SHELBYVILLE — After more than three decades of coaching experience, Ed Hamant remains a steadfast optimist, but on Saturday he was a realist.
As second-ranked Warren Central steamrolled to 12 individual weight-class championships and a commanding lead during the Shelbyville Sectional, the Greenfield-Central interim wrestling coach had no illusions of overtaking the Warriors.
He knew better. The numbers just didn’t add up.
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The race for second place in the team standings, however, was a different story, and his Cougars maximized their opportunities in the medal rounds to post the program’s best sectional showing since 2012.
“We knew we weren’t going to beat Warren Central. They might be the best team in the state, but I figured we could get the top two or three. Finishing second is great,” said Hamant. “Not just that but the way they wrestled, I thought, was great overall.”
With the second-most regional qualifiers behind Warren Central’s 14, Greenfield-Central pushed 10 wrestlers through to Perry Meridian next weekend and finished sectional runner-up with 163 team points.
Cougars sophomore Brad Lowe (30-7) and junior Cameron Wetli (25-10) were both second at 170 and 220 pounds, respectively.
Tommy Brock (30-10) at 132, Carter Noehre (32-9) at 126 and Gavin Rose (16-6) at 106 were each third, while the remaining five advanced to regional with fourth-place finishes.
“That was the difference. The kids getting third in the consolations won it for us,” Hamant said. “Everybody did their share and contributed, the coaches and the wrestlers. That makes this all the more fun.”
Warren Central scored 321 points to win its fifth straight sectional title.
Four years ago, Greenfield-Central placed third as a team at sectional, falling a mere half of a point short of tying Roncalli for runner-up. Last season, they were fifth.
This time around, the Cougars left nothing to chance, edging past 18th-ranked New Palestine (157.5), Roncalli (138.0) and Franklin Central (128.5). Mt. Vernon (95.5) was sixth overall with five regional qualifiers.
The Cougars entered the placement round ahead of New Palestine 153-140.5, and with four consolation victories, including three wins in their third-place matches, the lead held up.
“I didn’t feel like I wrestled very well (in the semifinals). I wanted to make sure I came back and won third,” said Noehre, who lost by tech fall to fifth-ranked Joel McGhee of Warren Central before bouncing back. “We wanted to emphasize where we could to help the team get second.”
Several setbacks for New Palestine, including a disqualification at 138 due to misconduct, played a role in the final standings as well.
The Dragons will send seven wrestlers to the Perry Meridian Regional on Saturday, but they had only one sectional champion in top-ranked Chad (C.J.) Red (33-0), who recorded three straight pins at 12, 11 and 10 seconds to secure the 132-pound title.
New Palestine had five wrestlers in the championship finals. Two lost by decision, one by major decision and another by fall.
“We as a coaching staff have to get them more prepared. I’ll take responsibility,” New Palestine head coach Chad Red said. “I take the glory when we win, I take the glory when we lose. I have to get us more focused in the final match. We looked fine until the last round and took our foot off the gas pedal.
“We have to get it done. We have to do a little bit more. We’re not down; things just didn’t go our way today.”
Alec White (35-1) was the first to lose, dropping a gut-wrenching 2-1 decision to third-ranked Skylour Turner (36-1) of Warren Central.
In their previous meeting during the New Palestine Open on Jan. 9, White handed Turner his first loss of the season in overtime 4-2. Turner returned the favor, ending White’s winning streak at 35 consecutive with a third-period reversal.
White led 1-0 in the second period and had no-calls on two takedown attempts, which would have given him a solid lead.
Second-ranked Jared Timberman suffered a similar misfortune during the 145-pound finals in his rematch with Franklin Central’s fourth-ranked Jordan Vaughn (36-2).
Victorious against Vaughn by decision 4-3 earlier this season, Timberman (35-2) built a 1-0 lead and didn’t receive a takedown ruling late in the second period. Vaughn rallied with a three-point swing before surrendering a penalty point for stalling as he won by decision 3-2.
“Next week, the plan is to win a couple of matches and see him again in the finals,” coach Red said.
Mt. Vernon had four wrestlers place fourth while No. 20 Peyton Wuerch (31-3) was runner-up at heavyweight, losing by decision 4-2 to Warren Central’s ninth-ranked Jasion Brogan (31-6) in the finals.
“Peyton’s wrestling really well this season. It’s been a long time since Mt. Vernon has had anyone ranked, so it’s good. I think he has a good shot at reaching semistate,” Mt. Vernon head coach Chad Masters said. “We advanced five kids, so for us that’s a step in the right direction.”
Greenfield-Central’s 16th-ranked Gavin Rose (16-6) could get another shot at Warren Central’s third-ranked Keyuan Murphy (33-2) in the 106-pound semifinals. Murphy beat Rose for a second time this season with a 13-7 decision in the semifinals … White could face Perry Meridian’s 13th-ranked Sunny Nier (22-4) in the semifinals before seeing Turner in the finals again … Timberman will need to get past Perry Meridian’s Kain Rust (26-7) in the semifinals to get an opportunity to meet Vaughn for a third time. … Greenfield-Central’s Lee Dullaghan (20-14) drew ninth-ranked Robert Clark (39-3) of Southport in the first round at 195. Clark is coached by Josh Holden, who led the Cougars last season … Wuerch might run into 19th-ranked Chris Ridle (24-7) of Perry Meridian in the heavyweight semifinals.
Shelbyville Wrestling Sectional
1. Warren Central;321.0
3. New Palestine;157.5
5. Franklin Central;128.5
6. Mount Vernon;95.5
7. Beech Grove;80.0
8. Triton Central;43.0
10. Indianapolis Lutheran;18.0
11. Indianapolis Marshall;0.0
Championship Match Results
106: Keyuan Murphy (WC) def. Josh Vaughn (FC), dec. 9-3
113: Skylour Turner (WC) def. Alec White (NP), dec. 2-1
120: Dylan Culp (WC) def. Ethan Smiley (BG), dec. 6-0
126: Joel McGhee (WC) def. Bailey Moore (BG), dec. 9-3
132: Chad Red (NP) def. Tim Wright (WC), fall 0:10
138: Matthew McKinney (WC) def. Nick Ellis (RON), maj. dec. 9-0
145: Jordan Vaughn (FC) def. Jared Timberman (NP), dec. 3-2
152: Trent Pruitt (WC) def. Eugene Starks (NP), maj. dec. 11-2
160: Dominic Herrick (WC) def. Nate Sanchez (BG), fall 1:24
170: Dezmen Goddard (WC) def. Brad Lowe (GC), fall 1:38
182: Devon Blount (WC) def. Quinn Cecil (RON), SV-1 6-4
195: Tristen Tonte (WC) def. Landan Burton (NP), fall 3:32
220: Cornelius Knox-Abbott (WC) def. Cameron Wetli (GC), dec. 5-1
285: Jasion Brogan (WC) def. Peyton Wuerch (MV), dec. 4-2
Third-Place Match Results
106: Gavin Rose (GC) def. Chase Wilkerson (MV), dec. 4-2
113: Chase Peavler (FC) def. Luke Sheridan (GC), fall 1:59
120: Cameron Diep (NP) def. Larry Evans (GC), maj. dec. 11-3
126: Carter Noehre (GC) def. Noah Hanson (MV), dec. 4-0
132: Tommy Brock (GC) def. Bryce Logan (TC), dec. 8-3
138: Zach Worden (FC) def. Elliott Parsons (GC), maj. dec. 9-0
145: Antwaun Graves (WC) def. Patrick Waugh (RON), dec. 7-1
152: Sam Hansen (RON) def. Drake Tackett (MV), dec. 3-2
160: Melvin Justice (SHS) def. Michael Armbruster (RON), dec. 5-1
170: Grant Saylor (NP) def. Cole Van Slyke (MV), fall 2:14
182: Josh Torres (FC) def. Jake Reid (INL), fall 1:10
195: Tyler Smith (RON) def. Lee Dullaghan (GC), fall 0:28
220: John Owensby (FC) def. Isaiah Greene (BG), fall 4:57
285: Jordan Sinkhorn (RON) def. Hunter Gulden (GC), dec. 6-2