NEW PALESTINE — His trademark state finals attire is still safely stowed away, awaiting February’s spotlight, but Chad Red’s championship stare was in postseason form Wednesday night.
Relishing the final chapter in his high school wrestling regular season, the three-time state champion worked quickly for a pin and shifted gears even faster after New Palestine beat Zionsville 44-33 on senior night.
“I wanted to go out the best way I could,” Red remarked on his 54-second pin of Zionsville’s Kody Wagner at 132 pounds, the 28th in 29 matches this season. “This team and senior class is very special to me. We’ve been training together all four years, I’ve been with a lot of these guys since elementary and middle school.
“I think if we can get enough people at state this year, we can bring it home.”
With the win, the Dragons finished the year 13-1, with its only dual-meet loss coming against state-ranked Cathedral, 37-36 last month.
Red, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation and in the state, will enter next weekend’s sectional tournament a perfect 29-0 and 168-0 in his career.
Already looking ahead, Red’s training toward immortality begins tomorrow, even though the team officially has the day off. He doesn’t want to waste time, not with the potential of becoming the ninth four-time state champion in state history and just the third to finish unbeaten all four years.
“The only person that’s going to beat me is me,” Red said. “I’ve kept that the same from last year, and my training is going to pick up a lot more. Training for the state title starts tomorrow.”
He won’t be alone in his quest.
Second-ranked Alec White (32-0) remained perfect at 113 pounds with a 49-second pin of Zionsville’s Levi Glenn. A two-time state qualifier and state-place winner as a freshman at 106 in 2014, the junior supplied the Dragons first of four pins against the visiting Eagles.
Senior Jared Timberman (33-1) scored a one-sided 23-9 major decision, quickly shaking off his first loss of the season at the Hoosier Heritage Conference Tournament last weekend in Yorktown.
Timberman lost the state’s top-ranking as he fell to Yorktown’s, now No. 1, Brad Laughlin in overtime after a questionable no-call sent the 145-pound finals match into extras.
With 11 takedowns scored in his last regular-season primer, the state’s second-ranked wrestler is ready for the future.
“I was really worried about keeping my undefeated record,” Timberman said. “The loss is out of the way now, and I wanted to get back on my offense and remind myself that I can go out there and frustrate people. State is the day, I want to be undefeated. State is what matters.”
Senior dominance was also the goal, and Eugene Starks delivered with a one-minute pin at 152. Senior Jalyn Wallace had a major decision 10-0 at 138 and Cameron Diep, in his first match back from a substantial left elbow injury, recorded a forfeit win.
Diep, who was ranked in the state before dislocating his elbow a month ago, is cleared to wrestle in the postseason where he’ll return to his spot at 120.
“It was hard sitting out during practices waiting,” Diep said. “As soon as I did it, I wasn’t worried about my arm, I was worried about the rest of my season. I was thinking my career was over. Just to get back on the mat, I missed it a lot.”
Coach Chad Red knows when it’s all said and done, he’ll feel the same way about his seniors. But it’s not over yet.
“It went fast,” coach Red said. “To have a group of kids like this is breath taking and special. Time flies and to see these guys go out there quick and score points, knowing how hard they work and the time and effort they put in over the years to make it look like it’s easy, it’s a craft. … they mean the world to me.
“Now, it’s 0-0, we start all over… After the sectional seeding meeting we’ll find out who are first victim is and we’ll get going from there.”
New Palestine 44, Zionsville 33
113: Alec White (NP) def. Levi Glenn (Z), fall 0:49
120: Cameron Diep (NP) won by forfeit
126: Noah Wright (NP) won by forfeit
132: Chad Red (NP) def. Kody Wagner (Z), fall 0:54
138: Jalyn Wallace (NP) def. Sam Gobeyn (Z), maj. dec. 10-0
145: Jared Timberman (NP) def. Cole Wilson (Z), maj. dec. 23-9
152: Eugene Starks (NP) def. Jack Banks (Z), fall 1:00
160: Thomas Penola (Z) def. Grant Saylor (NP), fall 3:56
170: Matthew Wertz (Z) def. Logan Robinson (NP), fall 4:12
182: Josue Hill (Z) def. Brayden Clevenger (NP), fall 1:38
195: Landan Burton (NP) def. Brian Fuller (Z), fall 2:57
220: Drew Williamson (Z) def. Hunter Holcombe (NP), fall 1:47
285: Scott Fuller (Z) def. Demetre Mitchell (NP), fall 1:03
106: John Gobeyn (Z) def. Jared Diep (NP), dec. 9-2