INDIANAPOLIS — New Palestine’s Alec White wasn’t the hunter or the hunted on Saturday. He was both.
In pursuit of a fourth-straight state finals finale, the unbeaten 126-pound senior had tunnel vision during the Warren Central Sectional, and it led to a second-career championship.
The top-seeded wrestler in his weight class, White (29-0) cleared the state tournament’s first hurdle using a total of 12 minutes and 51 seconds of mat time with three pins and a 6-2 decision in the sectional championship match.
“(Assistant) coach (Josh) Franklin kept telling me, ‘no close matches and open it up,'” said White, who is ranked fifth in the state by IndianaMat. “That’s what I try to do every time I go out there.
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“I’m not worried about who I’m wrestling. I’m focused on me.”
Staying within himself, White achieved his goal for the second time in three years. Four other wrestlers from Hancock County also followed suit, with 18 competitors overall moving on to this weekend’s Perry Meridian Regional.
Greenfield-Central juniors Carter Noehre (36-2), ranked 15th in the state, and Brad Lowe (33-5) both captured their first-career sectional titles at 120 and 170, respectively.
Mt. Vernon’s undefeated senior heavyweight Peyton Wuerch (25-0), who is ranked 17th in the state, recorded two falls and a 2-1 decision in the finals to win his first sectional. New Palestine’s 19th-ranked Landan Burton (27-4) was first at 220 for his second-career title.
Greenfield-Central placed third as a team with 162.54 points and nine regional qualifiers. Roncalli won the team championship with 254.52 points. Last year’s team state champion, Warren Central, was sectional runner-up with 190.53 points.
The Cougars were chasing their first sectional team title since 1998 after placing second a year ago. Instead, they collected the program’s 119th and 120th individual sectional championships and had four top-two placers with two third-place finishers.
“Up and down the line, every single match, we came to battle,” Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden said. “We wrestled hard and we wrestled like we cared. That’s the kind of kids we have.”
Cougars freshman Cooper Noehre (27-11) nearly joined his brother as a champion taking second at 138. Gavin Rose (32-5), who is ranked seventh in the state, was runner-up at 113, but the sophomore scored some revenge while improving from last year’s third-place finish at 106.
Falling to Warren Central’s third-ranked Skylour Turner (25-3) by decision 4-2 during the regular-season, Rose returned the favor, defeating him 4-2 in the sectional semifinals.
In the championship, Roncalli’s second-ranked Alec Viduya (36-2), a freshman, ended Rose’s run, however, with a 6-4 decision, marking the duo’s third meeting this year. Viduya has won all three matches by four or fewer points.
“It’s really frustrating. It seems like every time I wrestle him, he’s improved, but I’ve also improved,” Rose remarked on the rivalry. “We’re going to work a lot harder this week to get him.”
Carter Noehre, who settled for a disappointing third-place ribbon at the Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet two weeks ago, had a point to prove at sectional.
He did it by running the table and knocking off 19th-ranked Brice Coleman of Warren Central (24-9) in the semifinals with a pin in 5:54. In the title match, Noehre beat 18th-ranked Tyce Freije of Roncalli (31-6) by decision 1-0.
“I felt like I needed to wrestle harder this week (after conference) and be more prepared for today,” said Noehre, who pinned his first opponent in 48 seconds. “This sets me up really well for regional.”
Lowe earned a potentially favorable regional seed as well as posting back-to-back pins to reach the sectional finals, where he bested Warren Central’s Danny Acevedo (23-14) by decision 6-4 with a late two-point nearfall in the final minute.
“I’ve wrestled him a few times, so I kind of knew what he was going to do. I knew if I could get on top, I could turn him,” Lowe said. “We’ve been working a lot with our offense, and I was ready to get after it.”
Burton, a sectional champion as a freshman at 195, battled through a shoulder injury from earlier in the week to win his second title in three years. New Palestine had three regional qualifiers overall with Brayden Clevenger placing fourth at 182.
Burton, a junior, dominated from his first match with a 33-second pin in the quarterfinals and a 48-second fall in the semifinals. He won the championship by decision 6-4.
“This means a lot. I didn’t win it last year, but now I have two-time sectional champ under my belt,” Burton said. “I like it.”
The Mt. Vernon Marauders had six regional qualifiers — one better than last year — including sectional runner-ups in senior Drake Tackett (35-9) at 160 and sophomore PJ Sterrett (26-15) at 182.
Wuerch, who was sidelined the past few weeks with a sprained ankle, returned to the mat a few days prior to sectional where he faced yet another challenge.
“He missed a couple of days of school this week, Monday and Tuesday, because he had the flu, so he’s still not healthy and coming back from the ankle,” Mt. Vernon head coach Chad Masters said. “I’m really proud of him.”
Wuerch racked up two pins in 2:23 and 3:35 before fending off Roncalli’s Marc Roland (27-10) in the finals.
“This just shows hard work pays off and believing in God. I sat there and prayed an hour before my match because I didn’t feel real confident because I’m sick,” he said. “This is the first tournament I’ve ever won. It means a lot. Hopefully, I’ll go far and win regional, too.”
Warren Central Sectional Tournament
Team Scores: Roncalli 254.2, Warren Central 190.53, Greenfield-Central 162.54, Franklin Central 149.55, Beech Grove 149.06, Mt. Vernon 123.07, New Palestine 88.08, Shelbyville 39.09, Triton Central 20.010, Indianapolis Lutheran 16.011, Indianapolis Marshall 0.0.
Championship Match Results
106: Josh Vaugh, Franklin Central (27-4) def. Sam Slivka, Roncalli (24-12), dec. 6-5
113: Alec Viduya, Roncalli (36-2) def. Gave Rose, Greenfield-Central (32-5), dec. 6-4
120: Carter Noehre, Greenfield-Central (36-2) def. Tyce Freije, Roncalli (31-6), dec. 1-0
126: Alec White, New Palestine (29-0) def. Dylan Culp, Warren Central (26-8), dec. 6-2
132: Ethan Smiley, Beech Grove (36-0) def. Tim Wright, Warren Central (26-9), dec. 6-3
138: Bailey Moore, Beech Grove (35-2) def. Cooper Noehre, Greenfield-Central (27-11), dec. 5-1
145: Antwaun Graves, Warren Central (32-2) def. Pat Waugh, Roncalli (31-9), maj. dec. 16-6
152: Walter Ballinger, Beech Grove (32-6) def. Trent Smith, Roncalli (21-11), def. 5-0
160: Elijah Mahan, Roncalli (31-5) def. Drake Tackett, Mt. Vernon (35-9), fall 5:43
170: Brad Lowe, Greenfield-Central (33-5) def. Danny Acevedo, Warren Central (23-14), dec. 6-4
182: Sam Hansen, Roncalli (35-3) def. PJ Sterrett, Mt. Vernon (26-15), fall 5:54
195: Tristen Tonte, Warren Central (29-1) def. John Owensby, Franklin Central (36-3), maj. dec. 14-3
220: Landan Burton, New Palestine (27-4) def. Isaiah Greene, Beech Grove (20-9), dec. 6-4
285: Peyton Wuerch, Mt. Vernon (25-0) def. Marc Roland, Roncalli (27-10), dec. 2-1
Third-Place Match Results
106: Chris Stewart, Warren Central (24-8) def. Luke Sheridan, Greenfield-Central (25-14), dec. 8-3
113: Skylour Turner, Warren Central (25-3) def. Kody Conaway, Beech Grove (32-8), maj. dec. 9-1
120: Chase Wilkerson, Mt. Vernon (39-7) def. Brice Coleman, Warren Central (24-9), dec. 8-1
126: Larry Evans, Greenfield-Central (28-12) def. Chase Peavler, Franklin Central (32-9), SV-1 3-1
132: Josh Hiatt, Roncalli (29-12) def. Brandon Hedden, Franklin Central (25-13), fall 2:22
138: Brian Kenney, Roncalli (23-11) def. Jalen Blackburn, Warren Central (23-8), dec. 4-3
145: Riley Fletcher, Greenfield-Central (27-14) def. Zach Worden, Franklin Central (31-11), fall 3:19
152: Tyler Rodriguez, Franklin Central (14-16) def. Gavin Hanson, Mt. Vernon (19-18), dec. 8-1
160: Nate Sanchez, Beech Grove def. Aaron Taylor, Warren Central (16-16), dec. 6-1
170: Lorenzo Salazar, Roncalli (21-15) def. Drake Kendrex, Mt. Vernon (29-14), dec. 3-1
182: Gavin Keesee, Franklin Central (21-15) def. Brayden Clevenger, New Palestine (17-14), dec. 9-8
195: Grant Duncan, Roncall (20-16) def. Kaleb Pike, Shelbyville (17-18), dec. 6-2
220: John Harris, Roncalli (12-4) def. Aaron Young, Greenfield-Central (23-18), fall 3:01
285: Emeka Jilliani, Indianapolis Lutheran (15-4) def. Hunter Gulden, Greenfield-Central (21-14), fall 3:35
* Top-four finishers advance