For New Palestine head coach Chad Red’s wrestlers, the countdown has begun.

Pushing five through Saturday’s Perry Meridian Regional while claiming two individual weight class championships and a pair of runner-up finishes, the season now boils down to eight matches.

Forty-eight minutes of mat time left, or preferably less, starting at this Saturday’s New Castle Semistate.

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“For some of those guys, it’s no more. It’s their senior year, so this is it,” Red said. “We just have to keep building. There are eight matches left, that’s how we look at it. Four at semistate and four at state.

“You have to be on point for all of those matches. If you can pin, even better, more rest time for the next one.”

As expected, three-time state champion Chad (C.J.) Red is ahead of schedule.

Running his perfect record to 36-0 by capturing his fourth straight regional title, the top-ranked senior pinned two competitors in a combined 27 seconds to reach the finals, marking the fifth consecutive postseason match he’s won by fall.

The pin streak ended, however, during the 132-pound championship match against Perry Meridian’s D.J. Brookbank (29-7).

“That kid just didn’t want to get pinned. Sometimes it’s like that. He didn’t try an offensive move,” coach Red remarked. “In these last matches there are going to be some kids that will wrestle him different and try to beat him.

“That okay because that’s usually when he comes in and steps up even more.”

C.J. Red made Brookbank pay with a 19-4 tech fall in 5:26, which ran his unbeaten career record to 175-0. He’s pinned 31 opponents this season and 131 overall in four years.

Junior Alec White (38-1) opened his regional title defense at 113 pounds with a pin against Arsenal Tech’s Malik Lang (24-5) in 1:13.

The state’s second-ranked wrestler won by decision 4-3 in the semifinals against No. 13 Sunny Nier (24-5) of Perry Meridian before facing third-ranked Skylour Turner (38-2) of Warren Central in the finals.

The third time the two have met this season, White grabbed a 2-1 series lead with a 5-3 decision in sudden victory overtime.

White lost to Turner by decision 2-1 in the sectional finals last week, his first defeat in 35 consecutive matches.

In their first match during the New Palestine Open on Jan. 9, White handed Turner his first loss on the year with a 4-3 decision in an overtime tiebreaker.

“It was a very similar match to what it was the last time (at sectional). The moves we scored on this time, they didn’t give us the points on the last time, and we came through in overtime,” Red said. “We pushed the pace and got after it.”

White jumped ahead 2-0 in the second period and was up 3-1 in the third before Turner recorded an escape to force overtime. In the bonus period, White, a two-time state qualifier, won his third straight regional title with a takedown.

In his career, White has won two sectional titles and has been third and runner-up at semistate with another shot at a championship this Saturday.

Senior Eugene Starks (30-7) defeated Southport’s Brett Wright by decision 10-3 to claim third at 152. Landan Burton (30-10), a sophomore, was runner-up at 195 as five of New Palestine’s seven regional qualifiers advanced.

The only setback the Dragons faced occurred in the 145-pound regional finals when second-ranked Jared Timberman (37-3) was forced to injury default against No. 4 Jordan Vaughn (39-2) of Franklin Central.

Timberman, who lost to Vaughn by decision 3-2 in the sectional title match last week, led 1-0 in the second period before a “wear and tear” shoulder injury ended the match.

“We kind of pulled the plug as a precaution. I thought Jared was wrestling well, right in the match, winning the match and went down with a really good take down,” coach Red said. “He was out of injury time, and I waited but we decided it was time to pull it.”

Vaughn and Timberman met twice before Saturday with the first match going to the Dragon in a 4-3 decision. His only other loss this year was against top-ranked Brad Laughlin of Yorktown in overtime 7-5 during the Hoosier Heritage Conference finals.

Vaughn and Timberman are projected to see each other for a fourth time in the semistate finals, if everything falls into place.

“Hopefully, we get him this week, and we’ll be ready to do that,” coach Red said. “He’s going to be in the finals, and we want to be there with him.”

Cougars get five through

The Greenfield-Central wrestling team took 10 to the Perry Meridian Regional and left with five semistate qualifiers.Freshman Gavin Rose (18-7), sophomore Brad Lowe (32-8) and junior Cameron Wetli (27-11) placed third at 106, 170 and 220 pounds, respectively.Carter Noehre (33-11), a sophomore, was fourth at 126, and Lee Dullaghan (21-16), a junior, was fourth at 195.

The 16th-ranked Rose opened the regional tournament with a 7-4 decision against Arsenal Tech’s Tyler Bowling to advance into the semifinals.

After losing by fall in 3:45 to No. 3 Keyuan Murphy (36-2) of Warren Central, he regained his momentum with a 1:57 pin in the third-place match versus Franklin Central’s Josh Vaughn (33-9).

Lowe pinned Southport’s Dennis Serrano (24-15) in the quarterfinals and ended his day with an injury default win over Lamar Willis (21-5) of Indianapolis Crispus Attucks.

Wetli, a sectional runner-up at Shelbyville, defeated Franklin Central’s John Owensby (32-12) by decision 4-2 to secure third place.

Mt. Vernon junior advances to semistate

Unable to compete at the regional level despite being a qualifier a year ago, Mt. Vernon junior heavyweight Peyton Wuerch made up for lost time by placing fourth overall at Perry Meridian.Wuerch (32-5), ranked 20th by Indianamat.com, defeated Cardinal Ritter’s Brian Dade (28-6) by decision 3-2 in the quarterfinals to punch his ticket to this weekend’s New Castle Semistate.He will be Mt. Vernon’s lone semistate representative this weekend.

Waterman captures first regional title

Eastern Hancock senior Jared Waterman continued his march at a potential state finals berth by winning the Richmond Regional on Saturday.The 152-pound standout, concluded the tournament a perfect 3-0 to remain unbeaten this postseason and 39-3 overall.The regional title is Waterman’s first in his career after placing runner-up at 160 pounds as a junior.

Waterman secured his second straight trip to Saturday’s New Castle Semistate with a late escape and a 2-1 decision against Centervile’s Isaiah Michaels to win in the regional finals.

Joining him at semistate will be Mitch Quinn (18-12), who placed fourth at 220, and Josh Robinson (28-10), who was fourth at heavyweight.

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Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at rtorres@greenfieldreporter.com or 317-477-3227.