INDIANAPOLIS — The emotions were difficult to contain following his final match at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, but through the frustration, New Palestine junior Alec White could see the positives.
Three trips to the IHSAA wrestling state finals in three years, two state medals, nothing preventing him from getting back next year.
“It’s a good thing, but I definitely thought I could have done better,” White remarked while getting choked up momentarily. “Sixth at state is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Not at all.
Ranked second in the state a majority of the season at 113 pounds by IndianaMat.com, the New Palestine junior finished with a 44-3 record.
Two of those losses came against one wrestler, Warren Central’s Skylour Turner (44-4), who placed fifth with a narrow 3-2 win against White in the state tournament’s consolation final.
It marked the fourth time the two locked up this season as the rivals split the series 2-2. White’s first win against the state’s third-ranked wrestler handed Turner his first defeat of the season.
At the Shelbyville Sectional, Turner returned the favor in the finals, halting White’s winning streak at 35 straight matches, but it fueled him the rest of the way. Knocking off Turner in overtime to claim his third career regional title and a week later his first semistate championship, White powered through to reach the state finals’ podium.
He placed fourth as a freshman at 106 and fell in the first round as a state qualifier at 113 a year ago.
“We had a good year for him after last year, not being able to place, getting here again, I’m proud of him,” New Palestine head coach Chad Red Sr. said. “He’s an all-state place winner, and he’s got one more year to go. Try again next year, and try to do it again.”
That’s the plan for the 4.0 GPA academic all-state student-athlete, who wasn’t the only top-tier wrestler in his weight class to face hardship.
Upsets ran rampant at 113 during the 78th Annual IHSAA wrestling state finals. Five top 15 wrestlers fell through the first two rounds, with White getting derailed by No. 14 Geoffrey Davis (34-5) of Fort Wayne Wayne in the quarterfinals.
Surprisingly, No. 20 Christian Mejia (42-5) of Elkhart Memorial advanced to the championship match before his run ended against top-ranked Colton Cummings (46-0) of Lowell by fall in 3:40.
“That’s what happens in this tournament. You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. It’s always tough,” White said.
White’s perseverance showed as he rallied with a late three-point swing to push past sixth-ranked Nick Weaver (40-6) of Brownsburg by decision 5-3 in the consolation wrestlebacks.
“A lot of people said it was going to be the semifinals, so I had to prove something,” said White, who finished 2-2 at state. “You never want to lose back-to-back. You always want to bounce back. That shows some toughness.”
White’s teammate, senior Jared Timberman, showed his grit as well, advancing through the semistate and the first night at state despite a shoulder injury.
Suffering a severe dislocation in the 145-pound state quarterfinals, Timberman, who was ranked second, injury defaulted during the first period to eventual state champion Joe Lee (32-2) of Evansville Mater Dei.
After a trip to IU Health Methodist Hospital, Timberman returned in the evening to support his team and received his eighth-place medal.
“That shoulder gave out,” Red Sr. said. “It was just a tough way to go. You qualify for state your senior year and you can only come and wrestle a match and a period. I wish it could have been different for him because he worked so hard for it, but he still finished a state place winner.”
White would like to make it three in his career with a fourth trip as a senior next February.
“I’ll look back on this season and see what I can do better. I feel I can only place higher from here,” White said. “I just need to keep working.”