NEW CASTLE — Gavin Rose never doubted what he could do. Instead, he went out and proved it.
A first-time state qualifier last year as a freshman, Rose made it two straight as one of four Hancock County wrestlers to advance out of the New Castle Semistate on Saturday and into this weekend’s state finals.
Rose (36-8) punched his ticket to state with a pin in 1 minute, 14 seconds against New Castle’s Traye Owens (29-4) during the 113-pound semistate quarterfinals after winning his first-round match by fall in 2:37.
The sophomore celebrated the feat by waving twos in the air as the first of Greenfield-Central’s state-bound trio — 126-pound Carter Noehre and 170-pound Brad Lowe — to break through.
“Last year my goal was just to make it to state,” Rose remarked on his repeat. “This year, my goal is to place and go a lot farther than I did last year.”
Already ahead of last year’s pace, Rose placed third in his weight class, one spot higher than his freshman season at 106 pounds when he took fourth.
New Palestine senior Alec White (35-1) placed second at 126 pounds to collect his fourth straight state finals appearance.
Noehre (42-3) was runner-up and Lowe (38-7) was fourth, as both juniors clinched their first-career state finals invites.
“More the merrier,” Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden said. “It’s nice that the three of them will have each other to enjoy this experience and they’re all underclassmen, so it’ll be nice that we’ll have them all back next year. These are three good kids and well deserved.”
Rose, who is ranked seventh in the state by IndianaMat, was the lone Cougars state qualifier last season. With three this time around, Greenfield-Central upped the program’s list of state qualifiers to an even 50 since 1970.
Noehre nearly added a semistate championship to the record books, steamrolling through his bracket before Roncalli’s 18th-ranked Tyce Freije (37-7) ended his run in the title match.
Prior to the finals, Noehre, who is ranked 15th in the state, opened the day with a pin in 1:25 and a 13-5 major decision against North Montgomery’s Corwyn Hall (29-15) to reach the state-qualifying final four.
In the semifinals, Noehre beat New Castle’s Trevor Ragle (40-6) by fall in 2:24.
Noehre led Freije 3-1 entering the third period of their finals match but was pinned in 4:52 during the duo’s fourth meeting of the year. Freije lost the past three matches by decision, including in the sectional and regional finals.
“That kid probably had an advantage having seen us so many times, but we have to wrestle a smarter match. We’re in positions we’ve talked about staying out of, and (Carter) knows that,” Holden said. “I look at it this way. All this does is drive him to have a great week and go into state ready to go.”
Defeat drove Rose after he lost by major decision 11-3 in the semifinals to third-ranked Skylour Turner (30-5) of Warren Central.
Able to best Turner by decision 4-2 in the sectional semifinals three weeks ago, Rose lost to the three-time state-place winner for a second consecutive time and third overall in four matches this year.
“I think he just got in my head a little bit,” Rose said. “I got frustrated with myself, and I picked it up in the third-place match. When I lost to Skylour, I knew I had to get it done: for the team, for myself, for my sister (Priscia).”
Rose pinned Cathedral’s Caleb Oliver (20-18) in 4:12 during the consolation finals.
Lowe recorded a first-round pin in 5:49 before taking down Frankton’s Logan Miller (29-9) by major decision 12-2 in the ticket round.
Lowe’s postseason winning streak ended at nine straight however, as Lowe ran into ninth-ranked Jake Ruberg (40-4) of Lawrenceburg in the semifinals.
Ruberg, a senior, knocked off third-ranked Thomas Penola (37-2) of Zionsville in the quarterfinals by decision 7-5 before beating Lowe 11-7.
Lowe faced a familiar foe in Hamilton Southeastern’s Joe Mazero (36-10) during the consolation finals. Mazero ousted Lowe in the first round of semistate last year, and he beat Lowe, again, in the consolation finals by decision 6-1.
White had little trouble in his first-round match, using 1:55 to pin his way to a 33rd consecutive victory, but his state streak hung in the balance during a grueling tiebreaker against Brailen Harrington (30-10) of North Central.
Hit with an incidental headbutt in the first period, White gritted through the state-qualifying quarterfinal with a blood-trenched scalp, which required heavy bandaging.
White, who is ranked fifth in the state, won the match by decision 3-2 with a reversal in the second overtime. Off of his game due to the head injury, White battled 13th-ranked Dallas Pugsley (41-4) of Shenandoah en route to a 7-6 decision in the semifinals.
He lost to his first match of the year however, to sixth-ranked Jordan Slivka (37-3) in the finals by decision 6-3.
White beat Slivka in their only other meeting this year in overtime 2-0.
“This isn’t the ultimate goal. Next week is, so it’s stinks right now that we lost, but we have to go back to work,” New Palestine head coach Alex Johns said. “He’s a senior. This is his last go, and (Alec) knows that. He’s been in these situations before. I think he’ll be fine.”