INDIANAPOLIS — Alec White has one rule: no celebration until it’s over. He broke his one rule on Friday night, but for good reason.
Handed what was called a “death draw” by many onlookers of the first round of the IHSAA wrestling state finals on Friday night, White didn’t merely survive, he positioned himself for another run at greatness.
White (36-1) defeated third-ranked 126-pound Colton Cummings (25-3) of Lowell by decision 5-3 in one of the elimination round’s most-anticipated matches to advance into today’s medal rounds at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I could not help it,” said White, who jumped around, pumped his fist and sprinted off the mat following the win. “I had to, especially with the amount of support I had here tonight. It’s a special place here. I let it out for a little bit.”
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Cummings entered the night aiming for a third consecutive state title after winning the 113-pound title last year and the 106 championship as a sophomore. The senior, just like White, was a four-time state qualifier.
Something had to give, and White, a two-time state-place winner, left nothing to chance with is shot at a third medal on the line.
The fifth-ranked 126-pounder jumped ahead 2-0 in the first period with a takedown, but Cummings tied the match at 2-all before the third.
With less than a minute remaining in the match, White made his decisive move, scoring an escape point from the down position and driving forward immediately for a two-point takedown and a 5-2 lead.
“It was about going out there and putting points on the board,” White said. “When I get cautious is when I don’t wrestle as well. It happened for a second at the end of the first and the start of the second. In the third period, I knew I had to go, finish and get the win.”
White, who placed sixth at 113 pounds last year, surrendered a late escape, but was never threatened in the final 30 seconds.
“We worked on bottom, especially for him. We knew he was going crossface on the throat. He’s real physical on top, and I had to get my hips out. When I turned, I thought about backing up with the one, but I went for the two,” White said. “I wanted to seal it that way.”
White will face seventh-ranked Matt Lee (27-5) of Evansville Mater Dei in today’s state quarterfinals. Lee and White met in the Mater Dei Holiday Classic Tournament semifinals this past December. White won by fall in 4:46.
“It’s business all day tomorrow,” White said. “He’s a goer.”
Greenfield-Central’s Gavin Rose (37-8) will join White as a state medalist today after he advanced to his first-career state Saturday. A first-time state qualifier last year, Rose, a sophomore, succumbed to the enormity of the opener.
In his second go-around, he was more than ready.
Rose beat ninth-ranked Seth Horty (41-7) of Evansville Memorial by decision 8-4 to move on. Rose will see Jimtown’s sixth-ranked Hunter Watts (46-2) in the quarterfinals.
Rose fell behind 2-0 in the first period before scoring five unanswered points and getting called for two penalties points in the third.
“After the match, I was so happy because I did it for her, my sister (Priscia),” Rose said. “I went up to the stands and went to my family and hugged them, then right after that, I ran down here for Carter (Noehre).”
With three state qualifiers, the Greenfield-Central Cougars were hoping to push the trio through, but both Noehre and 170-pound Brad Lowe lost in the opening round.
Noehre (42-4), ranked 15th in the state, fell by decision 6-2 to top-ranked 120-pound Ty Mills (35-2) of Brownsburg. Mills placed third at 106 last year.
Lowe (38-8), a first-time state qualifier like Noehre, lost to eighth-ranked Bryce Baumgartner (31-1) of Bellmont by major decision 14-3. Noehre and Lowe both were sectional and regional champions en route to their state appearances, which pushed the program’s qualifying total to 50 overall since 1970.
“I hear other coaches say all the time, how no one gives them the respect for how good they really are,” Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden said. “I think in the rankings, they get overlooked a little bit, but other coaches know how good they are. What great kids. I’m proud of them.”