into state as a semi-state champion, weighed in, then became ill and couldn’t participate. His junior year was cruising along until a midseason weight room injury almost sidelined him for the season. Even with a mangled finger Hudkins captured a state title in one of the toughest weight classes in the state. He finished his junior campaign without a loss and will look to build upon it for his final year.
      3A Wrestler of the Year
      Chad Red- New Palestine
      There are many superlatives that can be used to describe Chad Red. His career to this point is nearly spotless with his only blemishes coming when he attends national events. Along with his three state titles he has championships at the Super 32 and Fargo. He also has a 4th place finish at FloNationals along with leading Team Indiana to All-American finishes at the Cadet Duals. The icing on the cake is his #1 ranking in the country which has prompted visits from top college coaches to New Palestine.
      Mr. Gorilla
      Voting Results (1st Place Votes)
      Tommy Forte- 106(13)
      Tommy Cash- 90(9)
      Garrett Pepple- 74(1)
      Dylan Lydy- 28
      Brandon James- 24
      Tommy Forte- Mishawaka
      The experts often say to keep your resume to one page, but for Tommy Forte he will need a forest to print his resume off. One of only two seniors this year with four state medals(Brandon James the other), Forte has cemented a legacy of one of the greatest Cavemen ever. Two state titles to go with a runner-up and third place finish are just the tip of the iceberg. Nationally, Forte has placed at USAW Folkstyle Nationals twice and finished 4th at the Super 32. He also holds national rankings of #8 by Intermat and #15 by FloWrestling. He will be continuing his education and wrestling career at Buffalo with former coach Bryce Hasseman and the Bulls. This year he became only the second wrestler ever to capture four titles at the prestigious Al Smith Classic. He finished his career with an impressive 140 wins with only 5 losses to three different wrestlers(Jarred McKinley 2x, Cody LeCount 2x, and Anthony McHugh). With that he is the first of many Mr. Gorilla award recipients.

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      2015 State Finals Preview

      Chad Hollenbaugh
      IndianaMat Senior Writer

      Cathedral Looks to Repeat, Red to Three-Peat

      A number of great storylines accompany this weekend’s festivities in Indianapolis at the 2015 IHSAA State Wrestling finals. The incredibly deep 120 weight class should have outstanding matches starting early Friday evening and contains this year’s most compelling in season rivalry between Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith and Brendan Black of Hobart. The 170 pound class is wide open with five to six wrestlers that can legitimately make a run for the top of the podium and the heavyweight bracket contains three Division One athletes at the top of the rankings.
      Although all three of these stories will quite compelling, two other stories have a special appeal. The team race currently has Penn High School in the pole position but last year’s champ, Indianapolis Cathedral, has the pieces in place to repeat should Penn falter. Other teams that should be in contention include Perry Meridian, Warren Central, Yorktown, and Avon.
      The second major story will be the Chad Red show. Unbeaten in his first two seasons of high school, Red is a heavy favorite to continue his dominance and win a third straight state championship. If anyone was unsure of just how great Red is, Cael Sanderson’s recent visit to New Palestine should remove any doubts. In his junior season, Red is currently ranked first in the country by Flo Wrestling and number three by Intermat. Much like Stevan Micic last year and Jason Tsirtsis before him, Red appears to be that type of wrestler that seems to be destined to be a factor at the next level.
      This year’s crop of flyweights contain the usual high number of new faces (9 freshmen) that look to make their bones on the Banker’s Life floor. Columbus East semi-state champ Graham Rooks, Hobart’s Tylor Triana and Avon’s Mason Miranda are the frosh poised to make the deepest run in this bracket.
      COLTON CUMMINGS – LOWELL (41-1). Cummings will look to erase his Friday night memory of last year where he was pinned by Columbia City’s Hunter Langeloh in fifty nine seconds. Cummings has been nothing short of dominant (He has a win over Rooks) this year with his only loss coming while wrestling two weight classes up against Perry Meridian’s David Clayton.
      JON ANDERSON – LAFAYETTE JEFF (47-2) and CAINAN SCHAEFER – SOUTH DEARBORN (45-2). Anderson was a surprise runner up at Merrillville where he looked very solid against competition with more press clippings. Schaefer wrestles in the southeast corner of the state and gets very little press but he had a break out performance at the New Castle semi state where he pinned highly regarded Klayton Anderson of Hamilton Southeastern. These two hard chargers may meet Saturday morning with a trip to the semis on the line.
      TYLOR TRIANA – HOBART (37-4) VS. MASON MIRANDA (20-5) – The winner here has a great opportunity to make a run to the finals. Triana is the higher ranked wrestler (5th vs 9th) but Miranda is wrestling very well and his team is in the hunt for state hardware.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Cummings.
      East Noble’s Garrett Pepple has established himself as a force in this weight class but there is also outstanding depth here. Pepple season started with an All-American run at the pre-season Super 32 (4th) and has not been seriously tested. He currently holds top ten rankings nationally by both Flo and Intermat. Last year’s state runner up at 106, Paul Konrath of Mount Vernon seems to be wrestling with a bum leg but dominated the field at the Evansville semi state. Others looking to rain on Pepple’s parade include Hamilton Southeastern’s Austin Holmes, Penn’s undefeated Drew Hildebrandt and Fairfield’s Blake Glogouski (who has only lost to Pepple).
      GARRETT PEPPLE – EAST NOBLE (42-0). All the pieces seem to be in place for the Indiana recruit. Pepple has experience (two runner-up finishes), training (teammate Conner Knapp and coach Andy Uhl), and confidence. If anyone were to topple Pepple, it would be considered a fairly substantial upset.
      BLAKE GLOGOUSKI – FAIRFIELD (49-2). Glogouski was knocked out in the ticket round last year but don’t be surprised if he has an outstanding weekend. The Falcon does have a brutal draw which might include Paul Konrath and Drew Hildebrandt to go along with Friday night’s tussle with New Pal’s Alec White.
      ALEC WHITE – NEW PALESTINE (40-4) VS. BLAKE GLOGOUSKI. White was one of the favorites to win the New Castle semi state but was pinned by Cathedral’s Skylour Turner in the semis. This set up the Friday night fight with Glogouski who finished second at Fort Wayne to Pepple.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Pepple.
      This insanely deep class will be one of the best to watch starting on Friday night. Nearly a half dozen different wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the crown. Top ranked Breyden Bailey of Cathedral is undefeated and has won a couple of close matches with contender Cornelious Elliot of Perry Meridian. The state’s best in season rivalry between Brendan Black of Hobart and Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith could be played out one more time under the lights.
      BREYDEN BAILEY – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Bailey has run the table this season and Cathedral’s schedule is no joke. Hobart’s Black is as hot as any wrestler in the state right now. No easy draws in this bracket.
      TYLER FERGUSON – EVANSVILLE REITZ (10-2). Ferguson has a fifth place medal from last year and started the year ranked first. He has been out of action for most of the season and many thought a comeback was not in the cards. This Panther certainly has the skills to sound that siren.
      BRENDAN BLACK – HOBART (30-3) VS. WILL EGLI – MATER DEI (29-4). Two medalists match up on Friday night in this battle. Other Friday night matches between returning medalists include Elliot vs. Langeloh and Ferguson vs. Reitz. Wow!
      DRINKING THE MILK – Bailey.
      Whereas there was no front runner at 120, the 126 class is about as sure bet as any class this weekend. Chad Red of New Palestine has shown no weaknesses in his game. On his feet, Red dominates. On the mat, Red dominates. He is the complete package. The drama here is who will Red meet in the finals. Portage’s Gaige Torres, Perry Meridian’s Ngun Uk, East Noble’s Nathan Weimer and Cathedral frosh Zach Melloh all could be under the lights.
      POLE POSITION – CHAD RED – NEW PALESTINE (43-0). Red….’Nuff said.
      ZACH MELLOH – CATHEDRAL (36-7). Don’t call him Melloh Yellow, this Irish freshman has flown under the radar but has wrestled tough all season and run to the semi-finals is not out of the question.
      BRANDON TRUVER – LAKE CENTRAL (29-10) VS. DANIEL GUNSETT –BELMONT (32-9). Nineteen losses between these two does not mean either caught a break or were lucky in some way to qualify. These are two high quality kids that can beat anyone in the bracket not named Red.
      Handicapping this bracket is much like the 126 bracket. All you have to do is substitute Mater Dei’s Nick Lee for Chad Red. Lee has been every bit as dominating as Red. The only difference is that Lee ran into the top wrestler in the country at 126 last year in Stevan Micic and finished third. The other side of the bracket offers up a few potential finalists in East Noble’s Conner Knapp, and Griffin Schermer of Bloomington South.
      NICK LEE – MATER DEI (31-0). Lee is currently ranked 4th and 6th in country by Intermat and Flo. He had to spend less than six minutes on the mat last Saturday in winning his second semi state crown. He should not be seriously tested this weekend. He IS that good.
      SAGE COY – DELTA (39-1). Coy has had a series of unfortunate events during his first two high school seasons and his move from the closed down Muncie South to Delta has brought better luck. Coy brings a high energy attack that should be highly entertaining to watch this weekend.
      CONNER KNAPP – EAST NOBLE (41-2) VS. AUSTIN BETHAL – MT. VERNON (37-4). Bethal shocked the state with his stunning pin of super frosh and second ranked Brayton Lee of Brownsburg. Standing in his path on Friday night is veteran stud Conner Knapp of East Noble. Knapp already has two state medals on his resume. Honorable mention goes to Westfield’s Evan Eldred vs. Merrillville semi state champ, Austen Laughlin of South Bend Riley.
      A third straight class where one wrestler stands above the field. Amazingly, that wrestler is not returning state champion Tommy Cash but it is Perry Meridian’s Brandon James. James has three top-5 medals to his name and national rankings of 9th and 12th. You can’t count out returning champ Cash even though he has been beaten a couple of times by James. Out of the south is freshman Joe Lee, who has taken down James earlier in the season during his only loss. Clarence Johnson of Merrillville is wrestling awesome right now and Maldonado Magic always seems to strike during the state finals weekend.
      BRANDON JAMES – PERRY MERIDIAN (41-0). James has been a formidable force in the Falcon line up and a threat to win a state title since his freshman season. The stars seem to be aligned for Coach Tonte’s star grappler this season. He will be relaxed, focused and motivated to win his first title on Saturday night.
      KYLE TODRANK – GIBSON SOUTHERN (43-3). Todrank is largely unknown but has progressed tremendously the past couple of years. He has wrestled Mater Dei super frosh Joe Lee tough the last couple of weeks.
      KASPER McINTOSH – PORTAGE (29-9) VS. CLAYTON MOORE – MANCHESTER (35-1). A four over one potential upset lurks here. Both are big and physical 138s who will mix it up. McIntosh is a freshman who wrestles one of the toughest schedules in the state. Moore is a returning qualifier from a small school where he rarely is tested.
      DRINKING THE MILK – James.
      We finally have a weight class where there is real drama involved. A nice Duneland conference rivalry has developed between returning runner up Jacob Covaciu of Merrillville and returning medalist Steven “Bam” Lawrence of Portage. Covaciu has a win over New Castle champ Trenton Pruitt of Warren Central on his resume. It’s strange to say but Yorktown’s Cael McCormick has kept a fairly low profile despite a dominating season where he often wrestled up a class. It would not be a huge upset if he were to topple Covaciu in the semi-finals.
      JACOB COVACIU – MERRILLVILLE (40-1). Despite his loss in the semi state championship match, Covaciu still has to be considered the front-runner in this class. Lawrence and McCormick are not that far back.
      ANDREW HERRIN – JENNINGS COUNTY (46-2) – Herrin wrestled awesome last weekend at semi state. He avenged one of his regular season losses with a win over Castles Patrick Schnell. Along the way he put the hammer to Mater Dei’s Blake Jourdan. A deep state run would not be out of the question.
      EVAN SMILEY – BEECH GROVE (39-5) VS. ANTHONY VAUGHN – ELKHART MEMORIAL (40-3). Two stud seniors will face off on Friday night. Both have been previous state qualifiers and appear to be evenly matched. Expect a very tight match here.
      DRINKING THE MILK – McCormick.
      Tommy Forte of Mishawaka is the wrestler to beat at 152. He has not been tested this season and I would be surprised if anyone gives him much resistance this weekend. Tommy’s knee is a little dinged up but it doesn’t show and he cruised to the semi state title last weekend. The other side of the bracket holds a few potential finalists in Yorktown’s Dru Berkebile, Lebanon’s Kellen VanCamp, and Forte’s conference rival Jarod Swank of Penn. Evansville Central’s Isiah Kemper deserves mention as he is a three time state qualifier.
      TOMMY FORTE – MISHAWAKA (33-0). Forte is ranked 9th and 15th respectively by Intermat and Flo. He is wrestling next year for Buffalo and former coach Bryce Hasseman. It would be a huge upset if anyone were to beat Forte this year.
      MARQUIS SCHIEBER – JIMTOWN (30-8). I saw Schieber wrestle during a couple of mid-season tournaments and frankly was quite disappointed. He looked disinterested and ready for it to end. After watching him at his conference meet, I saw a rebirth. Athletic and skilled this Jimmie is a difficult match up for anyone and has great momentum going into the state meet.
      ELIJAH DUNN – INDIAN CREEK (42-2) VS. JAROD SWANK – PENN (32-5). A contrast of styles between the funky Dunn and the controlled, methodical Swank should prove interesting. It will likely come down to who can impose their will on the other.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Forte.
      Another weight class where the state’s top ranked wrestler also has national credentials and rankings on his resume. Lowell’s Drew Hughes is a favorite to become Lowell’s second state champ in 2015, joining Colton Cummings. He wrestled under the lights as a frosh and got spladled by Ty Fleenor last year on Saturday morning. Experience and motivation along with an unparalled ability to turn guys on top make Hughes a tough package to deal with.
      HUGHES – LOWELL (40-0). A clear front runner but must face Edgewood’s Gabe Koontz in the quarter finals and possible Delta’s Jacob Gray, Avon’s Brandon Helm or local rival Darden Schurg from Crown Point in the finals.
      TRISTAN GOERING – SOUTH BEND RILEY (37-11). Goering got an absolute great draw for a fourth place finisher and has a good chance to reach the semi-finals for coach Bill Flatt and the Wildcats.
      ADAM DODSON – JOHN GLENN (36-2) VS. ETHAN BRIGGEMAN – CARDINAL RITTER (36-4). Two evenly matched senior studs from lesser known programs make this an interesting matchup. Each will be fighting to get on that podium and wrestle on day two.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Hughes.
      The furious five (Stevenson, Lydy, Jackson, Harvey, Mammolenti) became the splendid six after watching the Google Hangout with state’s ‘experts’. I am convinced that Lawrence North’s Cameron Jones has the goods to challenge for a title as well. It did appear that returning state champ Jacob Stevenson might have seriously injured his leg at semi-state. Let’s all hope he can end his high school career on the mat.
      DYLAN LYDY – BEN DAVIS (42-0). Lydy has wins over Stevenson, Jones and Dillon Jackson of Yorktown. This is just enough to edge Ben Harvey of Cathedral as the pre meet favorite. The top tier here is incredibly close and this should be one of the marquee weights to watch because just about any results are possible.
      CAMERON JONES – LAWRENCE NORTH (38-6) – If things fall right for Jones, he could find himself wrestling under the lights. However it shakes out, Jones has clearly put himself in position to be a serious state title threat as a senior next year.
      ISHMAEL CORNEJO – PORTAGE (29-7) VS. JACOB STEVENSON (34-6). Keep an eye on this match to see how last year’s state champ Jacob Stevenson is wrestling on his injured leg. He can’t expect any sympathy from Portage’s Cornejo.
      Penn’s Chase Osborn is a returning state runner up and has been ranked #1 all season. That should make him the favorite to take home title but I have seen probably more variety of picks in this weight class than any other. Western’s Corey Hinkle, Chesterton’s Andrew Davison, Avon’s Evan Elmore and Lawrenceburg’s Mason Parris are all receiving some love as potential state champions. Osborn and Hinkle have the most experience, Elmore is coming in hot, and both Davison and Parris represent the future will be filled with great upper weight wrestling.
      CHASE OSBORN – PENN (35-0). As mentioned before, Osborn has experience under the lights and an unblemished record this year. This adds up to a number 1 ranking and front runner status.
      GAGE GARPOW – WINAMAC (37-3). Garpow was one of the big surprises of the Merrillville semi state. He had Osborn on the ropes in their match up and dominated state ranked Jake Kliemola of Lake Central.
      CONNER JAMES – RONCALLI (44-1) VS. ANDREW DAVISON – CHESTERTON (38-2). An absolutely brutal Friday night matchup between two wrestlers with three losses between them. The winner will get the honor of facing Western’s undefeated Corey Hinkle. A nasty quarter bracket.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Davison.
      This is one of the few brackets that should hold chalk through the semi-finals with all four semi state champs winning. That does not mean that the winner is in much question at this weight class. Cathedral’s junior Blake Rypel season has been every bit as dominating as Chad Red or Nick Lee. He is just too explosive for anyone to handle in the state of Indiana. Mooresville’s Randy Scott, Perry Meridian’s Tristan Tonte and Yorktown’s Myron Howard will battle it out for the chance to meet Rypel under the lights.
      BLAKE RYPEL – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Rypel has the skills to lap the field here. Ranked seventh by Flo and tenth by Intermat, no one should challenge Rypel this weekend.
      TANNER BRADLEY – MISHAWAKA (26-4). Much like Sampson, there is much power in the hair of Tanner Bradley. Don’t get mesmerized by the mullet, Bradley is an athletic freak who can put you on your back at any time. A run to the finals is not out of the question for this Caveman.
      TRISTON TONTE – PERRY MERIDIAN (40-2) VS. MATT HEDRICK – PORTAGE (29-7). Tonte is a very exciting sophomore who will wrestle with no fear of the big stage. Hedrick wrestled smart tactical matches at semi state to earn his bid to Indy.
      The 220 class is led by preseason top ranked Kobe Woods of Penn. Woods has maintained that ranking by fashioning a perfect 40-0 record. In fact, Woods has even cracked the national rankings at #19 by Flo. This class is by no means a slam dunk (sorry) as several challengers could step up if Woods were to falter. Conference rival and returning state placer, Eliseo Guerra of Elkhart Central has had two tight matches with Woods. Warren Central Courvoisier Morrow was narrowly defeated by Woods at the Al Smith tournament.
      KOBE WOODS – PENN (40-0). The Penn big man has gone wire to wire and has the experience, skill and coaching to bring home the gold.
      EVAN ELLIS – EASTERN (44-2). Ellis was a ticket round causality last year and wrestling at small school Eastern has kept him off many people’s radar. He is a talented wrestler that could make a run deep in this bracket.
      BLAKE DAVIS – GARRETT (47-4) VS. MORGAN KRAL – CROWN POINT (36-2). Davis has been largely over shadowed by his higher ranked older brother but one could argue that Blake has had a slightly better season than his brother Bo. He will face Kral, who is looking for his first state medal and has a state champion older brother in Tyler Kral.
      It looks like a two horse race for the big boys between nationally ranked top ten wrestlers Shawn Streck of Merrillville and Norman Oglesby of Ben Davis. There looks to be lots of purple under the lights on Saturday night. Both big men have state medals and lots of experience wrestling on Banker’s Life floor. Oglesby, a senior, has already accepted a football scholarship to Cincinnati while Streck is a junior who will likely have his pick of offers in both football and wrestling.
      SHAWN STRECK – MERRILLVILLE (42-0). The bracket gods were kind to wrestling fans by putting Streck and Oglesby on opposite sides of this bracket.
      BRYCE BIDDLE – PLAINFIELD (30-3). Plainfield’s promising sophomore Bryce Biddle has had one of the toughest roads to qualify for state going clear back to his sectional. He got a nice draw and could parlay this to a semi-final trip in his sophomore campaign.
      QUINN YORK – FRANKLIN (40-4) VS. JASION BROGAN – WARREN CENTRAL (38-5). These two juniors are just a shade under the top tier heavyweights and will battle Friday night for state hardware.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Streck.

      3452 8

      #Wrestling Wednesday Feature: State Rivalries

      Brought to you by EI Sports

      Rivalries bring a new level of intensity to sports. It’s what drew thousands to watch Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier go toe-to-toe three times. It’s why baseball games between the Red Sox and the Yankees are always a little bit more heated, and the fans a little bit more passionate. It’s why college stadiums sell out anytime Ohio State and Michigan square off.
      But rivalries do more than just keep sports interesting. In wrestling, having a rival can be one of the biggest determining factors in an individual’s internal drive to success.
      Some of Indiana’s greatest wrestling rivals admit that without their counterpart, they would not have been as good as what they were.
      Perhaps the top rivalry in Indiana wrestling history was that of Anderson Highland’s Camden Eppert and Warren Central’s Brandon Wright.
      The two squared off a total of 12 times in high school. Three of those times came in the championship match of the state finals. Wright owned the overall better record between the two at 7-5, but Eppert won two of the three championship matches.
      “There were other people I knew I had to wrestle,” Eppert said. “But in the back of my mind I always knew Brandon was going to be in my way. We were always on the opposite side of the bracket in regionals, semistate and state. Everyone wanted to see us collide.”
      Eppert, who was one grade ahead of Wright, defeated Wright 6-3 as a sophomore in 2007 to win the 103 pound class. Wright came back the next season and beat Eppert 5-2 to claim the 112 pound title.
      The final showdown between the two ended up being the closest of them all.
      The two met under the lights for the 119 pound championship in 2009. After three grueling periods the match went into overtime. Eventually Eppert escaped with a 3-2 victory.
      “I’m glad I faced him,” Eppert said. “We developed something special. Even though I only faced one opponent in all three of the finals matches, I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”
      Wright went on to dominate the 125 pound class the next season, after Eppert had graduated. He easily won the state title with a 9-1 victory.
      “That rivalry really grew me as a wrestler,” Wright said. “It took both of us to a whole different level. I think it has to be the best rivalry in Indiana history.”
      The two were certainly not the best of friends in high school.
      “It was pretty cut throat,” Eppert said. “I don’t think we hated each other, but when I shook his hand before a match we both knew we were going for blood.”
      Looking back, both wrestlers know that without each other, they may have never gotten as far as they did with the sport.
      “We had such intense matches,” Wright said. “He made me focus more. Because of him I learned to prepare for matches. All of the hours I put into wrestling, he caused me to become strategic on the mat. That’s where I really learned the most. I knew I couldn’t just muscle him, I had to learn to be a better wrestler, mentally, when I went up against Camden.”
      Eppert went on to wrestle at Purdue. Wright is currently wrestling for Grand View where he is a returning NAIA national champion.
      Wright knows Eppert was always the one who pushed him the most in wrestling. So when he was in Indianapolis a while back and needed a drill partner, Eppert was the one he called.
      “I talk to him quite a bit now,” Eppert said. “He will win another national championship this year. We stay in touch now and when he needs a drill partner, I’m there.”
      Another great Indiana rivalry was built in one season. In 2007 Munster’s Eric McGill and Hobart’s Brennan Cosgrove met seven times at 140 pounds. The two were 3-3 against each other leading up to the championship match. McGill beat Cosgrove 6-5 in the final to win the series 4-3.
      “Our rivalry was pretty heated,” McGill said. “We both wanted the same thing, and we were both standing in each other’s way.”
      McGill won the first meeting between the two, a dual meet at Hobart. He scored a late takedown to earn the victory.
      The second time the two squared off was at their county championship.
      “That was probably my favorite of all of them,” McGill said. “He threw me in the first 30 seconds. I was down 5-0 and came all the way back and won 10-9. I had to have a bunch of takedowns at the end. I remember my last takedown came with under 20 seconds to go.”
      Cosgrove bounced back though. In their conference meet he defeated McGill 3-1. Cosgrove went on to beat McGill at the Hobart Invitational and regional. He was winning the matchup in semistate as well until an illegal slam gave McGill the disqualification victory.
      “That was the most dominating match of them all,” McGill said. “He was beating me badly. It was definitely the most one-sided of all of our matches.”
      After losing three in a row, and then winning on a DQ, McGill began to question whether he could beat Cosgrove.
      “That year we were head and shoulders above everyone else in the state in our class,” McGill said. “I major, teched or pinned everyone but him. To have someone that good right here in my backyard that I had to compete against seven times, more than anything, made me a better wrestler.
      “It tested my resolve. It was the first time I had experienced a setback where I had lost to someone three times in a row. It was wearing on my mind wondering if I could turn it around. By semistate I started to think he was widening the gap. But our last match, I just told myself that whatever happens, happens. I’m going to live with the outcome. I wasn’t too nervous or too fired up.”
      Cosgrove remembers wrestling McGill even in elementary school.
      “We were the same age group and we went to the same camps together,” Cosgrove said. “In high school our matches were intense. It was awesome. I loved every one of them.”
      The two are now friends, although both admit they weren’t at all during high school.
      Cosgrove went on to wrestle for Purdue and McGill wrestled at Cornell.
      “It’s hard to explain what having that rival out there does for you,” Cosgrove said. “But my experience with Eric back then was awesome. I hate losing, but when I would lose I walked off the mat knowing I wasn’t going to lose the next one. We pushed each other to be better wrestlers.”
      Rivalries will always develop in wrestling. One of the newest rivalries is that between Fort Wayne Wayne junior Geoffrey Davis and Fort Wayne Northside junior Ben Streeter.
      Last season Streeter wrestled Davis one time, and dominated to the tune of a 9-0 win.
      Streeter and Davis have wrestled three times this season. They met in the Summit Athletic Conference finals, in regional and then again in semistate.
      Davis turned things around at the SAC championship, winning the title.
      “Honestly I came out at the SAC thinking I could just do what I did last time,” Streeter said. “I knew he was good competition, but I didn’t realize how much he improved. I wasn’t expecting him to beat me.”
      That defeat refocused Streeter. The next time the two wrestled came in the regional final where he won 12-11.
      Davis bounced back to win semistate 9-4 after trailing 4-0.
      “I honestly think wrestling him makes me better,” Davis said. “You have to work twice as hard when you know there is a guy out there that can beat you.”
      Streeter echoes Davis’ sentiments.
      “If I win or lose, I know he’s out there working,” Streeter said. “He isn’t going to stop. You have to keep going too, because you know he’s going to. He could be that roadblock that I have to learn to get around.”
      Both Streeter and Davis would like to face each other one more time this season. If so, it might mean they are wrestling under the lights against one another.
      Perhaps the state championships this year will spawn even more Indiana rivalries.


      2015 State Finals: Rankings by the Numbers

      We hear the saying “rankings don’t matter” all the time, however our IndianaMat rankings have been spot on over the years. Remember that our rankings are finalized before sectional, so they do not take into account the draws at regional or semi-state. This year’s preseason magazine had an astounding 166 wrestlers ranked that made the state finals! Remember, this takes into account incoming freshmen, kids that move out of state, injuries to top wrestlers, and other reasons for top wrestlers not wrestling this year. Here are the previous year’s and how many ranked kids made the state finals.
      2015- 172
      2014- 171
      2013- 171
      2012- 170
      2011- 157
      2010- 159
      2009- 143
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Ben Streeter- Fort Wayne North Side
      Jon Anderson- Lafayette Jefferson
      Levi Miller- North Posey
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Graham Rooks- Columbus East vs. #15 Kory Cavanaugh- Penn
      #8 Christian Hunt- Yorktown vs. #2 Klayton Anderson- Hamilton Southeastern
      #17 Cainan Schaefer- South Dearborn vs. #16 Tanner DeMien- Northwood
      #19 Geoffrey Davis- Fort Wayne Wayne vs. #4 Cameron Diep- New Palestine
      #5 Tylor Triana- Hobart vs. #9 Mason Miranda- Avon
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Anthony Mosser- Adams Central
      Jabin Wright- Kokomo
      Kadin Poe- Decatur Central
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Rickie Rodriguez- Hammond Morton vs. #16 Jacob Skaggs- Avon
      #1 Garrett Pepple- East Noble vs. #10 Ethan Smiley- Beech Grove
      #4 Kyle Luigs- Evansville Mater Dei vs. #17 Dustin Miller- Lafayette Jefferson
      #2 Paul Konrath- Mt. Vernon vs. #9 Michael DeLaPeña- Merrillville
      #5 Alec White- New Palestine vs. #8 Blake Glogouski- Fairfield
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 15
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Dameion Rutledge- Southport
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #9 Kyle Hatch- Warsaw vs. #14 Isaac Gomez- Plainfield
      #1 Breyden Bailey- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #11 Eddie Loraine- Leo
      #7 Tyler Ferguson- Evansville F.J. Reitz vs. #4 Jeremiah Reitz- Griffith
      #5 Brock Hudkins- Danville vs. #19 Ryan Hardesty- Mishawaka
      #15 Hunter Langeloh- Columbia City vs. #3 Cornelious Elliot II- Perry Meridian
      #6 Brendan Black- Hobart vs. #8 Will Egli- Evansville Mater Dei
      #13 Caleb Bocock- Lebanon vs. #16 Ben Cauffman- Carroll (Fort Wayne)
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Chris Diaz- Hammond Clark
      David Lewis- Terre Haute South
      Kobe Raypole- Carroll (Fort Wayne)
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #7 Zach Melloh- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #16 Chayce Young- Madison
      #1 Chad Red- New Palestine vs. #5 Alex Johnson- Evansville Mater Dei
      #12 Daniel Gunsett- Bellmont vs. #11 Branden Truver- Lake Central
      #3 Elliott Molloy- Danville vs. #9 Joel McGhee- Warren Central
      #4 Jason Crary- Munster vs. #8 Owen Doster- New Haven
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 12
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Austen Laughlin- South Bend Riley
      Cale McCoy- Northview
      Fernando Luevano- West Noble
      Jarrett Carden- Cass
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Connor Knapp- East Noble vs. #11 Austin Bethel- Mt. Vernon
      #8 Griffin Schermer- Bloomington South vs. #12 Kyle Egolf- Columbia City
      #5 Jack Chastain- Hamilton Southeastern vs. #10 Zach Donaldson- Crown Point
      #17 Blake Strawsma- Benton Central vs. #7 Nick Ellis- Roncalli
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Alan Dixon- Evansville F.J. Reitz
      Connor Moore- Southmont
      Kasper McIntosh- Portage
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Clarence Johnson- Merrillville vs. #18 Jay Franko- Jimtown
      #6 Keegan Stansberry- Hamilton Southeastern vs. #5 Kyle Todrank- Gibson Southern
      #10 Isaac Eicher- Leo vs. #14 Riley Akers- Crown Point
      #1 Brandon James- Perry Meridian vs. #19 Hunter Castleberry- New Albany
      #17 Triston Rodriguez- Culver Community vs. #7 Brad Laughlin- Yorktown
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 14
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Daylan Schurg- Crown Point
      Tanner Shipley- Huntington North
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #6 Trent Pruitt- Warren Central vs. #19 Doug Levitz- Prairie Heights
      #15 Bryant Haynes- Charlestown vs. #1 Jacob Covaciu- Merrillville
      #2 Cael McCormick- Yorktown vs. #18 Alston Bane- Richmond
      #14 Tavonte` Malone- South Bend Adams vs. #5 Blake Jourdan- Evansville Mater Dei
      #4 Evan Smiley- Beech Grove vs. #7 Tony Vaughn- Elkhart Memorial
      #3 Steven Lawrence- Portage vs. #10 Patrick Schnell- Castle
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Corbin Gregg- Hamilton Southeastern
      Dru Berkebile- Yorktown
      Gleason Mappes- Center Grove
      Isaiah Michaels- Centerville
      Marquis Schieber- Jimtown
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Isaiah Kemper- Evansville Central vs. #13 Mike Krzyston- Andrean
      #7 Elijah Dunn- Indian Creek vs. #4 Jarod Swank- Penn
      #6 Kellen VanCamp- Lebanon vs. #12 Peyton Sturgill- Peru
      #16 Kodie Christenson- Lake Central vs. #10 Cayden Whitaker- Martinsville
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Dezmen Goddard- Warren Central
      Evan Stambaugh- Lebanon
      Jordan Rader- Peru
      Kody Caudle- Danville
      Tristan Goering- South Bend Riley
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Jacob Weimer- East Noble vs. #12 Tristen McDaniel- Tecumseh
      #2 Gabe Koontz- Edgewood vs. #10 Bryce Baumgartner- Bellmont
      #14 Jesse Archer- North Montgomery vs. #3 Darden Schurg- Crown Point
      #7 Adam Dodson- John Glenn vs. #8 Ethan Briggeman- Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Ben Norton- LaVille
      Blake Jeffress- Castle
      Brett Baker- Bellmont
      Zach Davis- Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran
      Zach Worm- Southmont
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #9 Nathan Walton- Brownsburg vs. #10 Hunter Mote- Delphi
      #4 Dillon Jackson- Yorktown vs. #19 Spencer Irick- Hamilton Southeastern
      #17 Ismael Cornejo- Portage vs. #5 Jacob Stevenson- Franklin Community
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Andy Kohler- Jay County
      Caleb Hoots- New Castle
      Gage Garpow- Winamac
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Corey Hinkle- Western vs. #20 Ryan Hammond- Whiteland
      #4 Conner James- Roncalli vs. #3 Andrew Davison- Chesterton
      #5 Mason Parris- Lawrenceburg vs. #9 Jake Kleimola- Lake Central
      #13 Hunter Hiestand- Yorktown vs. #10 Kyle Shaffer- South Putnam
      #17 Matt Hayes- Providence vs. #16 David Eli- Elkhart Memorial
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Carter Friedt- Bellmont
      Christian Redmond- Jennings County
      Jake LaMar- Castle
      Justin Akers- Crown Point
      Scottie Evans- Delta
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Sam Hipple- Carmel vs. #16 Tanner Bradley- Mishawaka
      #9 Matt Hedrick- Portage vs. #4 Tristen Tonte- Perry Meridian
      #5 Nick Fowler- Calumet vs. #10 Scott Fuller- Zionsville
      #17 Bo Davis- Garrett vs. #18 Garrison Lee- Monrovia
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Blake Davis- Garrett
      Dustyn Hangen- Winchester
      Tristin Choate- Mt. Vernon
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Eliseo Guerra- Elkhart Central vs. #18 Braden Majewski- Portage
      #9 Kasha Wilder- Ben Davis vs. #13 Erik Hart- Lebanon
      #15 Ryan Guhl- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #10 Clayton Scroggs- Martinsville
      #5 Gunnar Larson- Avon vs. #17 Noah Grable- New Palestine
      #7 Seth Meyer- Harrison (West Lafayette) vs. #8 Evan Ellis- Eastern (Greentown)
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 9
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Brendan Sutton- Jennings County
      Dax Hiestand- Yorktown
      Drew Cummings- Columbia City
      Drew Hobick- Zionsville
      Evan Beech- North Miami
      Jordan Shafer- Rochester
      Robert Samuels- Lawrence North
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #7 Quinn York- Franklin Community vs. #8 Jasion Brogan- Warren Central


      2015 State Finals: Information Center

      State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals15
      Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis | Website
      Admission: $8 per session or $20 both days.
      Match Results: TrackWrestling.com
      Friday, Feb. 20, 2015
      First Round | 6 pm ET.
      Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
      Quarterfinals | 9:30 am ET with semifinals to follow.
      Consolations | 5 pm ET.
      Finals | 7:30 pm ET. Important Links
      TrackWrestling Link
      IndianaMat brackets(with rankings)
      Video via TrackWrestling's Trackcast
      $5 fee to watch all weekend
      TrackWrestling Link
      Streaming and Broadcast Information
      State Finals Pick’ems
      Takedown and Release
      Rankings by the Numbers
      State Finals Preview

      4434 5

      2015 State Finals: Takedown and Release

      A family that wrestles together stays together
      There are seven sets of brothers at the state finals this year, including two sets from Crown Point. The biggest difference in weight is between the Akers brothers coming in at 138lbs and 195lbs.
      Sets of Brothers
      Riley and Justin Akers from Crown Point
      Bo and Blake Davis from Garrett
      Dax and Hunter Hiestand from Yorktown
      Nick and Joe Lee from Evansville Mater Dei
      Darden and Daylan Schurg from Crown Point
      Evan and Ethan Smiley from Beech Groove
      Jake and Nate Weimer from East Noble
      Grade Breakdown
      There are 19 freshmen that qualified for state, none above 182lbs and 8 qualified at 106lbs.
      There are 43 sophomores that qualified for state with nine coming at 113lbs and at least one in every weight class.
      There are 66 juniors that qualified for state with the most being at 145lbs with 8 and least being 285lbs with 3.
      There are 96 seniors that qualified for state with 10 at 138lbs and 285lbs and with zero at 106lbs.
      Wins are good, losses are bad
      The most wins coming into the event is 52 by Harrison’s Seth Meyer. Mason Parris of Lawrenceberg has the most wins without a loss with 51. There are 21 wrestlers with zero losses, 22 with one loss, and 25 with two losses.
      The most losses belong to Gleason Mappes of Center Grove with 19 losses on the season. There are 15 wrestlers with 10 or more losses.
      In total the wrestlers at the state finals have combined for 8,149 wins and 989 losses or an average of 36.4 wins and 4.4 losses.
      Rankings Matter
      In the preseason magazine there were 166 wrestlers ranked that made the state finals, which is 66%. Note that the preseason rankings only rank 16 wrestlers. In the final rankings there were 172 ranked wrestlers or 75% that qualified for state. Of the unranked wrestlers to make it to state, three were semi-state champions: Austen Laughlin, Dru Berkebile, and Dezman Goddard.
      I am #1
      Seven wrestlers were ranked preseason #1 and still ranked #1 at the end of the season: Colten Cummings at 106lbs, Garrett Pepple at 113lbs, Chad Red at 126lbs, Tommy Forte at 152lbs, Blake Rypel at 182lbs(now at 195lbs), Kobe Woods at 220lbs, and Shawn Streck at 285lbs. Brandon James started the season ranked #1 at 138lbs, but was #2 for a few weeks and now is #1 once again. The same goes for Dylan Lydy at 170lbs, who started the season at #1 and fell, but is now back at #1.
      Conference foes qualify for state
      Four wrestlers from the Northeast Hoosier Conference all qualified for state at 126lbs: Nate Weimer, Owen Doster, Daniel Gunsett, and Kobe Raypole. Even more interesting is all of these wrestlers are underclassmen AND the alternate is also from the same conference.

      9403 31

      2015 Fort Wayne Semi-State Preview

      About every four years lucky ladies from around the state get to spend their Valentine’s Day nestled up in a warm gym watching some great wrestling. Gentlemen, be sure to get your cards and flowers early so you beat the lunch time rush to the nearest Wal Mart for a card and flowers. While, coaches and fans will be exchanging cards and flowers with their significant others off the mat, on the mat it is a different story. We will have numerous slobber knockers and knock’em down, drag’em out matches going on from start to finish.
      The team race is Yorktown’s to lose, but they will be pushed by three NHC teams in Carroll, East Noble, and Bellmont. They also cannot overlook a team like Elkhart Memorial who has some tough wrestlers and favorable draws. Yorktown could punch anywhere from 5-10 tickets to state. East Noble could pose the biggest challenge as they have four wrestlers who could bring back championships. Carroll has a shot if they win some early matches with the Yorkies. Bellmont, they might not use magic, but bring ten to Fort Wayne that are ready to scrap.
      Note, due to a certain team having quite a few representatives I am going to forgo any predictions on who will advance.
      No seniors qualified at this weight and this can be one of the most up for grabs weights on Saturday. The top quarter-bracket is the one with the most intrigue. You have regional champ JC Herring with only two losses, a freshman with on 3 losses in Austin Moore, and Wayne’s Geoffrey Davis who is having a very good season. Each of these wrestlers provide interesting match-ups and will make this quarter-bracket fun to watch.
      Going down the line, the second quarter-bracket has the favorite Christian Hunt from Yorktown. He cannot overlook his ticket round match with either Christian Mejia or Joe Just.
      On the top of the bottom bracket you will see one of the marquee ticket round matches of the day. In a battle of superb freshmen you’ll have Tanner DeMien of NorthWood battling super Starfire freshman Wyatt Miller. Both only have two losses on the season and are favorites to finish on the podium at Banker’s Life.
      On the bottom bracket you have Carroll regional champion Ben Streeter who looks primed to punch his ticket to state. He will have to battle a tough Owen Eveler of Northridge right off the bat. Payton Lechner of Western or Adams Central’s Nick Liter will battle it out in the first round.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Austin Moore- Central Noble vs. Geoffrey Davis- Wayne
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Tanner Demien- Northwood vs. Wyatt Miller- Northridge
      JC Herring- Marion vs. Moore/Davis winner
      Defending semistate champion Garrett Pepple leads the way here at 113lbs. While he is the favorite, he cannot overlook Blake Glogouski who gave him a great 4-2 match at regional. Glogouski has a tough draw from start to finish as he will battle a very game Mason Mendez in the first round. The winner of that match gets one loss Jack Franklin of Homestead.
      In the top bracket you have Flying Jet Anthony Mosser who is peaking at the right time after capturing sectional and regional championships. He will have a tough ticket round foe in Oak Hill’s Travis Davenport.
      In the second quarter-bracket you have the aforementioned Pepple who could meet up with NHC foe Joel Byman for the third time or Western’s Tyler Lechner.
      Jabin Wright has also been peaking at the right time as he captured the Peru regional championship last week. He will get the winner of Josh Stephenson of Yorktown and Kyle Mockensturm of Prairie Heights in the ticket round.
      In the last quarter-bracket you have the previously mentioned trio of Franklin, Mendez, and Glogouski. Franklin’s only loss on the year is to Mendez at the conference tournament and Glogouski’s only loss is to Pepple last week.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Mason Mendez- Bellmont vs. Blake Glogouski- Fairfield
      Josh Stephenson- Yorktown vs. Kyle Mockensturm- Prairie Heights
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Anthony Mosser- Adams Central vs. Travis Davenport- Oak Hill
      Jack Franklin- Homestead vs. Mendez/Glogouski winner
      Hey guess what? We don’t have a rematch of the 3rd place match in the ticket round at 120lbs this year! Past that, this weight should be fun to watch. All of the top competitors at this weight are fast paced and put points on the board. This weight is highlighted by #2 ranked Sawyer Miller, along with state placer Hunter Langeloh, and state qualifiers Jon Becker and Edward Loraine.
      At the top you have state qualifier Loraine, who will have to go through a tough Brock House of Delta and Goshen regional champion Marcus Mejia of Elkhart Memorial. Mejia has had a great season and his potential match with Loraine could be a doozy.
      In the second quarter-bracket you have a first round match-up between NHC foes Ben Cauffman of Carroll and Jon Becker of Bellmont. These two did not meet this year, so the jury is out on who will come out on top. The winner of that match will most likely get Peru regional champion Chad Elmore of Taylor.
      On the top of the bottom bracket last year’s 106lbs 7th place finisher Hunter Langeloh comes in with only four losses and the heavy favorite. Don’t count out Yorkie freshman Colt Rutter as his 11 losses can be deceiving. Also in that quarter-bracket is NHC rival Kyle Davis of Dekalb who seems to be hitting stride at the right time.
      Sawyer Miller highlights the last quarter-bracket with his unblemished record. He needs to stay the course as the last time a senior from South Adams came to the coliseum undefeated he left before lunch. He will have senior Kyle Rothgeb of Heritage first round and a potential meeting with Laker Cole Long in the ticket round.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Ben Cauffman- Carroll vs. Jon Becker- Bellmont
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Marcus Meija- Elkhart Memorial vs. Eddie Loraine- Leo
      The big storyline at this weight is the possibility of four wrestlers from the same conference all punching their tickets to state. The Northeast Hoosier Conference(RIP) has five very fine competitors at this weight in regional champions Owen Doster of New Haven, Daniel Gunsett of Bellmont, and Nate Weimer of East Noble. Lastly Carroll’s Kobe Raypole is in the last bracket and if he navigates his first two opponents could break through to state.
      At the top of the bracket Doster will have a wrestling battle with upstart Jimmie JD Greathouse. Doster has had a superb season after being put out of the tournament due to an injury last year. Greathouse is a darkhorse that placed 5th at the Al Smith and snuck into the last rankings update.
      In the second quarter-bracket you have Gunsett on top with a tough first round opponent in Woodlan’s Nik Hoot. Hoot is an inspirational wrestler that should get a standing ovation whether he wins or loses. The winner of Hoot and Gunsett will get the winner of Devin Maggard of Marion and Logan Maynard of Goshen.
      On the bottom half you have probably the most competitive quarter bracket with Oak Hill’s Zach Gunter coming in as the top seed. The 2 vs. 3 match will be a good one with Raypole battling a tough Remington Hiestand in the first round. The Hiestand vs. Raypole winner is considered a slight favorite by many to punch their ticket to state.
      Lastly, the bottom bracket will probably feature a battle of NHC foes. Nate Weimer is looking wrestle at Banker’s Life for the second straight year, while nemesis Drake Rhoades is looking to derail those plans. Rhoades may have 13 losses, but he has the potential to beat anyone on any given day.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Kobe Raypole- Carroll vs. Remington Hiestand- Yorktown
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Owen Doster- New Haven vs. JD Greathouse- Jimtown
      Drake Rhodes- Homestead vs. Nate Weimer- East Noble
      One unique thing about this weight class is you have had pretty much two tough guys at each regional. This makes for solid separation of this weight and no cringe worthy draws. Two-time state placer Connor Knapp is the head of the class, but will be pushed by Sage Coy in the semi-finals. On the bottom half, Kyle Egolf and Caleb Maddox are favorites, but need to wrestle well to punch their tickets.
      The top bracket has the heavy favorite Knapp. Last year’s run to the semi-state championship included wins over three wrestlers that were semi-finalists…this year’s road is a little less bumpy. He will likely face Bulldog Ryan Shaffer in the ticket round.
      Sage Coy is making the most of his first state series after some bad luck the previous two years. He will have to battle one of two freshmen, Carroll’s Joel Arney or Eastbrook’s Christian Bratcher in the ticket round. Coy is a physical wrestler that has a wide array of attack from throws to shots to defense.
      Going down the line, you get one of the more intriguing first round matches between relatively unknown Jamal Scott and well known Jacob Stephenson. The winner will get a tough Kyle Egolf in the ticket round. This is probably the toughest to predict quarter-bracket at 132lbs.
      Lastly you have the senior who has paid his dues in Caleb Maddox and the fantastic freshman Fernando Luevano of West Noble. Along with the contrasting experience, Maddox is a tall and lanky lad, while Luevano is short and stocky. Look for this to be a very good match in the ticket round.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Jacob Stephenson- Yorktown vs. Jamal Scott- Elkhart Central
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Fernando Luevano- West Noble vs. Caleb Maddox- Western
      Kyle Egolf- Columbia City vs. Scott/Stephenson winner
      This weight is highlighted by two returning state qualifiers in mighty Squire Clayton Moore and the tough Tiger Brad Laughlin. Along with those two you have an undefeated Isaac Eicher and a state ranked Jay Franko also in the mix. This weight class will be one of the better ones to watch from the semi-finals on.
      Early on you will see returning state qualifier Moore battle one of two tough juniors in the ticket round. Nathaniel Smith of Columbia City has the tools to give the top wrestlers a great match. He will have to get past Exuse(pronounced Zues) Brown of Muncie Central in the first round.
      The jumpin' Jimmie Jay Franko looks to be the favorite in his quarter-bracket. However, the senior will have to fend off either Busco Bad Boy Chase Downing or the pink haired Robert Ford of Monroe Central. Both Ford and Downing come in with very few losses and have the potential to give Franko a run for his money.
      Probably the most solid quarter-final lock would be Yorktown's Brad Laughlin. He is having a stellar sophomore campaign and will likely face Fremont junior Hunter Leskowyak in the ticket round.
      The last quarter-bracket will see an undefeated Isaac Eicher of Leo as the early favorite. His biggest competition could be from Goshen's battle tested Joel Byler. Shane Curtis of Oak Hill cannot be overlooked as he has had a solid senior season.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Exuse Brown- Muncie Central vs. Nathaniel Smith- Columbia City
      Robert Ford- Monroe Central vs. Chase Downing- Churubusco
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Clayton Moore- Manchester vs. Brown/Smith winner
      With the way this weight was spread out in the semi-state, we knew there would be some good early matches. The Goshen regional boasts four solid grapplers that cannot be overlooked. Throw in two-time placer Cael McCormick and two-time ticket rounder Tanner Shipley, some good wrestlers will be buying a ticket at Banker’s Life next week.
      In the top quarter-bracket you have two coaches sons battling in out in Cael McCormick and Logan Williams. McCormick has two state medals, but this could be his toughest ticket round match. Williams is a good wrestler that is very fundamentally sound. Look for a very good match here.
      The second quarter-bracket is a toss-up with Prairie Heights standout Doug Levitz as the early favorite. He will need to go through two-loss Brody Hardcastle of Oak Hill to punch his first ticket to state.
      The third quarter-bracket is going to be fun to watch. Tanner Shipley has been in the ticket round twice and comes in as the regional champ. He will have a very tough Nathan Housholder in the first round, with the winner facing Hunter Bates who is having an outstanding season. Bates defeated Shipley in a close match early in the season and Shipley defeated Housholder earlier in the season also.
      The last quarter-bracket has returning state qualifier Tony Vaughn that is most people’s favorite to qualify. However, he cannot overlook either of his opponents. Kyle Leland has been wrestling very well as of late and he could push Vaughn in the first round. Joe Becker of Bellmont…well he’s from Bellmont, never count out a Brave in the ticket round.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Tanner Shipley- Huntington North vs. Nathan Housholder- East Noble
      Tony Vaughn- Elkhart Memorial vs. Kyle Leland- Homestead
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Cael McCormick- Yorktown vs. Logan Williams- DeKalb
      Shipley/Housholder winner vs. Hunter Bates- Adams Central
      As we move up in weight the competition will get stiffer. At 152lbs you have #3 ranked Josh Garman leading the way with an unblemished 40-0 record. He will come in as the favorite, but will need to navigate some tough wrestlers like Peru’s Peyton Sturgrill and red hot Jimmie Marquis Schieber to bring the semi-state championship back to Huntertown.
      At the top you have Garman as the favorite in his quarter bracket. He could meet up with Garrett Griffen of Northwood whom he pinned in the finals of the Wild Bill Invite. Griffin will have to get past three-loss sophomore Quentin Moore in the first round, while Garman has Tyler Leonard of Jay County.
      The second quarter bracket has a good mixture of youth and experience. Dru Berkebile of Yorktown comes in with only five losses and is ONLY a freshman. He will face the winner of two three loss seniors that will battle it out in the first round. Taylor Grim of West Noble will face fellow senior Breighton Mullinix of Oak Hill who dropped to 152 late in the season.
      On the bottom half, you have Marquis Schieber who has been on fire as of late. He won a very good sectional and regional after having a disappointing regular season. He will face the winner of small school studs Tate Burns of Eastside and TC Perry of Southern Wells.
      The last quarter bracket is going to be another one that is an absolute toss-up. First round you have a rematch of the 3rd place match at the Al Smith when regional champion Peyton Sturgill battles Ronnie Longbreak. The other early match will have NHC rivals on the mat when Cross Dietrich takes on Tony Busse. Busse won a 9-6 match at the conference tournament just a few weeks ago. On top of all of that, Sturgill defeated Busse 1-0 at the Al Smith.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Quentin Moore- Manchester vs. Garrett Griffin- Northwood
      Taylor Grim- West Noble vs. Breighton Mullinix- Oak Hill
      Peyton Sturgill- Peru vs. Ronnie Longbreake- Elkhart Memorial
      Tony Busse- Bellmont vs. Thaddeus-Cross Dietrich- Columbia City
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Grim/Mullinix winner vs. Dru Berkebile- Yorktown
      Sturgill/Longbrake winner vs. Busse/Dietrich winner
      With the potential of two state ranked wrestlers meeting in the ticket round many people are thanking the bracket gods for separating the top wrestlers here. Jake Weimer, Jacob Grey, and #800lbGorilla Bryce Baumgartner all come in with high expectations and high state rankings.
      On the top you have Weimer as the favorite. He was a state qualifier as a sophomore, but was upended last year in the ticket round. The added size has made him an even more dangerous wrestler. He will have the winner of Logan Snyder and DeShawn Barbary in the ticket round.
      Weimer could meet up with undefeated Jacob Grey if everything goes as “planned.” Gray had a mild upset over Baumgartner at regional in a very close match. His potential ticket round match will feature either Eastside’s Gage Delong or Eastbrook’s Chris Wickline.
      Nick Potter drew the tough task of being a regional champion and running into a returning state qualifier. Potter and Baumgartner are very familiar with eachother as Baumgartner owns two wins over him this year.
      The last quarter bracket will once again provide a great storyline. Will the upstart freshmen come out on top or will the senior play spoiler? In the first round you have Luke Liter of Adams Central battling Prairie Heights’ Jed Levitz in a rematch from the 1A state finals. Liter won by pin, but don’t count out the Panther freshman. Lurking after that will be super Tiger freshman Jordan Rader. Peru wrestles a competitive schedule so his five losses are legit.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Luke Liter- Adams Central vs. Jed Levitz- Prairie Heights
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Liter/Levitz winner vs. Jordan Rader- Peru
      The main story-line here is the unknowns vs. the knowns. State 3rd place finisher Dillion Jackson leads the way, along with two-time state streeter Kaine Luginbill. Past those two though it is going to be interesting to watch.
      At the top you have Jackson leading the way. He should be unchallenged to clinch his second trip to Banker’s Life.
      Going down you have one of the unknowns in Concordia’s undefeated Zach Davis. He will have to get through five loss Colton Guy in the first round. Past that it will be a battle of two wrestlers with 10+ losses.
      On the bottom bracket you have Luginbill as the favorite, but he will have to fend off two loss Luke Elliott in the ticket round. As with any match, Luginbill will make it interesting whether he wins or loses.
      The last bracket will provide the most uncertainty. Regional champion Nick Ritchie comes in the slight favorite, but will be tested in the ticket round. That match will feature the winner of Brett Baker of Bellmont and Turtletown’s own Caleb Partin. The Baker name is synonymous with wrestling in Decatur so never look past him.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Brett Baker- Bellmont vs. Caleb Partin- Churubusco
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Nick Ritchie- Elkhart Memorial vs. Baker/Partin winner
      Returning state 3rd place finisher Corey Hinkle made a late drop to this weight after wrestling 195lbs most of the season. Look for him to be the favorite, but past him it will be anyone’s guess as to who will punch their tickets to Banker’s Life.
      At the top you have upstart Wyatt Clem of Homestead who comes in as the regional champion. He will have to fend off not only Jay County’s Andy Kohler, but also his coach’s impeccable beard.
      Next you will have regional champion David Eli coming in as the favorite. He will be pushed early by Snider’s Russell Davies. After that he could face off with Daleville’s Corbin Maddox.
      The bottom bracket will feature an interesting match between two teams vying for the semi-state title. Yorktown’s Hunter Hiestand will most likely battle Carroll’s Kayne Duncan in a great ticket round match.
      Lastly, you have Mr. Hinkle who comes in with a zero in the loss column. He will however, be pushed in the ticket round by West Noble’s Oscar Reyes. Reyes got a late start to the season, but that could be in his advantage.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      David Eli- Elkhart Memorial vs. Russell Davies- Snider
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Wyatt Clem- Homestead vs. Andy Kohler- Jay County
      Hunter Hiestand- Yorktown vs. Kayne Duncan- Carroll
      Corey Hinkle- Western vs. Oscar Reyes- West Noble
      This is another weight class where the bracket gods separated the better wrestlers. The three returning state qualifiers all were separated from each other and that could make for an interesting day at the coliseum.
      At the top you have returning state qualifier Tristin Anglin coming in as a four seed. He will have a tough match with Michael Leonard of Northwood who is no slouch. The winner of that match will get a tough Eagle junior in Scottie Evans. This top bracket is very hard to predict how it will come out.
      Next we have the great unknown in Carroll’s Eric Dunten. He comes in without a blemish on his record in his first year on the varsity squad. He has three wins over both Anglin and Davis along with a win over #11 Sam Hipple. He will have a familiar foe in Bellmont’s Carter Friedt in the ticket round.
      On the bottom half you will have returning state qualifier Bo Davis looking to make it to state once again. He will have to battle the winner of Mykal Taylor of Muncie Central and Lane Eckrote of North Miami.
      Lastly, you have the heavy favorite Myron Howard of Yorktown. Howard was a 4th place finisher last year at 182lbs and is looking to add another medal this year.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Michael Leonard- Northwood vs. Tristin Anglin- Columbia City
      Lane Eckrote- North Miami vs. Mykal Taylor- Muncie Central
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Scottie Evans- Delta vs. Leonard/Anglin winner
      Bo Davis- Garrett vs. Eckrote/Taylor winner
      For being an upper weight, this one provides a great mixture of youth and experience. Leading the way is last year’s 6th place finisher and 2nd ranked Eliseo Guerra of Elkhart Central. He has had a tough sectional and regional, which in turn will make his path to clinching another state berth “easier.” Each of the quarter-brackets will provide some intriguing match-ups.
      At the top the mighty Railroader Blake Davis comes in as the regional champion. However, he will have to battle mighty Redskin Derek Paz for a state berth. Paz defeated Davis at the Al Smith 5-1, so this could be a very interesting match to watch.
      In the next quarter-bracket, super Sophomore Evan Ellis looks to be the favorite. He will have a tough Goshen regional foe in Elkhart Memorial’s Kaleb Summers in the ticket round. Both are tough wrestlers and it is hard to give a confident nod to either grappler.
      Guerra is the highlight of his quarter bracket. He could be pushed by Woodlan’s Edwin Barberena in the ticket round.
      Lastly, the final quarter-bracket is probably the most mysterious with no clear cut favorites. Winchester’s Dustyn Hangen comes in with only one loss and on paper looks to be the favorite. He will have to battle the early round winner of Huntington North’s Lane Emery and Peru’s Erik Hobbs.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Layne Emery- Huntington North vs. Erik Hobbs- Peru
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Blake Davis- Garrett vs. Derek Paz- Goshen
      Evan Ellis- Eastern- Greentown vs. Kaleb Summers- Elkhart Memorial
      Dustyn Hangen- Winchester vs. Emery/Hobbs winner
      This weight is the definition of toss-up. Whoever comes into the coliseum wrestling well could be the champion or qualify for state. In looking at each quarter bracket, there is one where there is a favorite. The other three it will be easier to pick a champion from flipping a coin than analyzing wins and losses.
      Matt Swartz of Snider looks to be the easiest pick to make it to the semi-finals, however he cannot overlook his first match with Mason Morningstar. He will face the winner of Jimmie sophomore Nick Mammolenti and Marion’s De’Andre Hodge.
      The second quarter bracket is about as crazy as it can me. Returning state qualifier Owen Perkins is the “headliner” of the group, however he cannot overlook anyone. Last year he defeated Dax Hiestand in the first round of semi-state, so he has an edge there. Brock Bergman of Lakeland is a big guy and will pose trouble for Perkins in the first round. Hiestand also cannot overlook the young buck from Carroll first round.
      The third quarter-bracket comes with as much uncertainty as Indiana weather. Issac Barrios of Elkhart Central is solid, but drew a red hot Evan Beech of North Miami. In a battle of quick and athletic big guys, Daemon Williams of Bishop Luers will battle Kiaser Phillips of Monroe Central. Again, all these match-ups are toss-ups as any of these four guys can punch their ticket to Banker’s Life.
      Lastly, the bottom quarter-bracket has just as many storylines. At team state Braxton Amos of Prairie Heights defeated Isiah Bollenbacher 2-0, however each needs to get past their first opponents. Amos will have Dante Graham of Western who has given guys like Perkins tough matches. Bollenbacher will have a game Drew Cummings of Columbia City who has some good wins this year.
      Throw the rankings and past results out the window for this weight class as the only thing that will matter is who comes to wrestle on Saturday.
      Early Slobber Knockers
      Brock Bergman- Lakeland vs. Owen Perkins- Oak Hill
      Evan Beech- North Miami vs. Issac Barrios- Elkhart Central
      Daemen Williams- Bishop Luers vs. Kiaser Phillips- Monroe Central
      Isiah Bollenbacher- Adams Central vs. Drew Cummings- Columbia City
      Ticket Round Tussles
      Dax Hiestand- Yorktown vs. Bergman/Owens winner
      Beech/Barrios winner vs. Williams/Phillips winner
      Braxton Amos- Prairie Heights vs.Bollenbacher/Cummings winner

      8425 28

      2015 Evansville Semi-State Preview

      Welcome to TripleB’s annual Evansville Semi-State Wrestling Preview Spectacular!!
      Before we get into the good stuff, let’s cover what’s important:
      TripleB presents the first ever Evansville Semi State Meet and Greet at The Gerst Haus, Friday night in Evansville at 8pm Evansville time. We’ll have 2 special guest as noted author and Evansville wrestling historian Hook and Half also known as John Johnson and incoming IHSWCA president Tskin himself, Tyson Skinner will be on hand to socialize with the Indiana wrestling community. This coincides with the Franklin Street Mardi Gras Pub Crawl. So come out and have a good time w/ The IndianaMat family!
      This introduction and welcome to Evansville is brought to you by "literary titan and celebrated author Hook and Half”:
      10,000 years after Paleo-Indians initially settled the "River City", wrestling fans will descend upon the Ford Center for what promises to be an outstanding day of semi state action.
      When the Delaware Indians formally relinquished the Evansville area to General William Henry Harrison in 1805, they surely did not understand the value of the grappling space of which there were ceding!
      Our 16th President grew up about 35 miles east of Evansville in Spencer County. One can ride a bicycle from his boyhood log cabin to Heritage Hills High School. Lincoln, who is honored in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, was said to have lost only one match in nearly 300 bouts. The presence of the Great Emancipator will felt this Saturday.
      Wow, thanks hook and half! How can I be expected to follow that?? We’ll preview all 14 weights. Each weight will feature:
      The Charles Barkley “Turrible” Draws - ticket round matches that shouldn’t be happening in the ticket round!
      The Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - Best first round matches!
      The Built Ford Tough Locks - The Pickers of the Round Table has been assembled. There were very few, but any weight class where the pick for champion was unanimous, makes it a Ford Tough Lock. Ford Tough Locks were hard to come by this year as only 4 were given out.
      Ford Fab 4 - After picks were gathered, points distributed, and the dust settled, we’ll have the Ford Fab 4.
      Also at the end we’ll feature Hooks Picks as Mr. Johnson brings you a travel guide for things to do and places to eat in Evansville, along with some insider knowledge into the Ford Center.
      Without further ado...UNLEASH THE PREVIEW!!
      106: It’s appropriate that we start with this weight class, as it could be labeled “The Future Stars” of Evansville Semi-State. But for these guys their time is Now. 14 of the 16 wrestlers are freshmen and all 10 SS ranked wrestlers are here.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - No real matches jump off here, all the kids are solid. Trips will go with SS ranked #7 Tony Mosconi of Indian Creek vs. SS 8th ranked Dalton Craig of Jennings County. Mosconi has put together a solid Freshman season for the Braves. Craig’s 8 losses are a bit deceiving, he’s dropped multiple matches to conference Rival Graham Rooks. expect the winner here to push Levi Miller of North Posey in the the ticket round.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - #1 Noah Hunt vs. #2 Mason Miranda...Whaaaaat?!? Triple B likes Miranda to win the match and the weight class Saturday! But the Pickers of the Round Table disagree.
      Ford Fab 4 - The first committee vote featured 3 different favorites, but Frosh phenom Graham Rooks was the clear leader.
      1st - Graham Rooks Columbus East, 2nd - Noah Hunt Bloomington South, 3rd - Tyler Mills Brownsburg, 4th - Levi Miller North Posey
      113: The biggest questions at 113 - “Is he healthy enough?” “Is he gonna pull a Danny Williams?” Of course “he” is #1 ranked Paul Konrath and Konrath dominates this 113 discussion. After defaulting out at Regionals, questions have been flying. The P.O.T.R.T. say...he’s defaulting out to fourth. This weight is loaded with ticket round matches full of state worthy guys including state qualifiers Jacob Skaggs and Noah Franklin meeting up, as will former state qualifiers Kyle Luigs of Evansville Mater Dei and Hunter Fox of Cascade, and the high light might be Konrath and #4 Nick Weaver of Brownsburg.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Don’t be late Saturday! Freshman Phenom Tristan Sellmer has knocked off state qualifier Noah Franklin the last 2 weekends and his reward is….returning State Runner-Up Paul Konrath. Speaking of this Konrath kid…
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - #1 Paul Konrath and #4 Nick Weaver headline a spectacular ticket round session here at 113. Weaver might punch his ticket in any other quarterfinal, but this obstacle might be too big for the Bulldog.
      Ford Fab 4 - The only thing of note here is that Konrath’s injury leaves the Pickers unsettled and because of that he is the first of five returning Semi-State champs to not get enough votes to be a Ford Tough Lock.
      1st - Kyle Luigs Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd - Logan Dilbeck Gibson Southern, 3rd Jacob Skaggs Avon, 4th Paul Konrath Mt. Vernon
      120: This weight class features dual winner for Curtain Jerker and Turrible Draw, 2 state qualifiers locking up first round does not make Sir Charles happy! Also of note, 120 features the second weight class where a returning semi state champ is not a Lock!
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker/Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - Ben Davis Junior James Pritchett was a surprise state qualifier a year ago for the Giants. This year he will have his work cut out for him as he will have returning 5th place finisher Tyler Ferguson of Evansville Reitz. Zoinks….that’s a bad draw!
      Ford Fab 4: I had to double check the registry….Brock Hudkins is not a FTL?!?!? Unrest in the South after Will Egli’s big win over Ferguson last week has cause some to convert!
      1st - Brock Hudkins Danville, 2nd - Tyler Ferguson Reitz, 3rd - Will Egli Evansville Mater Dei, 4th Isaac Gomez Plainfield
      126: 2 returning state qualifiers Elliott Molloy and Alex Johnson will hook up in one semi, while the other side will look to benefit from having those 2 on the other side. 126 will also feature the first tie as the Round Table couldn’t come to an agreement over Braedon Clopton of Castle and David Lewis of Terre Haute South.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Trevor Reese of Franklin might have something to say about the Clopton/Lewis match as he looks to crash that party when him and Clopton go at it in the first round. Consider Reese a dark horse here and could punch his ticket also.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - Chayce Young of Madison and Brody Boles of Mooresville are both returning Semi State Qualifiers. It looked like Boles was possibly gonna punch his ticket a year ago before getting caught on his back late in his first round match and dropping a tough 8-6 decision to eventual SQ Austin Bethel. Young jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over Molloy in the ticket round before Molloy turned on his takedown machine and went to work. 2 questionable calls late in the match (I’m biased) cost Young his chance as he dropped a 10-8 OT decision. Now both seniors should put on the fireworks in their ticket round match...Charles can only shake his head….
      Ford Fab 4: This was close on who wins Molloy/Johnson, but Molloy just pulled it out at the Table. Which could set up a nice revenge match in the finals w/ Young.
      1st - Elliott Molloy Danville, 2nd Chayce Young Madison, 3rd Alex Johnson Evansville Mater Dei, 4th Winner of Clopton/Lewis.
      132: Many people would expect this to be our first Ford Tough Lock….but stop the presses...Not So! You’ll have to skip ahead one weight class to see a Lee has our first FTL. The Hobbit from the North beLEEves in a Lee, but not the Wildcat. No he think’s Brayton Lee will shake Evansville to the core on Saturday.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - Keep an eye on Tristin Dowell and Josh Elpers. Dowell has been a popular name on Indianamat this year, did New Albany just get the internet installed? Elpers has 13 losses, but wrestles in a tough area and could be ready to pull off a #4 over #1 come Saturday. Also Jaylen Lee vs. Cale McCoy. McCoy is a pick to get be Ford Fab 4 but Lee only has 3 losses and Ben Davis does not wrestle slouches. Could Jaylen Lee be this year’s James Pritchett?
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - #2 Brayton Lee vs. #4 Austin Bethel, Freshman vs. State Qualifier. #1 Nick Lee vs. #5 Mitch Anderson. Bad draw’s abound here, all 4 of these guys are worthy of being SQ’s.
      Ford Fab 4 - Once again the biggest shock is the Nick Lee is not a Ford Tough Lock, but we’ll see what happens come Saturday. Lee vs. Lee!!
      1st - Nick Lee Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd - Brayton Lee Brownsburg, 3rd - Griffin Schermer Bloomington South, 4th - Cale McCoy Northview
      138: It took 6 weight classes, but 138 gives us our first Ford Tough Lock - Evansville Mater Dei Freshman Joe Lee. There are some nice first round matches but overall it looks like the Castle Regional will reign supreme as projected top 3 all come from The Castle
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - 2 matches both highlight the opening ceremonies at 138. Returning state qualifier Quinn Harris and Castle junior Austin Ramsey will both be looking to get to Bankers but first thing’s first… Also Franklin’s Shane Wilkerson and Gibson Southern’s Kyle Todrank will go at it. Wilkerson has been wrestling good as of late but is it enough to upend Todrank who is wanting a third match at Joe Lee
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - No complaints here, all looks good!
      Ford Tough Lock - Our first one, Joe Lee Evansville Mater Dei. Todrank has kept it close, but expect the same result this weekend.
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st Joe Lee Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd - Kyle Todrank Gibson Southern, 3rd - Austin Ramsey Castle, 4th - Nick Weddle Ben Davis
      145: This weight features our second Ford Tough Lock, and he’s also a Wildcat, Blake Jourdan joins teammate Joe Lee as being a Ford Tough Lock. The Pickers also project 2 upsets, in terms of SS rankings, at this weight as Ethan Herrin (#5) is favored over Thomas Dull (#2) and Brennan Barlow (#8) is favored over returning state qualifier Bryant Haynes (#4)
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Potential #4 over #1 Madison’s Trenton Dempler and Mooresville’s Christian Warren look to go. Expect this match to be all go and Dempler’s matches never seem to be boring.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Herrin and Dull features a match where 2 kids that have been at the top all year is going home. Herrin’s come from behind win last week at regionals and Barlow finally catching Dull both show how close this match was from not happening, anything falls different and we are looking at different match ups here.
      Ford Tough Lock - Blake Jourdan, Evansville Mater Dei
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Blake Jourdan Evansville Mater Dei, 2nd - Patrick Schnell - Castle, Ethan Herrin Jennings County, Brennan Barlow Bloomington South
      152: 3 weight classes in a row with a Ford Tough Lock. This one is also from Evansville but not from Mater Dei! Central’s Isaiah Kemper looks to bring the Bears another Semi-State Champ. The Mooresville Regional will have some chances to take some cracks at Kemper as 1 loss junior Elijah Dunn and 4 loss junior Cayden Whitaker look to punch their tickets
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - Nothing really jumps off the page. Look for some seniors to give favorites tough first round matches. Heritage Hills’ Cordell Miller will battle Whitaker and Brownsburg senior Brandon Gay, who is relatively new to 152, might frustrate Kemper.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - #5 Tre Lynch finds himself in a tough spot after dropping some tough losses at Sectionals and Regionals, he now finds himself against #2 ranked Dunn in the ticket round. Does the Bulldog senior have what it takes?
      Ford Tough Lock - Isaiah Kemper Evansville Central
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Isaiah Kemper Evansville Central, 2nd - Cayden Whitaker Martinsville, 3rd Elijah Dunn Indian Creek, 4th - Jacob Farmer Castle
      160: 160 features returning Semi-State Champ Gabe Koontz, but is he a lock, not according to the Round Table. Brendon Helm has an off season win over Koontz and some think he will win again come Saturday. Trips went against the grain and took Turner Lockyear in the upset, but he was voted down at the Table!
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - #8 Nick Buedel of Evansville Mater Dei is described as a high intense wrestler and his first round opponent, Wes Ferguson of Jennings County has worked his way into the Panthers line up and has a stellar 21-2 record. Neither senior wants their season to end in the first round!
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - #3 Tristan McDaniel vs #5 Ethan Runyan - Runyan is battle tested as he’s had a tough path through the state tourney, will the battle tested Runyan be able to knock off the Tecumseh senior? #2 Brendon Helm vs. #4 Turner Lockyear - these guys have a total of 5 losses between them. Both started the season at 170 and dropped to 160 midway through. Both are seniors...Who wins?!?!?!?
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Gabe Koontz Edgewood, 2nd - Tristan McDaniel Tecumseh, 3rd - Brendon Helm Avon, 4th - Kody Caudle Danville
      170: A returning state champ, and not the favorite, Franklins Jacob Stevenson has ran into rough competition w/ a bullseye. He took a loss last weekend to Ben Davis’ Dylan Lydy. Stevenson also got a late start and could still be feeling the effects of a football injury. With all of those factors the Pickers had to go with Lydy here.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - #3 Nathan Walton vs. #4 Noah Huelsing, Cra-Cra…. The freshman from Brownsburg has been in behind Lydy and Stevenson...now that pays off with #4 Huelsing in a great opening round match. This will definitely be better than Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 28 (worst curtain jerker ever).
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draw - See above, the winner probably punches their ticket, but it’s a shame one of these guys are going home early.
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Dylan Lydy Ben Davis, 2nd - Jacob Stevenson Franklin Community, 3rd Nathan Walton Brownsburg, 4th - Blake Jeffress Castle
      182: Undefeated Super Sophomore Kyle Shaffer from South Putnam seemed like sure lock, but not this year. However it does seem like we’ll see another round of Shaffer vs. Elmore. Can the senior from Avon finally knock off Shaffer? Super sleeper, 2 loss frosh Ryan Hammond from Whiteland got some love from the Pickers, not enough to get into the Fab 4 but enough to take notice.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - 8th ranked Peyton Shepherd of Jennings County vs. the aforementioned Hammond. The winner will look to spoil Hunter Dalton’s ticket round.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - #2 Evan Elmore vs. #3 Sam Bassemeier. Why wasn’t Shaffer a lock you ask? Some believe that Bassemeier will crash the North’s party and skate out of the Ford Center as Semi State Champ. Bassemeier’s one loss was a 5-2 decision to Elmore at the Mater Dei Classic. Turrible says Charles….just Turrible
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Kyle Shaffer South Putnam, 2nd - Evan Elmore Avon, 3rd - Matt Hayes Providence, 4th - Hunter Dalton Bloomington North
      195: Randy Scott...need we say more? Well yes we do b/c Scott was not another victim of one of the pickers thinking he’s ripe for the upset this weekend. Scott had a big ticket round last year knocking off Dakota Thacker and rode that win to Semi-State runner up and 3rd place finish at state. Will Scott be the victim this year as he’ll likely face #2 Adam Lytle from Tecumseh in the ticket round.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - None of these first round matches really made Barry give himself a pat on the back. He wound up going w/ #7 Chase Thompson of Jeffersonville vs. #4 Garrison Lee of Monrovia. Sometimes styles clash, can Thompson keep the Red Devils state streak going?
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - #1 vs. #2, #3 vs. #4….all in the ticket round. What’s up with that??? Jasper’s #3 Ian Songer vs. #4 Lee...The Table likes the upset here. #1 Scott vs. #2 Lytle Scott got the votes and was unanimous here. Sir Charles said that this weight was worse bad, just bad. He asked about going best of 7??
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Randy Scott Mooresville, 2nd - Chase Anslinger Evansville Mater Dei, 3rd - Garrison Lee Monrovia, 4th - Quade Greiwe Columbus East
      220: 220 was a mess at The Table. Pickers chose everybody, I think DJ Radnovich even got a vote. 8 different wrestlers got votes, the most by any weight class by far. At one point there were 2 ties, we had look for hanging chads and almost drew straws. The consensus was the winner of Gunnar Lason and Corey Klem is the favorite to win state.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerker - #9 Brady Shepherd vs. #7 Kurtis Wilderman Evansville Mater Dei. 2 young, athletic big boys are gonna get after it. I don’t think this match will go 6 minutes. The winner here hopes to knock off the senior state qualifier from Ben Davis, Kasha Wilder.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Another #1 vs. #2 here as Gibson Southern’s Corey Klem was upended last weekend by La’Terrance Kyles, setting up this ticket round battle. The P.O.T.R.T. went with Larson here in a close one, however both guys were picked to win in all ballots. Another close one on the ballots was Kyles vs. #4 Martinsville Sophomore Clayton Scroggs. Trips likes Scroggs, but votes were close as Kyles ending getting the nod.
      Ford Fab 4 - Due to the rare nature of Larson and Klem splitting votes, Larson ended up tying with Kasha Wilder. BBB gives Larson the nod and breaks the tie.
      1st - Gunnar Larson Avon, 2nd - Kasha Wilder Ben Davis, 3rd - La’Terrance Kyles Evansville Harrison, 4th - winner of Tristin Choate and Dakota Short
      285: The last of the weights features the last lock of the preview, Stormin’ Norman Ogelsby will look the gridiron in the fall with the Cincinatti Bearcats but hopes to finish up his season with a 3rd Semi-State title and push for a state title. This only the only weight that featured 4 locked picks as everybody agreed on the Ford Fab 4 here, but there were some disagreements on order.
      Barry Horowitz Best Curtain Jerkers - #3 Bryce Biddle, Plainfield vs. 3 loss senior Colten Dossett of Tecumseh. Tough first round match, with the winner jumping right into a Turrible Draw match. #6 Adrian Butler Evansville Mater Dei vs. #8 Brett Henson Avon is another great first round match. Avon and EMD always bring their best stuff to the Ford Center, this one should be no different.
      Charles Barkley Turrible Draws - Biddle vs. #2 Nathan Hayes Greensburg. Hayes hasn’t had the best of tournament runs and if the Pirate wants to finish his career in the Bank, he’ll need to knock off a game Biddle.
      Ford Tough Lock - 3x Semi State champs are rare, and even rarer at HWT, but Norman Ogelsby should do just that Saturday in Evansville
      Ford Fab 4 - 1st - Norman Ogelsby Ben Davis, 2nd - Quinn York Franklin Community, 3rd - Adrian Butler Evansville Mater Dei, 4th - Bryce Biddle Plainfield
      We’ll end this article with Hook’s Picks:
      · Dinner- Turoni's has two Evansville locations and a microbrewery. Their pizza is special. DiLegge's is a locally-owned Italian restaurant whose food is out of this world. Visit theHilltop Inn, recently voted the Manliest Bar in America. The adventurous should order a brain sandwich. Non-adventurers will be safe and happy with a bowl of Burgoo (trust me). Mrs. Hook loves their chicken livers. I am a Stromboli fiend, accordingly, I have eaten them everywhere. Nobody beats Pizza King for Stroms. Nobody. The Gerst Haus serves authentic German cuisine and has over 30 varieties of beer on tap. Get ready for a carbohydrate and protein load up!
      · Franklin Street has a vibrant night life featuring restaurants, bars, taverns and a night club. Park your car, as the city offers shuttle service for the Mardi Gras pub crawl taking place this weekend.
      · Get your ticket early. There is only one door to enter the Ford Center and it is going to be cold and windy on Saturday morning.
      · Bring money. The Ford Center is one of Indiana's premier venues; it comes at a price. They get NBA-style prices for the concessions. Methinks that the good people of Castle should take over food duties...
      · Bring a hoodie. An ice rink is beneath the mats. The place is fa-rosty.
      · 70 years ago, 130,000 Americans hit Normandy's beaches, liberated Europe and altered the course of western civilization. Many of our boys caught a ride to the shoreline on the LST, built right here in Evans-Vegas. The LST 325 is downtown and available for tours. You will not regret it.
      · John Reitz was a 19th-century lumber baron along the magnitude of a Bill Gates or Donald Trump. His son is the namesake of FJ Reitz High School and Reitz Memorial High School. The Reitz home is open for tours. The Mrs. and the kids will enjoy this.
      · The Children's Museum of Evansville (CMOE) is within walking distance of the Ford Center and is a grand slam. When my three children--Hooksly, Hookticia and PowerHalf--were tikes, it was one of their favorite things to do.


      2015 New Castle Semi-State Preview

      New Castle: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat
      A long, grinding season has transpired, leading a horde of battle-tested young men into the historic New Castle Chrysler Fieldhouse for what promises to be a very exciting (and stressful) day of competition. Not joining us are some of last year's non-graduated standouts, like Jake Ruberg (#5 pre-season) of Lawrenceburg (injury), Bryant White (#10 pre-season) of Anderson (concentration on football?), Chatard's (pre-season #5) Noah Schrader (top-50 in the country in rugby), Trevor Lonneman (ticket-rounder last year) of Milan (injury) and Matthew Penola (#10 pre-season) of Zionsville (injury)...Not to mention pre-season top-20's Chapman Luster of Franklin Central and Nick Brickens of New Palestine and ticket rounder Garrett Wilson of Perry Meridian. I mention these competitors just to illustrate how difficult it is to make it to the semistate level, much less the ticket round and beyond. Impressively, at least one New Castle competitor is ranked in the top-5 in every weight class. As usual, some weight classes are stronger than others, and some are dominated by standouts operating on a higher level than their opponents. Falling into this latter category are studs like Chad Red, Jr of New Palestine, the two-time reigning state champ, Blake Rypel, last year's runner-up denied a title by an eyelash, returning state champ Tommy Cash of Lawrence North and four-year standout Brandon James of Perry Meridian. Not surprisingly, three of these four forces of nature carry some seriously impressive national rankings. As usual, some truly excellent wrestlers will get clipped by the numbers game, leaving likely State place-winners at home for the State Finals. The team race should come down to Perry Meridian (13 entrants!!), Lawrence North (12), Warren Central (11), Cathedral, Hamilton Southeastern and possibly even New Palestine.
      Five ranked wrestlers grace the field at 106, led by state #2 Klayton Anderson, a tough move-in from Missouri. Anderson's lone loss this year is up a weight class and he was in firm control during the first two rounds of the postseason. He is very long and is nasty on top. He wrestles with maturity and good mat-sense, although occasionally he can get a little high when riding. While he should be tested here (like a possible ticket match with PM's Sunny Nier), he appears to be at the head of the class. Who will join him is far less clear, as there are a handful of really tough opening round and ticket round matches that go in different directions. Cainan Schaefer has to get by a very dangerous Josh Vaughn to set up a ticket match with the surging Alexander Strueder. Cameron Diep avenged his lone loss of the season with a regional title, getting by Keyuan Murphy. Diep looks pretty well positioned to advance to Bankers Life, and he has a shot to do it as a #1 or #2 seed. If seeds hold, #7 David Bryant and #18 Keyuan Murphy should do battle for a coveted golden ticket. That could be one of the matches of the day.
      Last year's champ: Breyden Bailey, Cathedral
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Klayton Anderson, Hamilton Southeastern
      #4 Cameron Diep, New Palestine
      #7 David Bryant, Hamilton Heights
      #17 Cainan Schaefer, South Dearborn
      #18 Keyuan Murphy, Warren Central
      Feature matchups:
      #7 Bryant vs. #18 Murphy (Ticket round) – Two beastly juniors could meet up in a show-stopper. Bryant has a sterling W/L record and Murphy has wrestled the nightmarish schedule. Looking for an advantage? If it's not Murphy's tougher schedule, it might be Bryant's experience, as he wrestled in the ticket round last season for Pendleton Heights. Another possible edge? Bryant competed up at 113 quite a bit this season and is a healthy sized 106.
      #17 Schaefer vs. Alexander Strueder, Fishers (Ticket round) – Like Bryant, Schaefer also has ticket round experience, as he lost by decision in his first attempt last year. Strueder isn't ranked and doesn't have a record that jumps out at you, but he passed the eye test at sectionals and regionals, and should be able to give Schaefer a difficult time of it.
      #2 Anderson vs. Sunny Nier, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – Anderson is a big favorite on paper, but Perry wrestlers know a thing or two about 'upsets' this time of year. It doesn't hurt that Diep is 31-4 against pretty rugged competition.
      #2 Anderson vs. #4 Diep (Finals) – If these two favorites meet, it should make for a very interesting match. Both of these youngsters have state championship aspirations, and they should find quite a challenge in each other.
      1st round picks:
      Schaefer over Vaughn
      Strueder over Young
      Diep over Markley
      Grino over Hobson
      Bryant over Mennen
      Murphy over Mantor
      Anderson over Spinale
      Nier over Deloney
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Anderson, Diep, Murphy, Schaefer
      The Alpha Dog:
      Klayton Anderson
      Five more state-ranked wrestlers will lace 'em up at 113. Three top-7 wrestlers are favorites here to reach the semistate final four. #5 White, #6 Turner and #7 Holmes are all returning state place-winners, and it would be a massive upset if one of those three didn't walk away with the semistate title. If anyone has the ammo to pull it off, it's likely Beech Grove's Ethan Smiley, who has shown that he can hang with the big boys at this weight. Of the Big 3 at this weight, regional champ Holmes might have the roughest path to the semis, as he has #14 Owens lurking in the ticket round. This should be a very competitive class both at New Castle and at State.
      Last year's champ: Cornelius Elliott, II, Perry Meridian
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #5 Alec White, New Palestine
      #6 Skylour Turner, Cathedral
      #7 Austin Holmes, Hamilton Southeastern
      #10 Ethan Smiley, Beech Grove
      #14 Erik Owens, Warren Central
      Feature matchups:
      #10 Smiley vs. Trevor Ragle, New Castle (Ticket round) – Assuming these two can avoid first round upsets, we should have a battle of two super-frosh competing for the all-important state berth. Smiley is ranked, but Ragle comes in as regional champ and Coach Peckinpaugh has produced more than his fair share of state qualifiers. Will the home-mat advantage tilt the edge in Ragle's favor?
      #7 Holmes vs. #14 Owens (Ticket round) – Holmes was my pick to win the semistate last year and he fell short in the finals, but he made up for it with a strong run at State. Owens presents a formidable challenge, as he's wrestled a 'who's who' at 113 and won't be intimidated by Holmes.
      #5 White vs. #6 Turner (Semifinal round) – Yikes! I'm sure these two were hoping to avoid each other until the finals, but here we are. Both have wrestled elite level schedules, and yet they have only 5 losses combined. This is close to a pick 'em, with White a very slight favorite.
      #5 White/#6 Turner vs. #7 Holmes/#10 Smiley (Finals) – Clearly there is a lot of variability here, but let's go by rankings and seeds and say Holmes vs. White. Holmes owns a narrow win over his Dragon rival earlier this year, and this one could go down in OT. On nothing but a hunch, I'm taking Holmes.
      1st round picks:
      White over Unseld
      Ellis over Black
      Turner over Servies
      Jerde over Walton
      Ragle over Hutson
      Smiley over Lowe
      Holmes over Weber
      Owens over Barrantes
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Holmes, White, Turner, Smiley
      The Alpha Dog:
      Austin Holmes
      Despite having only 4 ranked wrestlers participating, partially due to the unfortunate absence of sectional champ Eugene Starks of New Palestine, this is no weak group at New Castle. Defending semistate champ Breyden Bailey leads a top-heavy field at 120. Bailey has managed to navigate the entire season unscathed, which is pretty remarkable considering Cathedral's schedule. However, the two closest matches for Bailey all season, including one that required OT, were against returning semistate champ Cornelious Elliott. Look for another donnybrook between these two in the finals, as any other outcome would be a monumental upset. Who will join them is a pretty wide-open topic, but Caleb Bocock looks nicely situated to return to Bankers Life, and Alston Jenkinson is a slight favorite to round out the quartet. Highly ranked (and deservedly so) Zach McCoy drew a very unfavorable path to the state Finals, as he must find a way to figure out the riddle that is Bailey in order to wrestle another weekend.
      Last year's champ: Chad Red, Jr., New Palestine
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #1 Breyden Bailey, Cathedral
      #3 Cornelious Elliott, II, Perry Meridian
      #12 Zach McCoy, North Montgomery
      #13 Caleb Bocock, Lebanon
      Feature matchups:
      #1 Bailey vs. #12 McCoy (Ticket round) – I don't think either wrestler is wild about this matchup. While Bailey has seamlessly transitioned to 120 from 106, McCoy has had a great season as well, and presents some physical obstacles for his foes with his long frame and tough defense on his feet. While Bailey is the obvious favorite as the state's current #1, McCoy is a senior and will fight tooth and nail to pull the upset.
      Jack Eiteljorge, Carmel vs. Dameion Rutledge, Southport (Opening round) – While Eiteljorge's record doesn't stand out, a closer look at his results shows that he has gone toe-to-toe with his elite foes all season, and owns a win over McCoy, among others. Rutledge is a tough senior, coming off of an impressive run at regionals, but I wouldn't be astounded if Eiteljorge pulled a couple of upsets on Saturday. The Pendoski-led freshman is a solid darkhorse pick to work his way to Bankers Life.
      #3 Elliott vs. Isaac Castro, Lawrence North (Ticket round) – Assuming the seeds hold, Elliott has a legitimate hurdle in Castro waiting for him in the ticket round. While they've met already this season, with Elliott winning by fall, Castro has faced some tough competition all year and will be a tough out for the Perry senior.
      #1 Bailey vs. #3 Elliott (Finals) – If this match takes place, which it should, it should be one of the top 2 or 3 matches of the entire day. While Bailey has come out on top in their prior meetings this season, Elliott has a lengthy resume of big-time wins in pressure situations. When two wrestlers are so closely matched, it's very tough for the same wrestler to win over and over again. That said, I'll go with Bailey in an exciting squeaker, possibly OT.
      1st round picks:
      Bailey over Browning
      McCoy over Culp
      Jenkinson over Fetters
      Eiteljorge over Rutledge
      Bocock over McMillian
      Surguy over Manns
      Elliott over Crum
      Castro over Plunkett
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Bailey, Elliott, Bocock, Jenkinson
      The Alpha Dog:
      Breyden Bailey
      Like last year, there are 7 ranked wrestlers at this weight class in New Castle, even with #13 Dalton Hair of Franklin Central getting knocked out at regionals. While this is an extraordinarily deep and tough bracket, the #1 126er in the country rules this roost, to the chagrin of the others in the class. Chad Red is well on his way to cementing his status as one of Indiana's best of alltime, and he should be able to control the action again on Saturday. The real suspense is figuring out who will join him on the podium. Almost every match in every round features a pair of dangerous wrestlers, and the bracket could play out in many different ways. In short, your guess is as good as mine, past Red, that is.
      Last year's champ: Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #1 Chad Red, Jr., New Palestine (Nationally, #1 in the USA @126 The Open Mat, #2 AWN, #3 Intermat)
      #6 Ngun Uk, Perry Meridian
      #7 Zach Melloh, Cathedral
      #9 Joel McGhee, Warren Central
      #14 Boone Welliever, Southmont
      #15 Taylor Wright, Greenfield-Central
      #17 Skyler Collins, Frankfort
      Feature matchups:
      #14 Welliever vs. #9 McGhee (Opening round) – Ouch! Whoever comes out of the top foursome in this bracket, which includes the tough Southmont soph and the dangerous Warrior junior, will have earned his spot, to say the least. While I don't believe these 2 have met this year, Welliever edged Wright, who edged McGhee....which means almost nothing. Grab yer popcorn.
      #14 Welliever/#9 McGhee vs. Kylan Seats, North Central (Ticket round) – It just doesn't get any easier for the winner of Welliever and McGhee, as the likely ticket round opponent will be the surging senior Seats. Seats' record isn't flashy, but his postseason performance thus far is very impressive, and it's a pick 'em among these three. Take your favorite here and hold on to your seat.
      Johnny Loos, Franklin County vs. Dakota Cole, Elwood (Opening round) – While these two don't get the state-wide accolades of some of the others in this group, each of these two competitors were ticket rounders last year. Cole impressively upset a regional champ en route to his ticket match, and Loos has one lone loss all season. The winner of this melee will likely be facing Uk to try to earn a state berth.
      #15 Wright vs. #17 Collins (Opening round) – Another vicious opening round slobber-knocker here, as ranked opponents Wright and Collins meet up for the privilege of facing Melloh in the ticket round. Both have faced tough competition, with Wright possessing perhaps a couple more quality wins than Collins, but it's close...too close to call. This bracket is ludicrous.
      #7 Melloh vs. #17 Collins/#15 Wright (Ticket round) – No rest for the weary, as the survivor of the Wright/Collins battle will have to get by the nasty Irish freshman Melloh. While Melloh is the likely favorite, both Collins and Wright have significant experience advantages over the freshman. Will the experience factor matter at all, or does Cathedral's rough schedule even the odds? Tune in.
      1st round picks:
      McGhee over Welliever
      Seats over Bundy
      Red over Pruitt
      O'Neal over Phillips
      Loos over Cole
      Uk over Steele
      Melloh over Handley
      Wright over Collins
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Red, Uk, Melloh, McGhee
      The Alpha Dog:
      Chad Red, Jr.
      A number of tough wrestlers populate this bracket, and, truthfully, up to a half-dozen wrestlers have a legitimate shot at catching fire and winning the weight. Obviously, this makes prognosticating very difficult, as there are very few obvious favorites in any round at this weight. Jack Chastain, a semistate champ a year ago, will have to get by the highest ranked wrestler in the bunch, Matt McKinney, just to punch his ticket. Fargo All-American Evan Eldred, who was 'gifted' Brandon James in his ticket match last year, has to get by a 2 loss Perry Meridian senior stud, Jordan Napier, again, just to punch his ticket. Top seed Nick Smith must get by seventh ranked Nick Ellis just to make it to the ticket round. This weight is among the most confounding and unpredictable, but no matter what, when the smoke clears, there will be four tough wrestlers advancing on to Bankers Life.
      Last year's champ: Deondre Wilson, Warren Central
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Matthew McKinney, Warren Central
      #5 Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern
      #6 Evan Eldred, Westfield
      #7 Nick Ellis, Roncalli
      #9 Jordan Napier, Perry Meridian
      #18 Jordan Vaughn, Franklin Central
      Feature matchups:
      #7 Ellis vs. Nick Smith, Lawrence North (Opening round) – Ellis has had a strong year, but he stumbled a bit in his regional, whereas Smith has had a slightly uneven season, missing time with injury and taking a little while to get into full beast mode. Smith made up for lost time by winning his regional, and comes into this bout with a lot of confidence. Smith was a ticket rounder last year, while Ellis dropped his opening semistate match to Chastain. This is one of many, many matches at New Castle that could go either way.
      #18 Vaughn vs. David Kitko, Noblesville (Opening round) – Vaughn managed a 3rd place showing in a strong regional, while Kitko finished 2nd in a slightly weaker regional. Between the two, they have only 6 losses all year, and while Kitko has missed some time on the mat this year, he appears to be rounding into shape at the right time. Vaughn will be favored, but Kitko could surprise. Both are returning semistate qualifiers.
      #9 Napier vs. #6 Eldred (Ticket round) – This is great for the fans at New Castle, but a bummer for the semistate in the overall, Bankers Life-scheme of things. These are truly excellent wrestlers who each deserve a crack at the State field. Unfortunately, it's Thunderdome time--two men enter, one man leaves. In recent years, Perry wrestlers have been awfully tough to beat in these 50/50 matchups at semistate, but Coach O'Neill's biggest gun is hungry to return to Bankers Life after missing out last year. This match's outcome could be a big factor in the overall seeding for the entire weight class entering the State meet.
      #4 McKinney vs. #5 Chastain (Ticket round) – Fate is certainly fickle, as McKinney looked to be on the verge of a regional title. Within the span of a couple of seconds, the Central Indiana wrestling world was turned upside down by an unfortunate spladle, and we are both blessed and cursed with this unreal ticket round match. Chastain is a returning semistate champ and state placer, and very nearly knocked off super-stud Zach Davis at state. McKinney has been snake-bitten a little bit in his first three years, but has all the tools to make a deep run at state, if he can get by Chastain. Both are battle-tested, both are very talented and possess strong defensive abilities. This is as good or better than most of the potential finals matchups we will see at New Castle...but what a bummer for the loser.
      1st round picks:
      Smith over Ellis
      Buck over Estes
      Napier over Lazzara
      Eldred over Pace
      Chastain over Lane
      McKinney over Stewart
      Bowers over Douglass
      Vaughn over Kitko
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Chastain, Eldred, Smith, Vaughn
      The Alpha Dog:
      Jack Chastain
      While six ranked wrestlers are among the field on Saturday at 138, the spotlight will be on #1 Brandon James and defending semistate and state champion, #2 Tommy Cash. I don't know if there are any other potential #1 vs. #2 matchups at any of the other semistates, but this one is about as good as Indiana high school wrestling gets. In fact, there's a very good shot that we will see the match one more time, under the lights at Bankers Life. James, an Old Dominion recruit, is highly decorated nationally, while Cash has been clutch as clutch can be in-state. A little overshadowed by the massive specter of these two senior standouts is undefeated senior Keegan Stansberry. He has looked as strong as you would expect from someone who is 34-0 while wrestling the difficult Royals' schedule. Joining these three impressive seniors could be Nathan Boggs, who will have to get by either Connor Moore or Zach Simpson to advance and join the illustrious New Castle 138 State Club.
      Last year's champ: Tommy Cash, Lawrence North
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #1 Brandon James, Perry Meridian (Nationally, #9 @138 Intermat, #9 AWN, #11 TOM)
      #2 Tommy Cash, Lawrence North
      #6 Keegan Stansberry, Hamilton Southeastern
      #8 Adam Timberman, New Palestine
      #15 Nathan Boggs, South Dearborn
      Feature matchups:
      #15 Boggs vs. Zach Simpson, Triton Central/Connor Moore, Southmont (Ticket round) – Boggs must first get by a 34-12 Tyler Hoel of Elwood. I'm sure Boggs hasn't forgotten that he was upset by an Elwood wrestler, Dakota Cole, in the opening round last year as a top seed. Assuming he does get by Hoel, he will have a tough ticket match with either the senior Simpson or the junior Moore. Boggs is a slight favorite over either of them, but this quartet could provide one of those 'surprise' state qualifiers.
      #2 Cash vs. #9 Timberman (Ticket round) – Is it just me, or do the New Castle seeding gods seem especially vicious this year? While every year provides some exciting but painful ticket matches, this is one of what seems like an inordinate number of high-profile, borderline wasteful ticket round matches at New Castle. I know it's a random draw, but it seems like a lot of the very best kids in the semistate are doomed to be spectators at Bankers Life. Ok, I'm done ranting, but I think Cash has a little too much for the very tough Timberman. I will be shocked if anything prevents a Cash/James showdown in the finals.
      #2 Cash vs. #1 James (Finals) – Fargo All-American and three-time state placer James is looking for gold this year, and it's hard to see anyone at 138 who can stop him....besides Tommy Cash. While James soundly beat Cash earlier this year, there's no doubt that Cash will be ready for the Perry standout in the finals. While each wants to win this weekend, they know that the biggest match is lurking a week later, and it's very possible it will be one of the most anticipated of all the state finals' matches. I give James a slight advantage, but I can see Cash closing the margin significantly.
      1st round picks:
      Boggs over Hoel
      Moore over Simpson
      Cash over Hawk
      Timberman over Smith
      James over Kern
      Smith over Marsh
      Stansberry over Waugh
      White over Negangard
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      James, Cash, Stansberry, Boggs
      The Alpha Dog:
      Brandon James
      Two former state qualifiers, Smiley and Pruitt, lead a solid and deep group at 145. Like 132, there are a number of possible champions, including Pruitt, Smiley, Warren and Bane. Pruitt had a superior performance at last year's semistate: fall, fall, fall, loss to Cash by 1 point. It's that bit of history, plus his impressive regional title, that puts him at the top of the class for me. However, the freshman Warren seems to be peaking, Smiley has wrestled everyone and their mother for 4 years, and Bane and Oyler are wild-cards of a sort in this field. I'm often wrong, but I'll be surprised if the champ doesn't come out of the Perry Meridian regional.
      Last year's champ: Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Evan Smiley, Beech Grove
      #6 Trent Pruitt, Warren Central
      #8 Noah Warren, Perry Meridian
      #12 Adam Oyler, Lawrenceburg
      #17 Mason Gaines, Fishers
      #18 Alston Bane, Richmond
      Feature matchups:
      #6 Pruitt vs. Clayton Cowan, Hamilton Heights/Matt Kern, Zionsville (Ticket round) – While I expect Kern to be the matchup in this scenario, he's had a bit of an up and down senior year. When he's on, he's dangerous, and Pruitt would be well served not to overlook him in a potential ticket match.
      #18 Bane vs. Stephen Kitko, Noblesville (Ticket round) – Kitko has to get by 28-6 Collin Strange, but if he pulls that off, he is a very tough out for the sophomore Bane. Kitko has been in this position before. In fact, last year, he was a ticket rounder. He will be desperate to cap his career with a state berth, so this match could provide an upset if Kitko is on his A game.
      #17 Gaines vs. #8 Warren (Ticket round) – Yet another nasty ticket match, this time featuring a seasoned senior and a hungry freshman. Warren has more big wins this year, but Gaines has looked pretty dominant thus far in the postseason.
      Derrick Motley, North Central vs. Wayne Highfield, Southmont (Opening round) – Motley appears to have hit the gas in the postseason, while Highfield was not at his best at regionals. Highfield has been in a lot of big matches during his four years, and is more than capable of pulling the 'upset' over Motley.
      #4 Smiley vs. #12 Oyler (Opening round) – Smiley is a tough nut to crack, and isn't easy pickings for anyone at this weight. Oyler would've really benefitted from winning his regional, as, even if he can somehow get by Smiley, he still has Motley or Highfield waiting in the ticket round. Senior vs. senior, #12 vs. #4. I like Smiley by a close margin.
      #6 Pruitt vs. #18 Bane (Semifinal round) – Assuming seeds hold, which admittedly is pretty risky, these two studs will meet to decide one finalist. Each youngster enters semistate with just 2 losses and at least 35 wins. Pruitt looked very comfortable here last year, while Bane came up just short of a scarce freshman state qualification in a middle weight. I think Pruitt's experience and superior schedule pays off against the coach's son Bane.
      #4 Smiley vs. #8 Warren (Semifinal round) – Warren must get by the tough senior Gaines, and Smiley has two really tough obstacles to overcome to make this matchup a reality. Warren really seemed to handle Smiley last weekend, and the senior must bounce back with verve to pay Warren back.
      #6 Pruitt/#18 Bane vs. #4 Smiley/#8 Warren – Yes, I know this weight class is getting ridiculous, with basically every other match a 'feature matchup'. However, a neutral observer would be forced to admit that this is an intriguing set of competitors and potential matchups. Personally, I think it will be Pruitt vs. Warren for the coveted #1 seed heading into Bankers Life. I think Pruitt finally gets his semistate crown, although it's not tough to envision the super-frosh making a statement and heading to state on a roll.
      1st round picks:
      Pruitt over Burelison
      Kern over Cowan
      Bane over Stocker
      Kitko over Strange
      Gaines over Shade
      Warren over Lane
      Motley over Highfield
      Smiley over Oyler
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Pruitt, Warren, Smiley, Bane
      The Alpha Dog:
      Trent Pruitt
      Just like last year, this is one of the most wide-open weight classes at New Castle. While there are five ranked wrestlers here (#17 Travis Gibson of Greenfield-Central was upset at regionals), there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut favorite, although in another weird New Castle twist, the two highest rated wrestlers would meet in the semis and not the finals. While the winner of Johnson/VanCamp would appear to be a substantial favorite in the finals, the other two qualification spots are pretty wide-open.
      Last year's champ: Chance Brown, Southmont
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #5 Brett Johnson, Perry Meridian
      #6 Kellen VanCamp, Lebanon
      #14 Derek Noon, Noblesville
      #19 Dominic Herrick, Warren Central
      #20 Tanner Webster, North Montgomery
      Feature matchups:
      #5 Johnson vs. Isaiah Michaels, Centerville (Ticket round) – Obviously, Johnson is the favorite, with his single loss, state qualification experience and overall Perry Meridian pedigree, but Michaels is a very impressive 38-2. It would be understandable for Johnson to be looking ahead to a matchup with #6 VanCamp, but that could be dangerous against the Centerville junior.
      #19 Herrick vs. #20 Webster (Opening round) – Deja vu, all over again. These two met last season in the opening round, with Webster the 2 seed and Herrick the 3 seed. Herrick came out on top by decision, but fell just short in his subsequent ticket match. It was close last year, and I expect it to be close again this year. The winner isn't through the woods, though, as one-loss Derek Noon awaits in the ticket round.
      Tarpeh Walker, Pike vs. Corbin Gregg, Hamilton Southeastern (Opening round) – This isn't a match that jumps off the page, like some of the other matches featuring two opponents with gaudy W/L records. However, Walker was very competitive in the first two rounds of the postseason against some pretty tough customers, and Gregg is sneaky-good. The winner of this one could certainly pull a ticket round 'upset'.
      #14 Noon vs. #19 Herrick/#20 Webster (Ticket round) – Two of these three ranked studs are going home, but in Noon's case, it's his last go-round. Will that senior desperation propel him to the breakthrough ticket win he's been working for?
      Charlie Hill, Lawrenceburg vs. Walker/Gregg (Ticket round) – These 3 are pretty evenly matched, but Hill is a slight favorite with his past postseason success and his regional championship.
      #5 Johnson vs. #6 VanCamp (Semifinal round) – This is clearly the biggest match of the entire bracket, and it's unfortunate that it should take place in the semis. Let's look at the numerous similarities: both have one loss, both are ranked in the top-6, both have been to Bankers Life, both have wrestled a tough schedule. As I see it, the one difference is Johnson has a few more high quality wins. The winner of this match should be the top seed heading into the State meet.
      1st round picks:
      VanCamp over Johnson
      Carrender over Espedilla
      Johnson over Frazee
      Michaels over Bagwell
      Noon over Doherty
      Herrick over Webster
      Hill over Steele
      Gregg over Walker
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Johnson, Noon, VanCamp, Hill
      The Alpha Dog:
      Brett Johnson
      Another weight class, another 5 ranked competitors. While there are a number of toss-up matches in other weight classes, there is a real sense of the unknown at this weight class, outside of the rock-steady Colton Gonzalez. 3 of the ranked wrestlers in this group lost their regionals to unranked opponents, with Briggeman and Archer finishing 3rd, and Young finishing a disappointing 4th. However, year in and out, we see wrestlers 'soil the proverbial bed' at regionals, and come back with a vengeance at semistate. While Gonzalez is as close to a lock as there is at this weight, the other 3 spots are very much up for grabs.
      Last year's champ: Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Colton Gonzalez, Connersville
      #8 Ethan Briggeman, Ritter
      #14 Jesse Archer, North Montgomery
      #16 Travis Gooding, Pendleton Heights
      #19 DeRon Young, Franklin Central
      Feature matchups:
      #16 Gooding vs. #19 Young (Opening round) – The result of this match may depend on whether we see the sectional version of Young or the regional version of Young. That's not a knock on Gooding, who has impressed all season, and especially at regionals. This is a pick 'em.
      #16 Gooding/#19 Young vs. #14 Archer/Jarrod Waterman, Eastern Hancock (Ticket round) – These 4 comprise a very tough, very competitive quadrant of the bracket. All but Waterman are seniors, all have at least 33 wins and no more than 5 losses. It's a question of who wants it the most and who is 'working their stuff' at the highest level on Saturday.
      Dezmen Goddard, Warren Central/Mason Jones, Lawrence Central vs. Brandon Manning, South Dearborn/Nick Fox, Carmel (Ticket round) – This is another tough, very evenly matched foursome. Goddard is the hottest of the four, coming in with a hard-earned regional title, but each of the other three has the ability to win two matches on Saturday. Fox and Manning should be a dogfight, as Manning was ranked in the preseason and Fox is better than his record indicates.
      Evan Stambaugh, Lebanon/Billy Decker, New Castle vs. Isaac Ray, Hamilton Heights/Garrett Milner, Perry Meridian (Ticket round) – There simply are no 'easy outs' in this bracket, as evidenced by this additional brutal group of four. Stambaugh looked great en route to his regional title, but he's been up and down at times this season. Milner beat the ranked Young at regionals, and finished above the ranked Briggeman. Decker comes from strong wrestling bloodlines and will have the home crowd in his favor. Isaac Ray has the best record of the four.
      #4 Gonzalez vs. #8 Briggeman (Ticket round) – The unfortunate reality here is that a very highly ranked senior will go home. Briggeman has had a great career, but has been shut out of Bankers Life. Gonzalez, impressively a semistate runner-up and state placer last season at 170, might be too much for the Ritter standout to break that trend.
      1st round picks:
      Gooding over Young
      Archer over Waterman
      Goddard over Jones
      Fox over Manning
      Stambaugh over Decker
      Milner over Ray
      Gonzalez over Banks
      Briggeman over Turner
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Gonzalez, Goddard, Archer, Milner
      The Alpha Dog:
      Colton Gonzalez
      Ben Harvey and Cameron Jones appear to be the two to beat at 170. Three additional ranked wrestlers will attempt to do just that, including regional champs Cameron Nuckols and Zach Worm. While Harvey and Jones have state title pedigrees, it remains to be seen what the rest of the field is really capable of.
      Last year's champ: Jeffery Scott, Clinton Central
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Ben Harvey, Cathedral
      #6 Cameron Jones, Lawrence North
      #8 Cameron Nuckols, Greenfield-Central
      #18 Alex Ragains, Frankfort
      #19 Spencer Irick, Hamilton Southeastern
      Feature matchups:
      #8 Nuckols vs. #18 Ragains (Opening round) – Nuckols made the move down from 182 last season, which ended at semistate, and it seems to have paid off handsomely for him. The 8th-ranked senior has a tough opener against a fellow ranked 170 in Ragains. Nuckols is the favorite, but he'd better not overlook the Hot Dog junior, who has wins this season over Worm, Irick and Wray, among other notables.
      #8 Nuckols/#18 Ragains vs. #6 Jones (Ticket round) – For whatever reason, this type of rough ticket match is the norm this year at New Castle. Assuming seeds play out, Nuckols and Jones will go toe-to-toe for the elusive Golden Ticket. For a meaningless bit of 'comparison', Jones beat Dillon Jackson and Jackson edged Nuckols earlier this year. This is essentially a pick 'em, and an unfortunate end to the season for two of these three.
      #19 Irick vs. Anthony Bear, Triton Central (Ticket round) – Though not currently ranked, Bear has spent time on that list, and is a returning semistate qualifier. Irick has been a bit up and down, but has also been competing against some pretty tough competition the last few weeks. If Irick is on, he should win. If not, Bear may 'maul' him. Deep analysis, I know.
      #2 Harvey vs. #6 Jones (Final round) – These two are thinking big picture--namely, seeding at Bankers Life the following weekend. Harvey is as consistent and well-rounded as they come. Only an upset loss on Friday night last year kept him from being on the brink of becoming a four-time state placer. Jones, on the other hand, has more peaks and valleys than Harvey. He is exceedingly dangerous, as Dillon Jackson can attest. He also lost a 2-1 match to top-ranked Dylan Lydy. Harvey has to be the favorite, but Jones is lurking and capable.
      1st round picks:
      Nuckols over Ragains
      Jones over Grubb
      Worm over Marion
      Simmons over Bowling
      Orcutt over Hertenstein
      Irick over Bear
      Harvey over Roach
      Wray over Wilson
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Harvey, Jones, Irick, Worm
      The Alpha Dog:
      Ben Harvey
      This, to me, is one of the most intriguing weight classes at New Castle. There are 3 undefeated wrestlers here (all regional champs, obviously), and the other regional champ is returning state placer Jonathan Morales. At the very least, 2 'O's' must go, and it could be 3 if Morales, Stewart or Manns catches fire. By another metric, this semistate features the #4, #5, #6, #7 and #8 wrestlers in the state. In case you're counting, that's 5 of the top-8. There are four spots open. Sigh, there are no easy roads to Bankers Life.
      Last year's champ: Blake Rypel, Cathedral
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Conner James, Roncalli
      #5 Mason Parris, Lawrenceburg
      #6 Jonathan Morales, Western Boone
      #7 Robert Manns, Crawfordsville
      #8 Spencer McCool, Pendleton Heights
      #12 Ben Stewart, Cathedral
      Feature matchups:
      #8 McCool vs. #7 Manns (Opening round) – Last year at New Castle, McCool dropped a one point ticket round match and Manns a two point ticket round match. This year, only one will even get the opportunity to get to the ticket round, as they meet in another agonizing early round New Castle matchup. It's unfortunate that they're both seniors, but it is what it is, and I'm sure they will both come out guns blazing. The winner has a nice shot to advance to state.
      #4 James vs. Griffin Steffy, Lebanon/Ricky Samuels, Lawrence North (Ticket round) – James was my top pick at New Castle's 152 last year and was upended in the ticket round in a big upset. I'm sure he's agonized over that loss all year, and will be trying to take care of business this year. He's been pretty dominant this season, even more so than last year, en route to a spotless 41-0 record. Moving up 30 pounds should allow him to be a little less impacted by weight cutting, which should improve his gastank compared with last season. Steffy is no pushover; despite a fair number of losses, he's a goer and a battler and is fully capable of giving James his first loss if he's not on his toes. The exact same is true of Samuels.
      #5 Parris vs. #12 Stewart/Tanner Smith, South Vermillion (Ticket round) – Parris has been a revelation this year as a freshman, not only going undefeated thus far, but winning with bonus points and falls. The scary thing for the rest of the semistate is that he's only going to get better. He will have a large task waiting for him in the ticket round in the form of the Irish's Stewart, a ticket rounder last year or Smith, a semistate qualifier last season. Stewart especially will give a heat check for Parris. If he can win impressively over Stewart, he might take the title on Saturday.
      #6 Morales/#8 McCool-#7 Manns vs. #4 James/#5 Parris-#12 Stewart (Finals) – This unique weight class, with literally half of the best 12 in the state, should provide some high quality matches in the semis and finals. It's really impossible to predict who comes out between McCool/Morales/Manns/Parris/James/Stewart, and all I've done is taken a wild stab at it.
      1st round picks:
      Morales over Trammell
      Knox-Abbott over Orschell
      McCool over Manns
      Hoots over Clark
      James over Bugni
      Steffy over Samuels
      Parris over Kaiser
      Stewart over Smith
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      James, McCool, Morales, Parris
      The Alpha Dog:
      Conner James
      Junior Blake Rypel has been so successful thus far in his career, it seems like he's been around for 4 or 5 years. Unfortunately for his opponents, he has one more year to go after this one. A strong favorite to win it all at 195, Rypel should be in control at semistate. Rypel is very slick for a person his size, and he's been pinning his foes at a high rate this year. The race for 2nd is led by returning state qualifier Tristen Tonte, and the battles for spots 3 and 4 should be vicious and unpredictable.
      Last year's champ: Brian Wagner, New Palestine
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #1 Blake Rypel, Cathedral (Nationally #10 @ 195 Intermat, #11 AWN)
      #4 Tristen Tonte, Perry Meridian
      #6 Jake Cavins, Milan
      #10 Scott Fuller, Zionsville
      #11 Sam Hipple, Carmel
      #13 Justin Stone, Lawrence Central
      Feature matchups:
      #11 Hipple vs. #6 Cavins (Ticket round) – Both big men were semistate qualifiers a year ago, but fell just short of nabbing a ticket. Hipple, Ed Pendoski's big gun, is rock-solid with positioning and defense and will not beat himself. He has a solid gastank and has faced a tougher level of competition this year than Cavins. That said, Cavins is the higher ranked wrestler and is, therefore, technically favored. Cavins must first deal with returning semistate qualifier Josh Torres of Franklin Central.
      Will Amberger, Batesville vs. #10 Fuller (Ticket round) – Amberger was a semistate qualifier last year, losing to Tonte in his opening match. Fuller is another in a very long line of studly Zionsville upperweights. Fuller looked better at sectional than he did at regional, but he may be due for a bounce-back effort against Amberger.
      #4 Tonte vs. #13 Stone/Nick Schaeffer, Westfield (Ticket round) – Tonte was impressive as a freshman, making it all the way to Bankers Life. He's clearly taken a step forward this season, as evidenced by his near-spotless 37-1 record. Schaeffer has been a little bit up and down, but clearly has it within him to spring an upset over Stone, a returning semistate qualifier. Tonte should have enough for either eventuality.
      1st round picks:
      Rypel over Slavens
      Burton over Guintini
      Hipple over Mayfield
      Cavins over Torres
      Amberger over Smith
      Fuller over Haire
      Tonte over Mosley
      Stone over Schaeffer
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Rypel, Tonte, Hipple, Fuller
      The Alpha Dog:
      Blake Rypel
      Five of the top-20 are represented by this year's New Castle field at 220 (could've been six if not for the late-season injury to #11 Matthew Penola), led by #3 Courvoisie Morrow, who has wrestled a murderer's row at 220. There's some real parity after Morrow and Erik Hart, led by Grable, Cooper, Stephens and Guhl. As in past seasons, this is not among the very strongest weight classes at New Castle, although it is still plenty formidable.
      Last year's champ: Dylan Faulkenburg, Ritter
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Courvoisie Morrow, Warren Central
      #13 Erik Hart, Lebanon
      #15 Ryan Guhl, Cathedral
      #17 Noah Grable, New Palestine
      #19 Jacob Cooper, Triton Central
      Feature matchups:
      #19 Cooper vs. Josh Stephens, Pendleton Heights (Opening round) – This is a really tough match to handicap, as they have roughly similar records against roughly similar competition. Cooper came into New Castle last year as a 4 seed and upset a top seed, ultimately dropping a very close ticket match. The winner gets an even bigger test in the one-loss Hart.
      #15 Guhl vs. Blake Schjoll, Perry Meridian (Opening round) – It's a little unusual to see a Perry wrestler with a 25-4 record and still unranked, but Schjoll was 4th best in his regional, whereas Guhl was regional champ. While Guhl is favored, Perry's staff is likely devising a plan to neutralize the Irish wrestler as we speak.
      #13 Hart vs. #19 Cooper/Stephens (Ticket round) – Hart has been nearly flawless all season, save for one match against the now-injured Penola. While Hart will be favored against either senior wrestler, he will certainly have his work cut out for him.
      #13 Hart vs. #3 Morrow (Finals) – Morrow has faced elite level competition all season long, and has managed to come out on top in all but two matches. Hart has a golden record, but he can't say he's faced the same sort of challenges. Hart will find out where he stands in the overall state picture after this match, if it takes place.
      1st round picks:
      Hart over Clouse
      Cooper over Stephens
      Miller over Reynolds
      Grable over Ogorek
      Guhl over Schjoll
      Martin over Dishman
      Morrow over Lucas
      Ford over Neff
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Morrow, Hart, Guhl, Grable
      The Alpha Dog:
      Courvoisie Morrow
      Returning state qualifier Nate Trawick is a solid favorite over the other 4 ranked wrestlers and the rest of the field at 285. The Richmond football standout has had a pretty dominating season thus far, dropping only one match and avenging that loss. He should win this weight, although he will be tested in the ticket round by IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open champion Chris Ridle of Perry Meridian. Jasion Brogan looks like a solid bet for 2nd, and the 3rd and 4th slots are pretty wide open.
      Last year's champ: Wesley Bernard, Cathedral
      Ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Nate Trawick, Richmond
      #8 Jasion Brogan, Warren Central
      #11 Anthony Jackson, Pike
      #14 Michael Smith, Lebanon
      #19 Chris Ridle, Perry Meridian
      Feature matchups:
      #8 Brogan vs. Clark Minges, Union County/Zach Saylor, Anderson (Ticket round) – While Brogan has had the superior regular season, Minges was one win away from state last year as a freshman. He upset a favored, higher seeded opponent from Indianapolis. Hmm...Probably not this year. If it's Saylor, also a semistate qualifier last year as a sophomore, the chances are a little more remote of pulling the upset.
      #19 Ridle vs. #3 Trawick (Ticket round) – This is a very intriguing ticket bout, but Trawick is just so physically dominant. He'll have to make a big mistake that Ridle capitalizes on in order to drop this one.
      #11 Jackson vs. #14 Smith (Opening round) – Smith has had a fine season, but seems to have a matchup problem with Hobick. Jackson has also had a fine season, but has had the misfortune of facing Stormin' Norman Oglesby more than once. Smith is a very nimble heavy, and if he can avoid being put on his back, he could pull this one out with a superior gastank.
      1st round picks:
      Hobick over Ewers
      Phifer over Smith
      Brogan over Bean
      Minges over Saylor
      Trawick over Kessler
      Ridle over Williams
      Samuels over Selm
      Smith over Jackson
      Dingo's picks to advance, in order:
      Trawick, Brogan, Hobick, Smith
      The Alpha Dog:
      Nate Trawick

      7555 17

      2015 Merrillville Semi-State Preview

      By Chad Hollenbaugh
      IndianaMat Senior Writer
      From Lake Station to Logansport, from Lowell to LaVille, the northwest quadrant of the state’s finest wrestlers will congregate in the gym at Merrillville High School to determine the fifty-six athletes that will qualify for the big show. The team race should be dominated by Penn, Portage and Merrillville. Crown Point could add some spice into the team race if they have an outstanding day.
      The bracket gods started off by playing a cruel joke on regional champ Kory Cavanaugh of Penn. The 15th ranked 106 pounder in the state got put in the same quarter bracket with #13 Collin Poynter of Portage and #11 Alex Bautista from Hanover Central. Poynter and Baustista meet right off the bat in the second match of the morning. The winner will likely have Cavanaugh in the the ticket round. Cavanaugh has a narrow win over Poynter but was handled by Bautista 10-1 earlier in the season. A brutal group of four no matter how you slice it.
      The second set of four is also tough as nails. One loss Jon Anderson has piled up forty-four wins and a regional championship for Lafayette Jeff. He will be severely tested in the second round where he will likely face fourteenth ranked Ian Dembowski of Valparaiso.
      The bottom half of the bracket will be low on ticket round drama but high on talent. Number one ranked Colton Cummings of Lowell and fifth ranked Tylor Triana of Hobart should cruise through the first two rounds and set up a semi final slugfest.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Alex Bautista – Hanover Central (26-5) vs. Colin Poynter – Portage (32-6).
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Jon Anderson – Lafayette Jeff (44-1) vs. Ian Dembowki – Valpo (39-6).
      FAB FOUR

      Cummings – Lowell
      Poynter – Portage
      Triana – Hobart
      Dembowski - Valpo

      The top half of the 113 bracket also appears to hold the greatest amount of early round drama while the bottom half seems to be more settled. Third ranked and undefeated Drew Hildebrandt from Penn should cruise to finals and be marginally tested in the semis by Rickie Rodriguez of Hammond Morton. The Kingman pinned the Governor earlier in the season. The top half features some interesting early round matches. Munster’s Cody Crary, Culver Academy’s Adam Davis and Lafayette Jeff’s Dustin Miller will battle it out in the top quarter while Crown Point’s John Moran and Merrillville’s Michael DeLaPena will likely reprise their Duneland Conference rivalry in the ticket round.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Cody Crary – Munster (38-7) vs. Adam Davis – Culver Academy (31-6). Two talented frosh meet for the right to battle Miller in the quarterfinals.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Austin Line – Valpo (32-8) vs. Rickie Rodriguez – Hammond Morton (31-2). Two seasoned veterans look for spot in state finals.
      FAB FOUR
      Hildebrandt – Penn
      DeLaPena – Merrillville
      Rodriguez – Morton
      Miller – Lafayette Jeff

      This 120 class might be one of the most evenly matched and exciting to watch this Saturday. Great storylines, state ranked wrestlers and tough match ups are littered throughout this bracket. Returning state champ Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith finished second at his regional in one of this year’s best rivalries with Hobart’s Brendan Black. Reitz is the definition of a death draw to regional champ Jack Tolin of Chesterton. Returning state placer Kyle Hatch of Warsaw will have his hands full with Portage’s conference champion Miguel Prado. Hobart’s Brendan Black and South Bend Clay’s Jake Hartman will probably face off in the ticket round. The final ticket punched in this bracket is a real toss up with Rensselaer Central’s one loss regional champ Brady White squaring off with the winner of Mishawaka’s Ryan Hardesty and Crown Point’s Austin Torres.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Ryan Hardesty – Mishawaka (29-7) vs. Austin Torres – Crown Point (25-7). Studs from two tradition rich programs should provide early fireworks.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Brendan Black – Hobart (26-3) vs. Jake Hartman – South Bend Clay (43-1). Hartman suffered his first lost of the season at regionals and will be extra focused in his last attempt to wrestle in Indy.
      FAB FOUR
      Reitz – Griffith
      Hartman – South Bend Clay
      Hatch – Warsaw
      Torres – Crown Point

      The sale of Pepto Bismol reached an all time high last Saturday as upsets were occurring all over the place. This put the 126 bracket at Merrillville in jumbled mess. It is quite possible that no regional champs will move onto Bankers Life next week. Wawasee’s Tristan Ponsler got toppled at regional and now has a likely ticket round match with the red hot Branden Truver. In the second quarter bracket, Plymouth’s Cody Allmon is in a great situation to earn his second trip to state. On the bottom half of the slate, Rochester’s John Hunting got the death card dealt to him when Truver upset second ranked Gaige Torres of Portage. Munster’s talented Jason Crary is the clear favorite in final set of four and has a major decision win over regional champ and likely ticket round foe Tristan Dembowski.
      FIRST ROUND FISTCUFFS – Zac Wells – LaPorte (23-9) vs. Tristan Ponsler – Wawasee (40-2). Ponsler looks to rebound and Wells is wrestling very well right now.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Cody Allmon – Plymouth (30-8) vs. John Ragan – Delphi (31-9). Allmon looks to topple a fairly unheralded regional champ in Ragan.
      FAB FOUR
      Torres – Portage
      Truver – Lake Central
      Crary – Munster
      Allmon – Plymouth

      The 132 weight class lacks wrestlers with many state-wide credentials and that makes it very difficult to handicap. Tippy Valley’s Devin Childers has state experience but must get through the top ranked kid in the bracket. Crown Point’s Zach Donaldson. Benton Central regional champ Blake Strawsma has a great chance to break through to the state level. Portage’s Tyler Joseph must deal with the funky Austen Laughlin early on Saturday and will likely run into Bremen’s Joey Bailey in the semi finals.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Tyler Joseph – Portage (25-6) vs. Austen Laughlin – South Bend Riley (42-6). The physical Joseph and the lanky Laughlin should present an interesting style match up.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Devin Childers – Tippy Valley (39-2) vs. Zach Donaldson – Crown Point (33-2). Two senior studs meet up in the ticket round.
      FAB FOUR
      Donaldson – Crown Point
      Joseph – Portage
      Strawsma – Benton Central
      Bailey - Bremen

      Merrillville’s Clarence Johnson looks to be the front runner at 138 largely on strength of his major decision win over Riley Akers in the Duneland conference championship. Akers is the likely survivor of the second quarter bracket. Penn’s cagey Cameron Beam is the Jason Tsirtsis of this bracket. Three straight close wins put the Kingman in great shape to advance to Indy. The last quarter bracket has possibly the most compelling potential ticket round match where Logan champ Cole Lukaszka should square off with Culver Community’s Triston Rodriguez.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Tarvis Evans – South Bend Adams (29-8) vs. Diego Lemley – Chesterton (30-8). The long and athletic Evans faces talented frosh Lemley in this battle of third(Lemley) and fifth(Evans) placers at the Al Smith.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Cole Lukaszka – Benton Central (39-1) vs. Triston Rodriguez – Culver Community (35-2).
      FAB FOUR
      Johnson – Merrillville
      Akers – Crown Point
      Lukaszka – Benton Central
      Beam - Penn

      After looking over this bracket, it appears that there are pretty strong favorites in each of the quarter brackets. The fact that the first and third ranked kids in the state are from the same regional means that someone got the death draw and Logansport senior Ryan Schrock drew the short straw and will likely face Steven “Bam” Lawrence in the ticket round. Lawrence will likely face South Bend Adams talented Tavonte Malone in the semis. The other side of the bracket is dominated by Merrillville junior and last years state runner up, Jacob Covaciu. Crown Point’s Daylan Schurg will probably face South Bend Riley’s Kassius Breathitt in an entertaining ticket round match.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Ryan Schrock – Logansport (37-3) vs. Dustin Hochstetler – Penn (25-13). Don’t let the thirteen losses by Hochstetler fool you, he will give regional champ Schrock all he wants.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Daylan Schurg – Crown Point (33-5) vs. Kassius Breathitt – South Bend Riley (40-9). The contrast in styles should make for an exciting match. If the match is boring look for Breathitt’s dad giving a loud play by play account of the action.
      FAB FOUR
      Covaciu – Merrillville
      Lawrence – Portage
      Schurg – Crown Point
      Malone – South Bend Adams

      One young man clearly stands above the rest of the field at 152. Mishawaka’s Tommy Forte should cruise to a semi state crown on Saturday. The University of Buffalo bound senior is looking healthy and ready to win a second state title. The rest of the field contains four serious contenders for the remaining three tickets to Indy. Mike Krzyston will like make his second trip to Indy for the 59ers. Lake Central’s Kodie Christenson has wins over higher ranked kids in this bracket and a relatively easy quarter bracket to navigate. That leaves one spot left and it will likely be battled for by Lafayette Harrison’s Connor Armuth and Penn’s Jarrod Swank. Swank is ranked forth and has a slim overtime win over the ninth ranked Armuth five weeks ago on his ledger. It is the only loss on an otherwise spotless record for Armuth.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Brendan Makowski – South Bend St. Joseph (20-14) vs. Oszkar Kasch – Crown Point (18-7).
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Jarod Swank – Penn (29-4) vs. Connor Armuth – Lafayette Harrison (50-1). The margin is razor thin for these two titans. This will be one of the very best ticket round battles.
      FAB FOUR
      Forte – Mishawaka
      Swank – Penn
      Christenson – Lake Central
      Krzyton – Andrean

      Scary. Anyone looking at the bottom half of the 160 bracket at Merrillville has to cringe at prospect of trying to survive and advance this group of eight. Five of the state’s top ten are in this bracket and four of them are located in the bottom half. In the top half of the bracket, Lowell’s Drew Hughes should make short work of his opponents on his way to his third semi state crown. The second set of four is wide open. Regional champ Parker Fritz of West Central must defeat dangerous foes if he wishes to return to the state finals. Now the bottom half has returning state runner up and third ranked Darden Schurg of Crown Point in a probable match up with Hobart hammer Scottie Sopko who is ranked fifth. The other quarter bracket is not much easier as seventh ranked Adam Dodson of John Glenn will go to war with ninth ranked Denzyl Prentice of Penn. Scary depth at this class.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Evan Larsen – Hanover Central (35-6) vs. Parker Fritz – West Central (32-3). Larsen is a pinner and Fritz is an outstanding athlete. Look for lots of points scored in this one.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Take your pick between the Schurg/Sopko or Prentice/Dodson matchups.
      FAB FOUR
      Hughes – Lowell
      Prentice – Penn
      Schurg – Crown Point
      Goering – South Bend Riley

      Three of the four quarter brackets look to have fairly strong frontrunners. Penn’s Joey Mammolenti is the top dog here. He is undefeated at this weight and has wins over many of the other contenders. Undefeated Hunter Mote will attempt to keep the streak of Delphi state qualifiers alive while Lowell’s third regional champ, Isaac James will look to qualify for the first time. Hammond Morton upstart Andrew Key won the Calumet regional but he will likely be tested by LaVille’s gritty Ben Norton.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Ben Norton – LaVille (29-5) vs. Nate Spangle – Triton (35-4). Two small school studs will face off for the right to get to the ticket round.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Isaac James – Lowell (31-4) vs. Ismael Cornejo – Portage (26-6). Expect a physical brawl in this matchup. This might be a preview of the championship next year.
      FAB FOUR
      Mammolenti – Penn
      Mote – Delphi
      James – Lowell
      Norton – LaVille

      Penn’s Chase Osborn has gone wire to wire so far as the state’s top ranked 182 wrestler. He has been tested a couple of time by fellow regional champs Andrew Davison of Chesterton and Jake Kleimola of Lake Central. A finals match between Osborn and Davison would be one of the highlights of day. The final spot in Indy will like come down to a ticket round match up between Winamac’s Gage Garpow and Portage’s Alex Guerrero. Garpow has a fine record but Guerrero wrestles one of the state’s toughest schedules.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Jeremy Splix – Plymouth (31-6) vs. Daniel Wright – Lafayette Harrison (48-3). Wright is a returning state qualifier who was upset in the regional finals. Splix is a fast improving junior for Bob Read’s Rockies.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Gage Garpow – Winamac (34-2) vs. Alex Guerrero – Portage (30-6). Will it be the Warrior or the Indian that comes out on top? Expect a tight low scoring six minuts.
      FAB FOUR
      Davison – Chesterton
      Osborn – Penn
      Kleimola – Lake Central
      Guerrero – Portage

      Upsets at regionals make the 195 class another one that is tough to predict. It also makes for many very interesting match ups in the first two rounds. The bracket gods continue to be nice Coach Vega and the Portage squad. Fourth place at regional has put senior Indian Matt Hedrick in a quarter bracket with a regional champ that he majored earlier in the year. Hedrick did injury default at regional so hopefully he gets healthy by Saturday. Calumet’s burly Nick Fowler has taken on all comers in the region and is still undefeated. One point separated Merrillville’s Jarius Perry and Mishawaka’s Tanner Bradley at the Al Smith so their ticket round battle is likely to be tight.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – John Bigbie – Lowell (31-7) vs. Matt Hedrick – Portage (23-6).
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Tanner Bradley – Mishawaka (23-3) vs. Jarius Perry – Merrillville (32-3). Bradley is wrestling with a lot of confidence after is first period pin of Wes Beck at regional.
      FAB FOUR
      Fowler – Calumet
      Perry – Merrillville
      Hedrick – Portage
      Kidwell – West Lafayette

      Gelen Robinson has graduated so this class is an open shot for new blood to rise to the top. The new king of hill will likely be either Penn’s Kobe Woods or Crown Point’s Morgan Kral. Woods has remain unscathed on the season and is the state’s top ranked grappler in this class. Kral is the fourth ranked wrestler and has a lone loss on his record. Duneland rivals Alex Kukurugya of Valpo and Brandon Majewski of Portage will be likely opponents in the top quarter bracket. Lafayette Harrison’s Seth Meyer looks to make his third trip to the big dance in the final quarter bracket.
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Jesus Lowe – Bishop Noll (35-4) vs. Andrew Brock – Warsaw (33-9). While either is unlikely to knock of Kral, this should be a nice battle.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Alex Kukurugya – Valpo (38-9) vs. Brandon Majewski – Portage (28-6). Can Kukurugya solve the Majewski puzzle?
      FAB FOUR
      Woods – Penn
      Kral – Crown Point
      Majewski – Portage
      Meyer – Lafayette Harrison

      Merrillville’s top ranked Shawn Streck is head and shoulders above the rest of the heavyweight crowd. Nothing less than a state title will satisfy Big Purple. I expect the rest of the bracket to hold chalk with regional champs winning and punching their ticket to state. Valpo’s Ian Suttles is a little undersized but is a superior athlete. Mammoth Cody Christman from Penn will finalize the strong Kingmen crowd at state. The final slot should be manned by Lafayette Harrison strongman
      FIRST ROUND FISTICUFFS – Andrew Hansen – John Glenn (28-6) vs. Brian Shaw – South Bend Riley (26-10). Riley wrestlers are always entertaining to watch and Shaw will work relentlessly to jack up big man Hansen and try to throw him.
      TOP TICKET ROUND TILT – Michael Kern – Lafayette Harrison (47-4) vs. Jordan Shafer – Rochester (36-5). Will the athletic Shafer be able to withstand the pressure of the burly Kern.
      FAB FOUR

      Streck – Merrillville
      Christman – Penn
      Suttles – Valpo
      Kern – Harrison

      Penn – 8
      Portage – 7
      Crown Point - 6
      Merrillville – 5
      Lowell – 3
      Lake Central - 3
      Benton Central – 2
      Lafayette Harrison - 2
      Valparaiso – 2
      Bremen - 1
      Calumet – 1
      Chesterton - 1
      Griffith – 1
      Warsaw – 1
      West Lafayette – 1
      Hammond Morton – 1
      South Bend Clay – 1
      Hobart – 1
      Lafayette Jeff – 1
      Munster – 1
      Plymouth – 1
      South Bend Adams – 1
      Andrean – 1
      Delphi – 1
      South Bend Riley – 1
      LaVille – 1
      Mishawaka - 1


      Carroll Regional Preview

      Link to the brackets
      Team Race
      This could be the easiest prediction of the whole regional, the host Chargers will keep the regional faceplate for the third straight year. They bring in 13 wrestlers with 11 of them having a higher “seed,” while the next biggest contingents are Leo and Huntington North with 9 and Columbia City and Snider with 8. Baring any catastrophic event the team race will be well and decided after the first round.
      SAC rivals Geoffrey Davis of Wayne and Ben Streeter of North Side are on a collision path once again. Davis won the SAC title match 13-6, but this one is more important as it will make the path to state a little easier. Get to the Carroll Fieldhouse early on Saturday as the 2 vs. 3 match-ups at this weight will be great with freshman Joe Just of Carroll going against sophomore gage Malott of Bishop Luers and a battle of freshmen between Leo’s Sam Richard and Garrett’s Brayden Shearer.
      Jack Franklin won a regional title last year at 106lbs and comes in with only one blemish on his record. He looks to be the favorite, while Carroll Sectional champion Joel Byman will need to navigate the rest of the field to meet him for the fifth time this year.
      This is probably the most anticipated weight class of the regional with three ranked wrestlers battling it out. Eddie Loraine, Hunter Langeloh, and Ben Cauffman all know the importance of being a regional champion in order to make the trip to the state finals. All three also are exciting and fun to watch, which will make for some high scoring matches. Dylan Demarco vs. Kyle Rothgeb will be a good first round match to keep your eye on.
      This is a weight you don’t want to miss either. Owen Doster is having a great season so far, but he cannot overlook solid opponents like Brandon Miller, Kobe Raypole, Drake Rhodes or Nik Hoot. Don’t be deceived by Rhodes’ 12 losses, he had a close 3-2 match with Doster just last week.
      This weight will be led by Columbia City senior Kyle Egolf. After having an injury shortened junior year, he has been on top of his game this year with only two losses. He could face a solid Ryan Shaffer of New Haven in the finals or another NHC nemesis Joel Arney of the host Chargers.
      While the Carroll sectional had a surprised 3 seed win the crown last week, at New Haven Isaac Eicher made quick work of his competition. He comes into the Carroll Fieldhouse without a loss for the second straight year. He will have some formidable foes looking to be the first to knock him off including super turtle Chase Downing and a pair of NHC rivals Nathan Smith of Columbia City and Joe Israbian of Carroll.
      Tanner Shipley is looking for his second regional title this year after finishing second as a junior. He will need to be on top of his game from the start. The bottom half of the bracket will be fun to watch as there should be good matches from the start of the day. Kyle Leland of Homestead has had a great second half of the season and North Side’s Logan Capps won a solid weight at the Carroll sectional last week.
      Carroll’s Josh Garman is looking for his second straight regional title at this weight and comes in without a loss. He could run into a solid Archer in Nate Garcia or NHC and sectional foe Cross Dietrich in the finals. Dietrich has a tough first round match against last year’s 145lbs regional runner-up Bailey Shockome of Huntington North.
      This weight is led by Bulldog Nick Potter who comes in battle tested. He will have to get through Carroll sectional champion Erick Loe if he wants to bring back a championship. One first round match to watch is Snider’s Jamison Stiebeling against Eastside’s Gage Delong. Don’t be surprised if the winner of this match ends up in the finals either.
      The Carroll sectional was stacked at this weight and it should show on Saturday. Cadet superstar Zach Davis comes in without a blemish on his record, but needed an extra stanza to get by Churubusco’s Caleb Partin. Don’t sleep on red hot Jacob Lay of Homestead who won sectional with a losing record out of the three seed.
      This will be one of the better weights to watch in the first round with three good matches that are all toss-ups. First Homestead’s Wyatt Clem cannot overlook Beck Davis of Garrett, who has shown he can battle with the better kids at the weight. Wally Grinager of Leo and Stephan Nix of Bishop Dwenger will square off in a match that is too close to call. Lastly, Russell Davies of Snider will battle Whitko’s Zach Baughman in the first round. If everything plays out by the seeds, you could see the 3rd match in four weeks between Carroll’s Kayne Duncan and Clem in the finals.
      The highlight of this weight could be Davis vs. Dunten III. So far Dunten has won two nailbiters in both the dual and sectional matches. However, neither can overlook the likes of returning state qualifier Tristin Anglin or guys like Mikey Rivera and Trevor Thomas.
      Blake Davis of Garrett seems to be the top wrestler here, but was pushed hard last week by Carroll’s Ammon Carr. This weight has many potential landmines as everyone comes in with solid records. Woodlan’s Edwin Barberena is a wildcard as he comes in relatively unknown with only three losses. Also you cannot overlook Layne Emery from Huntington North who won the New Haven sectional.
      The top three wrestlers at this weight come in with a combined 6 losses. This weight will feature a few size disadvantages as Columbia City’s Drew Cummings tips the scales at around 280lbs, while Bishop Luers’ Daemen Williams is around the 220 mark. Snider’s Matt Swartz is right in between and can wrestle with the best. This weight will be very interesting to watch as we will see the different styles and body types collide.


      Jay County Regional Preview

      Jay County Regional spectators should be in for a day of top-notch wrestling as seventeen state ranked wrestlers toe the line this Saturday. Along with the seventeen ranked state ranked wrestlers, there are PLENTY more wrestlers ranked in the Fort Wayne Semi-State rankings.
      106: The excitement starts early as the day should start off with two state ranked wrestlers toeing the line for the championship. South Adams freshman Wyatt Miller (#19) will face Yorktown’s freshman Christian Hunt (#8), there are only 3 losses between the two wrestlers. Other wrestlers looking to advance on are Adam Central’s Nick Liter, Union City’s Max Harris, and Muncie Central’s Brandon Wills.
      113: Fans don’t have to wait to the finals for excitement in this weight class as there should be two great semi-final match ups. All eyes will be on Yorktown’s Josh Stephenson (#13) as he battles Bellmont’s Mason Mendez (#20). On the other side of the bracket we should see South Adams' Briar Goodwin battle Adams Central’s Anthony Mosser, who has been red hot lately. After that action expect more in an anticipated final.
      120: South Adams' (#2) Sawyer Miller leads the field in yet another very competitive weight class. Expect a nail bitter in the semis as Jon Becker of Bellmont battles the powerful freshmen of Yorktown, Colt Rutter.
      126: Only three points separated these two hammers last time they met up. Look for a finals match of Bellmont’s Daniel Gunsett and Yorktown’s Remington Hiestand. The next spots will be for whoever is on.
      132: They’ve met twice, and they will probably meet again. Yorktown’s Jacob Stephenson (#16) will look to avenge two earlier losses to Delta’s Sage Coy (#14). My hopes are high for this one. Dallas Dudelston of Jay County will look to continue his hot streak and finish a strong third.
      138: Wrestlers won’t be laughing after wrestling Brad Laughlin. The Tiger is currently ranked 7th in state. Laughlin not finishing first would be a GIANT upset, second through fourth is up for grabs.
      145: Adam Central’s Bates has been atop the podium the past two weeks, but to get there again he will have his hands full, really, really full. The terrific Tiger Cael McCormick has only suffered one loss this season and is currently ranked 2nd in the state. Also look for an intense 3rd and 4th place match between two seniors, Bellmont’s Joe Becker and Southern Well’s Daniel Beeks.
      152: This weight class could be as unpredictable as Indiana’s weather and as even as the number two. Yorktown’s Dru Berkebile, Bellmont’s Brad Busse, and the Raider’s TC Perry are all title competitors. Throw Jay County’s Tyler Leonard in the mix and you have an interesting weight class.
      160: He is currently unbeaten, but Delta’s Jacob Gray (#13) will be tested, not once, but maybe twice this Saturday. Adams Central’s Luke Liter has shown he can score on the best and will battle Gray in the semis. The winner will take on 10th ranked Bryce Baumgartner of Bellmont.
      170: Oh boy, thinking about this finals match already has me on the edge of my seat. A battle of two top ten ranked grapplers. Yorktown’s Dillon Jackson (#4) will look to avenge an early season loss to Adam Central’s Kaine Luginbill (#7). This is a match between two highly explosive wrestlers. Look for Bellmont’s Brett Baker to be in the mix.
      182: Another weight class loaded with solid wrestlers, this weight class could simply come down to who is on this Saturday. At the head of the class is, Y-Town’s Hunter Hiestand, Jay County’s Andy Kohler. Close behind are Union City’s Charlie Baron, and Daleville’s Corbin Maddox.
      195: Currently ranked 3rd in the state, if anyone scores a point on Yorktown’s Myron Howard-Anderson I will call that an upset. The next best are Bellmont’s Carter Friedt and Delta’s Scottie Evans.
      220: Another highly competitive weight class, 220 should be a fun one. Lead by Winchester’s Dustyn Hangen, the senior only has a one loss on the season. Union City’s Jesus Ulloa and Yorktown’s Noah little (who isn’t very little) will look to give him all he can handle.
      285: Spectators better make sure they don’t leave early, as some of the better heavies in the Fort Wayne Semi-State will battle it out. Currently ranked 19th in the state, Adam Central’s Isiah Bollenbacher will be tested by Yorktown’s small, but powerful Dax Hiestand. Bollenbacher will also be tested in the semi’s by Kaiser Phillips of Monroe Central, the senior is currently 29-4.


      North Montgomery Regional Preview (Dingo style)

      North Montgomery Regional Preview
      #2 Klayton Anderson (#9 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) is a very large, very long lightweight. He uses his frame to brutalize his opponents when he's on top. At the Zionsville sectional, he rode a game Alexander Strueder for what seemed like the entire match. Picture a praying mantis toying with its prey. There doesn't appear to be anyone in this regional quite on his level, and he won't be truly tested until New Castle. The true battle is for second place, which should come down to Grino vs. Strueder. While Strueder was impressive at sectionals, Grino has wrestled some of the very best in the weight class, is a returning semistate qualifier, and ranked opponents account for 4 of his 5 losses. I give the edge to Grino, with Strueder battling the lanky Mennen for 3rd.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #2 Klayton Anderson, HSE
      2. Alex Grino, Southmont
      3. Alexander Strueder, Fishers
      4. Colton Mennen, Clinton Central
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Grino vs. Strueder should be very competitive. While Grino has the superior record against possibly tougher competition, Strueder impressed at Zionsville and appears to be peaking at the right time.
      Upset alert:
      Colton Mennen has the size to neutralize some of Anderson's natural advantage. He also sports a pretty impressive W/L record. Anderson is the heavy favorite, and rightfully so, but crazy things happen this time of year. That said, with Anderson's signficant high-level experience, not to mention his impressive skills, it's hard to picture him losing this weekend.
      #7 Austin Holmes (#2 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) leads the field at 113. Last year's 4th place state finisher at 113, Holmes has battled a 'who's who' of opponents this year, which accounts for his 3 losses. While this is a solid group, there's no one here who can truly push him. Two weight classes in, the Royals will almost certainly have two #1 seeds heading into New Castle. The battle for the other three spots is much more interesting. 4th seed Reid Hutson is a returning semistate qualifier, and he's faced Hubble a couple of times this year, winning both matchups. Carmel's Jerde impresssed at Zionsville, upending a very tough returning semistate qualifier in Ellis of Zionsville en route to a 2nd place finish. Look for a Jerde/Holmes rematch in the regional finals.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #7 Austin Holmes, HSE
      2. Adam Jerde, Carmel
      3. Azariah Ellis, Zionsville
      4. Reid Hutson, Westfield
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Hutson vs. top-seed Evan Hubble of Southmont in a tough opening round match. Hutson has an edge with his semistate experience, in addition to the head-to-head advantage this season. Both have faced very formidable competition all season, and this could go either way.
      Upset alert:
      Holmes is safe, but look for 4 seed Hutson to battle tooth and nail with 1 seed Hubble.
      Here's where things get interesting and pretty wide-open. #12 Zach McCoy and #13 Caleb Bocock (#6 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) lead the parade at 120, but there are some very solid kids just below the top two. McCoy and Bocock have split two decision matchups, and this potential third one has some pretty significant implications. The winner has a big advantage at New Castle. Crum, Eiteljorge and Bobeyn would love to advance, but no one wants to be a 4 seed at New Castle.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #13 Caleb Bocock, Lebanon
      2. #12 Zach McCoy, North Montgomery
      3. Jack Eiteljorge, Carmel
      4. Skylar Crum, Crawfordsville
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Bocock and McCoy should meet in what could be the match of the day. They know each other well, they're both talented and very well-coached, and they know how crucial a regional title is for State aspirations. Additionally, McCoy will be looking for atonement for last year's upset as a top seed to a 4 seed in his opening match.
      Upset alert:
      Eiteljorge had better not overlook his opening round opponent, Tanner Henry of Attica. While Attica clearly doesn't wrestle Carmel's schedule, a 29-3 record is impressive, no matter how you slice it. Similarly, #2 seed Skylar Crum might see a so-so record for Zionsville's Sam Gobeyn, but he's wrestled a very tough schedule and looked sharp this past Saturday. Lastly, McCoy's opening round match is with a 30+ win wrestler from the tough Fishers program, Caleb Wright.
      This is definitely one of the strongest weight classes of the regional, led by #14 Boone Weliever (#10 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) of Southmont and #17 Skyler Collins of Frankfort. Between them, they have 5 losses, and all are to top-10 ranked opponents. Not too far behind these two are the always tough Zachary Steele of Westfield and Morgan Pruitt of Carmel, who have split matches with each other during the season. Look for Weliever to edge Collins in a thriller. Steele and Pruitt are equally well-matched; on a hunch, I'm going with Steele.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #14 Boone Weliever, Southmont
      2. #17 Skyler Collins, Frankfort
      3. Zachary Steele, Westfield
      4. Morgan Pruitt, Carmel
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Weliever and Collins could be dynamite if it pans out. If seeds hold, Steele and Pruitt will meet yet again, and they are evenly matched and extremely well 'coached up'--a Pendoski vs. O'Neill battle.
      Upset alert:
      Weliever has to get by Steele, and Collins has to beat Pruitt to make the seeds hold. It's very possible that either Steele or Pruitt, or both, could put a wrinkle in those plans. Additionally, Weliever's opening opponent is a very tough Kody Wagner of Zionsville (28-9).
      On the heels of a loaded weight class, comes 'the' loaded weight class at North Montgomery. Hamilton Southeastern's #5 Jack Chastain (#1 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) and Westfield's #6 Evan Eldred (#4 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) lead the field by a significant amount. It would be a monumental upset if they don't meet in the finals. If they do, it will be their fourth matchup, with Chastain leading the season series 3-1. Look for Attica's Hayden Estes and either Fisher's Noah Scott or C-ville's Cameron Douglass to join the two big dogs in New Castle.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #5 Jack Chastain, HSE
      2. #6 Evan Eldred, Westfield
      3. Hayden Estes, Attica
      4. Noah Scott, Fishers
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Without a doubt, the feature matchup is last year's 5th place finisher Chastain, who very nearly upset Zach Davis, versus Fargo All-American Eldred. Both won regional titles last season, and each excels at wrestling his type of match. For the freestyle standout Eldred, that means pushing the action on his feet and trying to minimize Chastain's advantage on the mat. For Chastain, that means using his long body to excellent effect defensively on his feet, and making life difficult for opponents on the mat. While Chastain will be the favorite, Eldred has shown he can beat anyone, including Chastain.
      Upset alert:
      Estes could be tested by the 15-20 Cole Wilson of Zionsville, who is peaking despite his record.
      #6 Keegan Stansberry is undefeated and will be a strong favorite to end Saturday with a still-spotless record. He is, seed-wise, most likely to face Southmont's Connor Moore, but don't overlook returning semistate qualifier Sam Kern of Zionsville, despite a mediocre W/L record. Jerrod Smith of Carmel and Alex Haddock of Fountain Central should be an interesting match to determine the fourth member of the New Castle quartet.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #6 Keegan Stansberry, HSE
      2. Sam Kern, Zionsville
      3. Connor Moore, Southmont
      4. Jerrod Smith, Carmel
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Moore vs. Kern should be a great match. Moore sports a lofty 32-5 record against some pretty formidable opponents, while Kern has a 12-10 mark, also against some very tough competition. Smith vs. Haddock should be very interesting as well.
      Upset alert:
      Kern beating Moore would be an upset, although not a major one. Kern must first get by 27-5 Cody Parker of Attica, a senior who has been here before.
      While lacking some of the heavy hitters of the previous few weight classes, 145 is a very tough weight from top to bottom. Leading the way, rankings-wise, is #17 Mason Gaines of Fishers. Awaiting Gaines in the semis, is the very tough Wayne Highfield of Southmont (29-3!!), and, on the other side of the bracket, a tough senior in Fountain Central's Collin Strange, the sectional champ.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #17 Mason Gaines, Fishers
      2. Collin Strange, Fountain Central
      3. Wayne Highfield, Southmont
      4. Matt Kern, Zionsville
      Grab yer popcorn:
      There are several intriguing matchups at this weight. Gaines/Highfield could easily be a worth regional finals matchup. This matchup is a legitimate toss-up. The winner of that slugfest gets Strange, who must get by the tough Eagle senior Kern in the semis.
      Upset alert:
      You can't call Highfield over Gaines a real upset, but Kern is plenty capable of stealing the show and upsetting the top seed Strange en route to a finals berth.
      The competition is tough and deep at 152, led by state #6 Kellen VanCamp (#5 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) of Lebanon and #20 Tanner Webster of North Montgomery. However, the foursome of Nic Blondeel of Attica (27-6), Corbin Gregg of HSE (31-10), Fountain Central's Laine Frazee (35-3) and Carmel's Sam Bublick (17-11) should provide some formidable competition for the two favorites and each other.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #6 Kellen VanCamp, Lebanon
      2. #20 Tanner Webster, North Montgomery
      3. Corbin Gregg, HSE
      4. Laine Frazee, FC
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Despite meeting already a couple of times this year, with the returning state qualifier VanCamp coming out on top, the Tiger senior and Webster aren't light years apart. Webster actually finished ahead of VanCamp at last year's regional. HSE's Gregg is peaking, and shouldn't be overlooked by anyone, including Webster.
      Upset alert:
      Despite a so-so record, Carmel's Sam Bublick is a Pendoski product and is capable of beating Frazee and moving on to New Castle.
      #14 Jesse Archer of North Montgomery somehow competed at 195 last season and was successful. This year, he's 35-0 and on a roll. He appears to have a leg up on returning semistate qualifier Evan Stambaugh, as evidenced by his win by fall earlier this year. Similarly, Stambaugh appears to be a very solid 2nd best here, as he really controlled his opposition at the Zionsville sectional.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #14 Jesse Archer, North Montgomery
      2. Evan Stambaugh, Lebanon
      3. Nick Fox, Carmel
      4. Jack Banks, Zionsville
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Although Archer is the clear favorite, it will be interesting to see how he handles Stambaugh in a rematch, as Stambaugh has shown that he steps it up in the postseason.
      Upset alert:
      Banks kept it very close with Stambaugh last weekend, and it's within the realm of possibility that he could knock off the 1 seed.
      Two ranked wrestlers, #18 Alex Ragains of Frankfort and #19 Spencer Irick of HSE, join the always tough Zach Worm of Southmont and Drew Williamson of Zville to form an extremely tough quartet at North Montgomery. Of these top 4 studs, only Worm made it to New Castle last year. This year, however, Ragains and Irick have traded wins with each other, and they each own wins over Worm. Even more confusing, Williamson owns a win over Irick this year. In short, take your local favorite and call it a day in what appears to be a 'whoever is on their game' type of weight class.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #19 Spencer Irick, HSE
      2. #18 Alex Ragains, Frankfort
      3. Drew Williamson, Zionsville
      4. Zach Worm, Southmont
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Great matchups abound in this weight class, starting with opening round tilts between Ragains and 30-5 senior Matthew McMasters of Fountain Central, as well as Williamson and 33-6 Koby Wray of North Montgomery. From there, it only gets hairier--Worm vs. Ragains, Williamson vs. Irick, capped off with the winners meeting in the finals...whoever wins this weight class will be battle-tested heading into New Castle.
      Upset alert:
      Despite an average W/L record, Westfield's Liam Jagow was extremely competitive against tough competition at Zionsville. He very nearly took out Williamson, and Worm had better be on his toes against the ever-improving 'Rocks sophomore.
      From top to bottom, this is probably the best weight class overall at North Montgomery. Leading the way are state #6 Jonathan Morales (#3 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) of WeBo, #7 Robert Manns (#7 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) of Crawfordsville, 30-1 senior and returning semistate qualifier Tanner Smith of South Vermillion and returning semistate qualifier Griffin Steffy (#8 pre-season regional Indianamat ranking) of Lebanon. That doesn't even include the very tough Freedom Mak-Dawson of Fishers and 31-3 senior Austin Hoover of Sheridan. While returning state placer Morales is the favorite, there are landmines aplenty in this field, most notably Manns, who dropped down from 195 last season and has split wins with Morales this season.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #6 Jonathan Morales, Western Boone
      2. #7 Robert Manns, Crawfordsville
      3. Griffin Steffey, Lebanon
      4. Tanner Smith, South Vermillion
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Almost every match falls into this category, but Manns vs. Morales is a special matchup of state-caliber studs.
      Upset alert:
      Freedom Mak-Dawson is an awfully tough opening match for Tanner Smith. I would put Hoover in the 'very dangerous' class against anyone but Manns or Morales. Smith is capable of giving Morales a tough match, and the same is true of Steffey vs. Manns.
      #10 Scott Fuller of Zville and #11 Eric Hipple of Carmel lead the way at 195. Look for Westfield's Nick Schaeffer to join either North Mont's Cole Slavens or HSE's Kolby Ferris in advancing to New Castle.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #11 Eric Hipple, Carmel
      2. #10 Scott Fuller, Zionsville
      3. Nick Schaeffer, Westfield
      4. Kolby Ferris, HSE
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Hipple vs. Fuller yet again...these two are very evenly matched and know each other well. Fuller didn't look especially sharp last weekend, but he still managed a solid second. Ferris vs. Slavens should be an old-fashioned slobber-knocker, with the top-seed sophomore Slavens battling the 4th seeded junior. Showing just how small the margin is between victory and defeat, Ferris lost two 1 point matches to finish 4th at Zionsville.
      Upset alert:
      By seeding, Ferris over Slavens is an upset. However, Ferris is legit and can go with about anyone in the regional. Fuller had better not overlook returning regional qualifier Austin Eup of South Vermillion, as he sports a sterling 28-4 record.
      #13 Erik Hart of Lebanon is a pretty strong favorite here, with #11 Matthew Penola of Zville unable to participate in the postseason. Hart dominated his sectional, and has a good shot at doing it again at the regional level. Penola's backup, Grant Grayson, impressively finished 3rd at sectionals and has a legit shot at advancing to New Castle. Look for Jimmy Ford of HSE and Caleb Martin of Southmont to join Hart and Grayson at semistate.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #13 Erik Hart, Lebanon
      2. Jimmy Ford, HSE
      3. Caleb Martin, Southmont
      4. Grant Grayson, Zionsville
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Ford vs. Martin should be a rugged battle: both are seniors, both are extremely battle-tested and each wrestled well last weekend.
      Upset alert:
      Grayson, despite being mostly a seasonal backup and sporting a sub-.500 record, has a very solid shot vs. Garrett Reynolds of Covington. Ford has a very tough opening match vs. South Vermillion's Evan Piper. Jacob Eidson of Sheridan was competitive the entire day at Zionsville and could give Martin a tough match.
      #14 Michael Smith of Lebanon is the lone ranked heavyweight in the regional. However, Zionsville's Drew Hobick outlasted the Tigers' big man in OT to take the sectional title. Look for sectional champ Nathan Bean of C-ville and the peaking Deshawn Williams of Carmel to join the Boone County duo in qualifying for semistate.
      See ya in New Castle:
      1. #14 Michael Smith, Lebanon
      2. Drew Hobick, Zionsville
      3. Nathan Bean, Crawfordsville
      4. Deshawn Williams, Carmel
      Grab yer popcorn:
      Smith and Hobick have split matches this year, and while they are quite friendly with each other before and after the match, they go at each other tooth and nail. I think it's Smith's turn to return the favor to Hobick. Bean could give Smith some troubles in the semis.
      Upset alert:
      Westfield's Austin Dollens upset the favored Chakiry of Fishers to make it out of sectionals, and has the ability to pull an upset over Bean.


      2015 Mr. Gorilla February Update

      2015 Mr. Gorilla: Karl’s Kontenders

      Year one of IndianaMat’s Mr. Gorilla award honoring the state’s top senior wrestler brings no shortage of contenders. We have seen many great matches during the regular season and are sure to see many more as the state tournament series continues. This article is not meant to exclude any potential winner of the award, it is only meant to highlight a few of the grapplers who have distinguished themselves at this point of the season. IndianaMat has assembled a blue ribbon group of voters from throughout the state and even have included national high school wrestling experts that will vote for the winner after the state finals on Feb.21st. Voters include a mixture of coaches, administrators, and members of the media.
      Garrett Pepple – East Noble – 113
      - 2014 Super 32 4th at 113lbs
      - 2014 USAW Junior Freestyle 8th at 113lbs
      - 2014 IHSAA - 2nd at 113lbs
      - 2014 USAW Folkstyle All-American 3rd at 113lbs
      - 2013 IHSAA - 2nd at 106lbs
      Career Record 126-7
      Pepple has both the high school and off season bones to be a serious contender for the top senior. He also recently signed a letter of intent to continue wrestling for the Indiana Hoosiers. The only minor knock might be a less then top-flight regular season schedule and the fact that Pepple has only been in the line-up for three years.
      Brandon James – Perry Meridian – 138
      - 2014 IHSAA 2nd at 132lbs
      - 2014 Flo All-American 3rd at 120lbs
      - 2013 Junior Freestyle 6th at 126lbs
      - 2013 IHSAA 5th at 126lbs
      - 2012 IHSAA 3rd at 113lbs
      - 2012 Cadet Freestyle 6th at 120lbs
      - 2011 Cadet Freestyle 8th at 112lbs
      Career Record – 159-7
      King James was probably considered by many to be a pre-season favorite for this award and his senior season to date has done nothing to diminish that standing. A three time state medalist, James is only missing the medal with the blue ribbon to complete his in state list of accolades. He has already posted a convincing win over Tommy Cash this season, has a scholarship to wrestle at Old Dominion, and many national placings to his credit.
      Tommy Cash – Lawrence North – 138
      - 2014 IHSAA State Champion at 138lbs
      - 2014 Flo All-American 5th at 132lbs
      - 2012 IHSAA 5th at 106lbs
      Career Record – 160-5
      The first of two Tommys, Cash is another strong contender for Mr. Gorilla. He has a state title on his resume as well as fifth place finish in his freshman season. A sophomore season cut short due to injury and a loss to James earlier this season are to minor blemishes that could easily be wiped out if he were to take this year’s title and defeat James in the process. Don’t count out the IU bound Cash.
      Tommy Forte – Mishawaka – 152
      - 2014 IHSAA 2nd at 145lbs
      - 2014 Super 32 5th at 145lbs
      - 2014 USAW All-American 7th at 152lbs
      - 2013 IHSAA State Champion at 138lbs
      - 2012 IHSAA 3rd at 132lbs
      Career Record – 149-5
      Three trips to the state semifinals along with a perfect season and state title in 2013 put Tommy Two in strong contention for being considered the top wrestler in the state. Forte has committed to follow former coach Bryce Hasseman and will wrestle for the University of Buffalo. Battling injuries and the lack of a bone fide rival this season might be the only stumbling blocks for this talented senior.
      The Fab Five – Various Schools – 170
      Dylan Lydy – Ben Davis – Lydy has the shortest resume of the Fab Five but is currently ranked #1 based on his wins over both Jackson and Stevenson and an undefeated record. Lydy had a win over eventual state champ Stevenson last year before he was DQ’d from the state tournament.
      Ben Harvey – Cathedral – Harvey is currently ranked 2nd in the state. He holds two state medals and has qualified for state all three years. Harvey will be looking to join big brother as a state champion. He has split two meetings with Stevenson so far this year.
      Joey Mammolenti – Penn – Coming in at #3 is Penn’s senior Joey Mammolenti. In his first two years in the Kingsman lineup, Mammolenti has qualified for state. Unfortunately, he has failed to medal the past two years. Dominating wins over highly regared Scottie Sopko and Cameron Jones have lifted Mammolenti into the conversation for the state’s top honor
      Dillon Jackson – Yorktown – Another sibling stud is Yorktown’s Dillon Jackson. He burst onto the state stage last year with an impressive 3rd place performance. Jackson has lost to both Lydy and Harvey but boasts a win over last year’s titlist Jacob Steveson.
      Jacob Stevenson – Franklin – Last but not least is 2014 state champion Jacob Stevenson. The mere fact that a returning state champion is ranked fifth in the state at the same weight class is testament to tremendous strength and depth in this class. Stevenson has a win over Harvey but has suffered losses to Lydy, Jackson and Harvey. Whomever navigates this tough weight class deserves strong consideration for being named Mr. Gorilla.
      Chase Osborn – Penn – 182
      - 2014 IHSAA 2nd at 170lbs
      - 2012 IHSAA State Qualifier at 132lbs
      Career Record – 118-25
      Osborn burst onto the scene in his freshman year when he was a surprise state qualifier for the Kingmen. His sophomore season ended at regional as he was going through a growth spurt but Osborn reemerged in a big way his junior year by making a run to the title match at 170. His senior year has been dominating and has only been tested once in the Al Smith finals by Chesterton’s Andrew Davison.
      Norman Oglesby – Ben Davis – 285
      - 2014 2nd at 285lbs
      - 2013 State Qualifier at 285lbs
      Career Record – 135-15
      Stormin’ Norman turned heads his sophomore year when he emerged as a semistate champion for the Giants. Last year, he repeated as the Evansville champ and won his first three matches at Banker’s Life. A runner-up finish to Cathedral’s Wes Bernard ended his season. Oglesby got a blue ring as a star Ben Davis football squad this fall and earned a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati.


      Castle Regional Preview

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

      2055 4

      Rochester Regional Preview

      By Chad Hollenbaugh
      IndianaMat Senior Writer
      #15 Cavanaugh – Penn (24-7)
      Kazmierczak –SBSt.Joseph (32-6)
      Greene – Triton (29-7)
      Zahl – SBAdams (22-8)
      Records are deceiving here, at first glance this appears to be a balanced class of flyweights. Penn’s Kory Cavanaugh is the clear favorite due to the tough schedule that the Kingsmen wrestle. Cavanaugh is ranked 15th in the state and his losses are all to ranked kids. Triton’s Greene is intriguing because he wrestled 113 all season before a sectional cut to 106.
      Rochester Royal Rumble (Match of the Day) – Malichi Greene vs. Joey Zahl – This battle looks to be even on paper and the winner will possible avoid an early morning date with Cummings or Triana next week.
      Fans should be treated to a reunion of sorts in the finals at 113. Drew Hildebrandt is a clear front runner but fellow St. Joe County resident Adam Davis has quietly put together an outstanding frosh season for Culver Academy. The third ranked Hildebrandt should breeze here, he has too much experience for the young Eagle. Davis will be fun to follow as he continues his state series run.
      Royal Rumble – Aaron Brooke vs. Bryton Goehring (South Bend Riley) – Brooke has the far better record but Riley’s Goering has wrestled a much better schedule. Should be an early morning donnybrook with the winner earning a trip to Merrillville.
      #3 Hildebrandt – Penn (28-0)
      Davis – CMA (29-5)
      Brooke – Bremen (36-4)
      DeVault – Plymouth (18-7)
      #9 Hatch – Warsaw (36-1)
      #10 Hartman – SBClay (41-0)
      Hardesty – Mishawaka (27-6)
      Tyler – SBWashington (20-5)
      The finals at 120, should Warsaw’s #9 Kyle Hatch and Clay’s #10 Jake Hartman hold chalk, will be one of the marquee match ups of the day. With a combined record of 77-1, regional supremacy should be a whale of a match. Both are hammers in their top game so the margin might comedown to an escape, reversal or even an overtime scenario.
      Royal Rumble – The potential 3rd/4th place match between Washington’s Tondrew Tyler and Mishawaka’s Ryan Hardesty should be filled with scoring as both these young men fight for the right not to face a regional champ next week.
      After a promising freshman campaign, Wawasee’s Tristin Ponsler struggled last year and didn’t even qualify for regionals. Much like Austin Powers, Ponsler has found his mojo this season. He looked very sharp in the sectional finals where he defeated state ranked John Hunting of Rochester. These two should face off again this week.
      Royal Rumble – Season survival will be on the line in the first round when Penn’s Jarrett Selis and Plymouth’s Cody Allmon do battle. The outcome between these to savvy vets should be very close in this deep weight class.
      Ponsler – Wawasee (38-1)
      #20 Hunting – Rochester (32-5)
      Allmon - Plymouth (28-7)
      Beaver – Mishawaka (18-13)
      Another very deep and talented weight class with very little separation at the top. Valley’s Devin Childers has a state ranking and state experience. Riley’s Austen Laughlin has had an outstanding season with a conference and sectional title to add to his third place finish at Al Smith. Rishod Cotton of Clay has taken losses to both by the narrowest of margins. Throw in Bremen’s Joey Bailey, who wrestled most the season at 138, and you have a real meat grinder here.
      Royal Rumble – Both semifinal matches should be wars. I love the talent in this class.
      #15 Childers – Tippy Valley (37-1)
      Laughlin – SBRiley (41-4)
      Cotton – SBCotton (36-6)
      Bailey – Bremen (35-3)
      Wow! The great wrestling continues in this weight class where any of six grapplers have a legitimate shot at making the finals. Penn’s Cameron Beam was the titlist at Mishawaka and Culver’s Triston Rodriguez took the crown at Plymouth. Tippy Valley’s Wyatt Nelson is wrestling as well as I have ever seen him in his senior season. Rochester’s Josh Heckathorn and South Bend Adams’ Tarvis Evans are studs. Culver Academy’s young Miles Krintz will look to continue his season.
      Royal Rumble – First round tilts featuring Nelson/Beam and Heckathorn/Evans would be the equal of final matches in many of the regionals around the state. Great weight class.
      #17 Rodriguez – Culver Community (33-1)
      Beam – Penn (9-0)
      Krintz – CMA (28-9)
      Evans – SBAdams (27-7)
      A couple of super sophs headline the 145 class where Adams’ Tavonte Malone is the big dog. Not far behind is his conference rival Kassius Breathitt. Malone won by a single point in the sectional final. Rochester’s Justin Schroder had a disappointing Al Smith tourney but is wrestling lights out right now. He was very impressive in shutting out Culver Academy’s Noah Trevino last Saturday.
      Royal Rumble – I’m keeping my eye on the semifinal matchup between Rochester’s Schroder and Riley’s Breathitt. It should be a doozy.
      #14 Malone – SBAdams (29-2)
      #20 Breathitt – SBRiley (28-8)
      Schroder – Rochester (32-4)
      Hochstetler – Penn (24-11)
      This class is obviously top heavy with Tommy Forte and Jared Swank. They both have an excellent change to medal at state. Forte seems to be rounding into form as he stuck Swank last Saturday. Swank is a tough customer and will be back for more this week. Triton’s Stichter impressively beat Bremen’s Bollenbacher in the sectional final.
      Royal Rumble – The finals match is state semifinal quality.
      #1 Forte – Mishawaka (26-0)
      #4 Swank – Penn (27-3)
      Stichter – Triton (27-9)
      Bollenbacher – Bremen (30-8)
      Penn’s Denzyl Prentice has had an outstanding first full season in the Kingsman lineup as evidenced by his #9 state ranking. Triton’s Gage Waddle and St. Joe’s Norm Hezlip are not that far behind. The athleticism in this class will make many of the matches highly entertaining.
      Royal Rumble – The potential semifinal matchup between Waddle and Hezlip will be epic. They matched up about six weeks ago in the same gym and Hezlip came away with an exciting one point victory.
      #9 Prentice – Penn (26-2)
      Waddle – Triton (26-6)
      Hezlip – SBSt. Joseph (36-3)
      Goering- SBRiley (33-8)
      The Penn parade of champions will continue here as #3 ranked Joey Mammolenti should have little trouble with this field. Mishawaka’s Chase Deal had a nice upset win over James Malone of South Bend Riley last week. Triton’s Nate Spangle is the Plymouth sectionals best and looks to be the fourth Trojan to qualify for semistate.
      Royal Rumble – A semifinal tilt between Caveman Deal and Triton’s Spangle has potential to be a good one. Deal is wrestling well at the right time and Spangle has a sterling record mostly fashioned at the 182 pound weight class.
      #3 Mammolenti – Penn (29-2)
      Deal – Mishawaka (24-9)
      #20 Malone – SBRiley (36-9)
      Spangle – Triton (33-3)
      Penn’s top ranked Chase Osborn should dominate the field at 182. If he has to spend more than five minutes on the mat it would be surprising. That is not a knock on the rest of the field, it is a testament to how dominant Osborn has been this season. He should be tested again at semi state.
      Royal Rumble – If the bracket holds, we should see a 3rd place matchup between Plymouth’s Jeremy Splix and Clay’s Mason Cao. These two battled in the semis of the McKee invite six week ago and Splix came away with a narrow one point win.
      #1 Osborn – Penn (28-0)
      Bell – Tippy Valley (35-2)
      Splix – Plymouth (29-4)
      Cao – SBClay (39-4)
      The list of weight classes deep with talent is long at the Rochester regional this year and the 195 pound class is more evidence of the point. Wes Beck was dominating in the Plymouth sectional and Tanner Bradley battled to a slim one point victory Gabino Perez of South Bend Riley.
      Royal Rumble – A semifinal matchup of Beck and Perez has great potential. Beck is a clear favorite but if he is looking past Perez he could find himself on the short end of a tight match.
      #14 Beck – Rochester (36-3)
      #16 Bradley – Mishawaka (20-3)
      Perez – SBRiley (23-8)
      Nolin – Warsaw (32-4)
      #1 Woods – Penn (32-0)
      Ernst – Mishawaka Marian (22-7)
      Troxel – SBRiley (31-14)
      Hess – Mishawaka (12-12)
      Top ranked Kobe Woods is in much the same situation as his teammate Chase Osborn. He should dominate this field and not have to spend much time on the mat. Athletic, strong, experienced and technically sound, Woods is joy to watch on the mat. The battle here is for 2nd place.
      Royal Rumble – I like the first round match up between big Andrew Brock of Warsaw and the .500 Caveman Jake Hess. Hess was able to clip him at the Al Smith Invite. He will have to repeat to continue his season.
      Penn big man Cory Christman is a strong favorite to become the 7th Kingsman regional champion. His pin over Riley’s Brian Shaw makes me think he is peaking at the right time.
      Royal Rumble – The semifinal matchup between Shaw and Jordan Shafer of Rochester is probably the most compelling contest in this bracket. Both are athletic heavyweights who like to score.
      #9 Christman – Penn (27-3)
      Shaw – SBRiley (24-9)
      Shafer – Rochester (34-4)
      Koebel – SBSt. Joseph (25-13)


      Evansville Central Sectional Preview

      Regarded as one of the tougher sectionals in Hoosier land, the 2015 Central sectional will provide spectators with exciting match-ups, colorful coaches...and the inevitable upsets. Cobbling together pieces of five counties and four conferences, the Evansville Central sectional produces first-time match-ups and seeding anomalies.
      Gibson Southern, fresh off another PAC team title while claiming six individual champions, looks to challenge Greg Schaefer's Mater Dei Wildcats for supremacy on the North side.
      106- North Posey's first-year coach, Cody Moll, is charged with reviving the Viking program. In Poseyville, they are excited about their number-one seed, freshman Levi Miller (SS#7). On the other side of the bracket, Princeton's Kyler McKinney is riding high after a Big 8 title he earned last Saturday. Look for an exciting semifinal match between McKinney and Mater Dei's SIAC runner-up, Nolan Weidner. The winner should see Miller in the final.
      113- 113 is loaded! Princeton's Luke Dunn wrestled a brutal schedule, won the Big 8 and did not receive a seed. Dunn's quarterfinal match with Central's Carson Willis should be fun to watch. Should Willis get by Dunn, he will likely meet Mater Dei's Kyle Luigs in the semifinal, their third meeting of the year. Excitement punctuated their SIAC title match; this one could be very good, as well. Gibson Southern's Logan Dilbeck will put his 33 wins against Pike Central's Dylan Jones, in the other semifinal.
      120- Mater Dei's one-seed, Will Egli, is clear to the semis, where he should meet Tecumseh's Zach Graham. At the bottom half of the bracket, Gibson Southern's Christian Pellacer, the PAC champion, will face North's Dawson Matherly in a very competitive race. The winner will likely meet Egli for all the marbles on First Avenue.
      126- Mater Dei senior Alex Johnson has a third sectional title in his sights. To do so, he will need a win in the semis against Central's Connor Willis or Gibson Southern's PAC champion, Michael Polen. Two-seed Nick Burke of North has put up 31 wins on the year and will battle Dalton Ashby of Wood Memorial for the other spot in the final.
      132- Mater Dei's #1-ranked sophomore, Nick Lee, will continue to terrorize his opponents at the Central sectional. Gibson Southern's Hunter Baehl (#6SS) counts this sectional as his fourth; he should be in the medal mix. Princeton's Chase Wilson will meet the two-seed, North's Josh Elpers, in the other semifinal.
      138- Third-ranked freshman, Joe Lee, should dance with fifth-ranked Kyle Todrank of Gibson Southern in the marquee match of the 2015 Central sectional. These two are very familiar with one another; if you like this match-up, you are in luck...you may see it three or four more times. You can guarantee that Greg Schaefer and Blake Maurer's respective brain trusts are working overtime on this one!
      145- Mater Dei one-seed, junior Blake Jourdan, was upset in the championship match of the 2014 sectional. The remembrance of that loss will sharpen his focus for the week ahead. Central's two-seed, Hunter McCormick, will face PAC champ, Gibson Southern's Kaleb Greenwell, for the other slot in the final.
      152- Central's Isaiah Kemper sent shockwaves throughout the Indiana wrestling community when he dropped to 152. Currently ranked second, Kemper anticipates a deep run in the state tournament. Following graduated senior's Brendon Kelly's state title, Central coach Mike Lapadat may be coaching under the lights again in February.
      Graham Dougan, Princeton's freshly-crowned Big 8 champ, will square off with Pike Central's Colton O'Neal in the bottom of the bracket for a shot at the title. Mater Dei's Mitch Lehman and North's Logan Matherly will also contend for a high vantage point on the podium.
      160- Top-seeded Tristan McDaniel of Tecumseh has been a cornerstone of coach Aaron Chambers' line-up, which landed a 2015 Team State bid. Mater Dei senior Nick Buedel is 22-4 and should meet McDaniel in the final. Proceed with caution, as Julius Malone of Vincennes Lincoln was the Big 8 champ, while Pike Central's Jaylon Owens has 31 wins on the season. Malone and Owens would love to be spoilers.
      170- Mater Dei's Ashton Forzley, a 2x state qualifier, has strung together another great season and earned the top-seed. In the bracket's lower half, North's Justin Naylor and Wood Memorial's Louis Hoover will compete in what should be an exciting semifinal. The winner will meet Forzley for bragging rights.
      182- Outside the glare of the spotlight on Mater Dei's light and middle weights, underrated senior Sam Bassemier has compiled a 23-1 record and intends to garner his second sectional bracket board. Tecumseh's Jeremy McKinley has piled up 38 wins and won the PAC tourney last Saturday. He will match up with North's Ty Winchell for the right to wrestle Bassemier.
      195- Who can beat Tecumseh's 11th-ranked Adam Lytle? So far, no one. However, do not be fooled by the ten losses on Central's Gabe Patterson's record. Patterson is tough and should give Lytle a tussle in the semifinal. Senior Chase Anslinger is riding high in his maiden varsity season at Mater Dei. He should meet Vincennes Lincoln's very solid Nic Dellion in the bottom bracket's semifinal.
      220- Question: Who trains daily with the most successful sibling duo in Indiana history? Answer: Gibson Southern's sixth-ranked Cory Klem. With only three prep losses, four state titles and a third-place finish between Blake and Dane Maurer, you can wager that Klem has been stress-tested.
      Second question: Name a quarterback that wrestles and competes in the 220-pound division.
      Answer: The only one I know of is Mater Dei's Kurtis Wilderman. Wilderman has turned in a rock-solid season against tough competition and has won some big matches for the Wildcats. You will get your money's worth out of a Klem/Wilderman final. Look for Central's Caleb Hart to also find high ground on the podium.
      285- Boasting a 34-1 record, Tecumseh's Colton Dossett gets the top-seed in the big boy division. Mater Dei's SIAC champ, Adrian Butler, will face the two-seed, Pike Central's Bryce Manning, for the right to tangle with Dossett in the final. Central's Jordan Libby will also figure into the medal race.
      Best Quarterfinal Match- 126: Gibson Southern's Michael Polen vs. Central's Connor Willis. Both have significant skills and are looking to gather some momentum. Each views this as a big match.
      Best Semifinal Matches- 132: Josh Elpers of North vs. Chase Wilson of Princeton. Wilson has a Bo Henry title and 35 wins next to his name. Elpers counters with a formidable offense that will be on display against Wilson. 145: Central's Hunter McCormick vs. Gibson Southern's Kaleb Greenwell. Both are 4-year starters and have center mat experience. This bout has regional and semi state implications; expect a superb effort. 195: Vincennes Lincoln's Nic Dellion vs. Mater Dei's Chase Anslinger. Dellion beat Anslinger on December 27. Anslinger returned the favor on December 28. Either would relish an opportunity to be the first to put a blemish on Lytle's record. In order to do so, one has to win the semifinal match.
      Best Championship Matches- 113: No doubt exists that Mater Dei's Will Egli has warned his classmate, the fourth-ranked Kyle Luigs, about Gibson Southern's 12th-ranked junior, Logan Dilbeck. In 2014, Egli escaped with a hard-fought, 3-1, sectional victory over Dilbeck. Dilbeck and Luigs are athletic and flashy; this one should be a slobber knocker. 160: Tecumseh's Tristan McDaniel vs. Mater Dei's Nick Buedel. Buedel is very tall, strong and believes in scoring a lot of points. McDaniel is very tall, strong and believes in scoring a lot of points. See where this is going?
      Team- Folks in Fort Branch are thrilled with coach Blake Maurer's elevation of the Gibson Southern program. The Titans qualified for Team State and, if things go well, will have a couple of grapplers on the podium at Banker's Life. However, Gibson Southern is compelled to share sectional mats with the Mater Dei Wildcats. Look for the 1300 Harmony Way crew to take home their 39th consecutive sectional championship. The 13-4 Central Bears also see opportunity. Properly motivated, the Bears have a shot at knocking Gibson Southern out of the bridesmaid position. The Tecumseh Braves and DG Asay's North Huskies have veteran teams; they will also look for a high finish.
      Hook's Recommendations
      · Get up early and have breakfast at the Pie Pan. After your omelet, have a piece of pumpkin or pecan pie...that's what it is there for!
      · After wrestling is complete, head about a mile north for a protein download at Wolf's Bar-B-Q buffet. Los Bravos is a great choice for family Mexican fare. If you like sushi or hibachi, Fujiyama offers the best value for Japanese cuisine in the city. It is Mrs. Hook's favorite place to eat. Banzai!
      · Watch out for parking lot scourges. Three years ago, someone backed into my HUV (Hook Utility Vehicle) and damaged it. No note!
      · Founded in 1854, Evansville Central It is the oldest high school in continuous operation west of the Allegheny Mountains. Revel in the history!

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