MUNCIE — Alec White was carefree on Saturday afternoon. Much like his 24-0 record this season, everything was perfect for the New Palestine senior.
More than content while standing atop the winner’s podium for a fourth straight year as a Hoosier Heritage Conference weight-class champion, White was admittedly, “having a lot of fun.”
“Last season, I just won matches, which I think hurt me a little bit,” White remarked after cruising to the 126-pound HHC title. “This year, I’m trying to put up as many points as I can and as many pins as I can, and have as much fun as possible.”
White, who is ranked fifth in the state by IndianaMat, achieved all three at Delta High School.
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The Purdue recruit opened his HHC conquest by pinning his first opponent in 14 seconds before rolling to a 17-1 technical fall in the semifinals. He capped his flawless day with a 9-2 decision against Yorktown’s Xayvier Curtis (23-5) in the finals.
“This is special. This is a tough conference. They’re all good,” said White, who is 144-17 in his four-year career. “I’m proud of this championship.”
He wasn’t alone.
One of four individual HHC champions from Hancock County, White was joined by 220-pound Dragons’ teammate Landan Burton (23-4), a junior, who secured his second consecutive title.
Greenfield-Central’s seventh-ranked Gavin Rose (29-4) dominated the 113-pound field for his first HHC championship after finishing runner-up as a freshman at 106 last year.
Senior Lee Dullaghan (29-5) defended his top-seed placement at 195 to give the Cougars their second HHC champion.
Greenfield-Central finished second as a team overall with 202.5 points behind HHC team champion Yorktown (250.5), which sent 10 wrestlers to the finals and won eight weight classes.
The Cougars were chasing their first HHC team title since 2012, but despite falling short of their goal, they improved upon their sixth-place performance in last season.
“Very seldom do we not come ready to battle, and very seldom do my guys not want to wrestle the best,” said Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden, who was named HHC Coach of the Year. “Meets like this are fun for my guys and a challenge. We came in today knowing we could win, but also knowing if we didn’t wrestle our absolute best, we wouldn’t win. Yorktown was everything they’re made out to be.”
Delta was third (170.0) while Mt. Vernon (128.0) and New Palestine (110.5) were sixth and seventh, respectively.
Greenfield-Central had five wrestlers reach the finals with three taking runner-up honors in 106-pound Luke Sheridan (21-12), Cooper Noehre (25-9) at 138, and Brad Lowe (29-5) at 170.
Carter Noehre (32-2), who is ranked ninth in the state, lost his second match of the year against eventual HHC champion Josh Stephenson (29-4) in the semifinal by decision 9-4.
Noehre bounced back, however, placing third with a hard-fought 4-2 decision against Mt. Vernon’s Chase Wilkerson (34-6) in the consolation finals.
“I thought that was the toughest weight class in the tournament from top to bottom,” Holden said. “The kid he lost to wasn’t a slouch. Carter is the kind of kid that’s going to go back to work and won’t let this keep him down.
“This isn’t the one he wants to win. There’s a big one in about five weeks that we want to win more. I still think he’s one of the best kids in the state of Indiana.”
The Cougars had two more third-place finishers in Larry Evans (25-11) at 126 and Hunter Gulden (18-12) at heavyweight.
Mt. Vernon, which set a new school record with 22 dual meet wins this season, had a pair of HHC runners-up in PJ Sterrett (23-14) at 182 and Drake Tackett (32-7) at 160.
“I thought they could make it. I knew they would have to wrestle above their seeds, and they did,” Mt. Vernon head coach Chad Masters said. “I’m really proud of them. They were really aggressive. We represented really well.”
The Marauders, who were short two starters, had five more competitors place in the top-four with Chris Wilkerson (31-9) at 132 and Drake Kendrex (26-11) at 170 both securing third.
Five Dragons claimed spots in the top four with sophomore Brayden Clevenger (14-11) finishing third at 182.
Yorktown’s six state-ranked wrestlers clinched HHC titles after helping the team win the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Class 2A Team State Duals last month.
Top-ranked Brayden Curtis (27-0) at 106, No. 4 Christian Hunt (29-1) at 132, Eric Hiestand (28-1) at 138, Colt Rutter (28-5) at 152, No. 1 Brad Laughlin (30-1), and No. 12 Jacob Rhoades (29-2) were all victorious.
Dullaghan, along with White, kept the Tigers from claiming 10 total weight classes, as the former used last year’s near-miss as motivation in his senior campaign.
“This means a lot to me because last year I got to the finals and got pinned,” Dullaghan said. “I came back with a vengeance to win. Everything worked out.”
Rose had one goal — beyond winning. It took him a combined 4:13 to do it.
“I wanted to pin my way through the tournament,” said Rose, whose fastest fall was 50 seconds in the finals. “That’s exactly what happened.”
A winner at 195 pounds as a sophomore, Burton seized the 220-pound championship with back-to-back pins in 4:16 and 5:21.
“This gives me a lot of confidence. Freshman year, I won sectional. Last year, I lost in the finals,” Burton said. “Hopefully, this helps me get ready to win it again this year.”
For White, a fourth straight state finals appearance and third-career placement is top priority, along with a potential third sectional, fourth regional and second semistate championship.
The key, White said, is enjoying the moment — past, present and future.
“Freshman year, it was pretty special (winning HHC) because I came in and I wasn’t the one seed. I was the underdog. All the other years, I kind of expected to win,” he said. “This year, I probably put together my best tournament from start to finish. It was a great day.”
Team Scores: Yorktown 250.5, Greenfield-Central 202.5, Delta 170.0, New Castle 160.0, Pendleton Heights 158.5, Mt. Vernon 128.0, New Palestine 110.5, Shelbyville 26.0.
106: Brayden Curtis (Y) def. Luke Sheridan (GC) by fall 1:40
113: Gavin Rose (GC) def. John Robinson (D) by fall 0:50
120: Josh Stephenson (Y) def. Trevor Ragle (NC) by dec. 8-1
126: Alec White (NP) def. Xayvier Curtis (Y) by dec. 9-2
132: Christian Hunt (Y) def. Ben Avey (PH) by maj. dec. 18-6
138: Eric Hiestand (Y) def. Cooper Noehre (GC) by dec. 8-2
145: Alex Barr (Y) def. Sam Buck (NC) by dec. 1-0
152: Colt Rutter (Y) def. Alex Johnson (PH) by fall 5:36
160: Brad Laughlin (Y) def. Drake Tackett (MV) by call 1:12
170: Brady Pease (D) def. Brad Lowe (GC) by dec. 6-2
182: Jacob Gray (D) def. PJ Sterrett (MV) by fall 2:32
195: Lee Dullaghan (GC) def. Kelly Watson (Y) by dec. 7-1
220: Landan Burton (NP) def. Dalton Clouse (NC) by fall 5:21
285: Jacob Rhoades (Y) def. Holden Lawson (PH) by fall 3:38
106: Nathen West (D) def. Chase Nelson (NP) by dec. 7-1
113: Traye Owens (NC) def. Jacob Flew (PH) by dec. 5-0
120: Carter Noehre (GC) def. Chase Wilkerson (MV) by dec. 4-2
126: Larry Evans (GC) def. Max Hayes (MV) by fall 0:34
132: Chris Wilkerson (MV) def. Bryton Tuttle (NC) by dec. 2-1
138: Dalton Love (D) def. Caleb Gibson (PH) by dec. 11-9 OT (SV-1)
145: Noah Richardson (D) def. Riley Fletcher (GC) by fall 2:10
152: Corbin Hines (NC) def. Gavin Hanson (MV) by fall 2:54
160: Dawson Miller (PH) def. Jeffrey Melton (NC) by dec. 4-1
170: Drake Kendrex (MV) def. Trajan Hines (NC) by dec. 3-1
182: Brayden Clevenger (Y) def. Brandon Johns (PH) by fall 2:05
195: Bailey Maxwell (D) def. Damasio Gutierrez (NC) by fall 2:26
220: Holden Parsons (Y) def. Andrew Surber (PH) by dec. 3-2
285: Hunter Gulden (GC) def. Hunter Holcombe (NP) by dec. 5-2