By Jeremy Hines
For the Daily Reporter
NEW CASTLE — Semistate can be bittersweet for high school wrestlers. This was the case Saturday at the New Castle Fieldhouse.
Greenfield-Central’s Carter Noehre (30-1) at 132 pounds and Brad Lowe (40-4) at 170, Mt. Vernon’s Chris Wilkerson (37-8) at 132 and New Palestine’s Landon Burton (42-3) at 220 all punched their ticket to the state finals.
However, they also all witnessed teammates have their seasons end just short.
There are four semistate sites in the state. Wrestlers at each site must win the first two rounds in order to advance to this Friday’s state finals. If a wrestler loses in the first or second round, their season, and for seniors their careers, come to an end.
“Semistate is a difficult day,” Noehre said. “You have to try to regroup after seeing your teammates lose. It’s hard to come back from, but you just have to get that out of your head and move on. You have to be your best every round.”
It was especially emotional for Wilkerson and Noehre. Both had brothers who advanced to the ticket round before losing close matches. Cooper Noehre lost 5-3 in overtime at 145 pounds during the second round. Chase Wilkerson, a Marauders junior, lost in the ticket round as well to the eventual champion at 120 pounds.
New Palestine’s 106-pound Christian White (34-9), Greenfield-Central’s Gavin Rose (32-4) at 120, Mt. Vernon’s P.J. Sterrett (41-8) at 182 and Eastern Hancock’s Clayton Cochard (34-9) at 195 also lost in the second round.
Greenfield-Central’s Dylan Dorman (26-16) at 113 and Larry Evans (24-13) at 126 lost in the first round. Evans was injured in the match and had to end his career with an injury default. Mt. Vernon’s Drake Kendrex (38-7) at 160, New Palestine’s Brayden Clevenger (32-12) at 195, Noah Wright (31-12) at 145 and Eastern Hancock’s Jordyn Wills (32-12) at 152 were also eliminated in the first round.
Carter Noehre pinned his first-round opponent and then won his ticket-round match 10-1. In the semifinals, Noehre defeated Chris Wilkerson 13-3 by major decision to reach the finals.
Noehre was beating Cathedral’s Alex Mosconi in the 132-pound final. He was on top of Mosconi with only 19 seconds left on the clock. Then the referees called Noehre for a questionable stalling and reset the wrestlers at the center of the mat. Mosconi was able to escape and score a takedown at the last second to win 9-6.
“All I can say is that they made the call,” Holden said about the restart at the end of the match. “If they don’t call that, we ride him out and win. We wrestle offensively every match, all match. Carter doesn’t stall. I thought he wrestled great. The ref made the call though, and that put us in a position where we needed to wrestle for 20 more seconds and we didn’t. I know Carter learned a lesson from that. We don’t make the calls, but we can learn from them. It happened, nothing will change, but we can learn from it.”
Lowe was the only other wrestler to reach the championship match. He faced No. 1-ranked Noah Warren. Lowe already had lost to Warren twice this season, and the third time ended up with the same result. Warren pinned Lowe in the closing seconds of the match.
“Noah Warren is a very, very good wrestler,” Holden said. “I really thought this was the best that Brad wrestled him. He had to try something big at the end and take a gamble. It didn’t work out and he got pinned, but I really thought he wrestled very well.”
Lowe was somber after his second-place finish.
“It’s great to advance, and I’m happy with that,” Lowe said. “But it’s difficult to see your teammates lose before you. Your emotions go from high to low during the day.”
Chris Wilkerson finished third after beating Jarred Rowlett 3-1 in the consolation match. He is the first Marauders state qualifier in approximately a decade. Burton finished fourth at the 220 pound class after losing 5-4 in the semifinal match.
The state finals will take place Friday and Saturday at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. Wrestlers that win the first round match will advance to Saturday’s competition and will be guaranteed a top-eight placing.