Magnificent Seven: County wrestlers seize seven sectional titles, 24 advance to regional

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New Palestine’s Porter Keevers grimaces as maintains control of Warren Central’s Mike Durham in the 182-pound championship match at the Shelbyville Sectional on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (Rob Baker | For The Daily Reporter)

SHELBYVILLE — With state-ranked Warren Central in the sectional field, there were no easy roads toward a team or individual weight-class title at Shelbyville High School on Saturday.

For Hancock County’s seven sectional champions however, they could care less.

New Palestine’s four weight-class victors had points to prove, while Greenfield-Central’s trio each celebrated postseason championships for the first-time in their high school wrestling careers.

As expected, Warren Central, which is ranked 19th in the state by Indianamat, won its 37th team sectional title all time and fifth straight with three individual champions, a 253.0 team score and only two wrestlers finishing fifth or lower.

Both New Palestine and Greenfield-Central countered with a combined 13 advancing to the sectional finals, while a total of 24 county wrestlers (top-four from each weight class) will move on to the Perry Meridian Regional this upcoming weekend.

Greenfield-Central finished second in the team standings with 224.5 points, followed by both Franklin Central and New Palestine at 194.0.

Eastern Hancock pushed through three individuals to regional with a pair of third-place finishers in sophomore Logan Gilman (7-10) at 106 pounds and junior Brayden Tincher (21-5) at 170.

“I don’t look at Warren Central as being unbeatable. They’re very, very good, but if you have a problem wrestling people like Warren Central, then you’re in the wrong sport because we don’t have classes,” G-C head coach Josh Holden said.

“You have to beat them. You have to beat the Cathedrals, the Evansville Mater Deis. We haven’t done that obviously, but if you want to win something, you have to go through one of them usually, so our kids fight hard. They believe in themselves.”

That mindset was personified at 113 as G-C Cougars frosh Lincoln Parsons avenged the past to secure a regional berth with two pins. His first was timed at 4 minutes, 27 seconds in the semifinal round before he bested New Palestine freshman Bryce Doss (25-6) in 3:35.

“I’m really proud because that kid pinned me in conference a few weeks ago, and me and him usually go back and forth. I beat him when it counts,” Parsons said. “I just zoned in at the beginning of this week, and that’s all I thought about. I knew I was probably going to make it to the finals, so I was just concerned about beating him.”

Parsons lost to Doss by fall in 50 seconds in the championship round at Yorktown High School during the Hoosier Heritage Conference Championships two weekends ago.

“Lincoln was 1-3 against that kid,” Holden said. “This time, (Lincoln) went out to win the match instead of hoping not to lose the match, and he went out and he won.”

G-C’s Clay Guenin, who is ranked 15th in the state at 160, improved his season record to 31-4 behind three straight falls and a 9-0 major decision in the finals over Warren Central’s Brenton Russell (34-5).

Guenin’s fastest fall was in 52 seconds in the quarterfinals. His first was timed at 1:11 and his third came in at 3:17 during the semifinals. In 2020-21, Guenin finished sixth at sectional as a freshman.

“Last year at sectional, I didn’t move on to regional, and then (our team’s season) was canceled by COVID (before regional), so all around that was just a huge bummer, but being able to come out here today with so many guys on our team getting to the finals it feels awesome,” Guenin said.

“I never left the wrestling room (this offseason). I was on it. I was going to different clubs. I went to Red Cobra and CIA. I was doing everything I could. You need the dedication and put in the work, if you want to be good at wrestling.”

G-C junior Zeke Holden has followed a similar path.

After falling short of a HHC title this season, Holden (21-14) put together a decisive run to capture his first individual sectional title. He won by fall in the 145-pound semifinal at 42 seconds and prevailed by injury default in 5:49 over Franklin Central’s Kyan Sparks during the finals.

“It’s awesome to see all the hard work me and my brothers put in finally payoff,” said Zeke Holden, coach Holden’s son. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. This is my first bracket that I’ve ever won, so it feels really, really good to finally get one.”

Dragons’ frosh Cole Vandygriff (17-4) at 106, sophomore Elijah Alonso (13-11) at 132, senior Porter Keevers (18-1) at 182 and senior Porter May (20-10) at 220 also each broke through to win sectional titles.

For Vandygriff two falls put him atop the podium at 1:01 and 47 seconds. New Palestine’s Alonso recorded back-to-back decisions in the quarterfinals and semifinals at 8-7 and 6-2, respectively, before beating Shelbyville’s Cael Lux (18-14) by major decision 11-3 in the finals.

“I came in the lowest seeded, so I wasn’t expecting to get up atop the podium,” Alonso said. “It feels amazing. As soon as I got my hand raised and I knew it was all over, I gave a big smile. I think, it just shows we’re a hard-working group. We’re good under pressure and we get better as the day goes on.”

For Keevers, time continues to reveal his potential.

Committing to the University of Indianapolis last week, 16th-ranked Keevers flexed at center mat after winning his 16th consecutive match in the sectional finals by decision 9-3 over Warren Central’s 23rd-ranked Mike Durham (35-4).

As a junior, Keevers placed fourth at 170.

“I got beat up pretty bad that day (last year). It really bugged me, and that’s when I decided I needed to work harder,” Keevers said. “You have to aim higher. You always aim for more, and that’s why I kept working and got better.

“My first two seasons, I won six matches in total. First two years on varsity were the first two years I wrestled. It really feels great winning this tournament when two years ago I was in here in sixth-place after getting beat up.”

May, who placed fourth at 220 in 2020-21, wasn’t able to advance as a junior due to COVID-19 protocols. Now, he’s heading to regional as a potential top-seed. The Dragon won by fall in 50 seconds to reach the sectional finals and beat Franklin Central’s Quentin Keesee (23-6) by decision 3-1 for his first title.

“After being quarantined last year, it’s been real big coming back senior year and just giving it all I have,” May said. “We’re pushing each other in practice and pushing everyone to get better. All of us just want to get better. It’s all we can do.”

2022 Shelbyville Wrestling Sectional

Team Scores: Warren Central 253.0, Greenfield-Central 224.5, Franklin Central 194.0, New Palestine 194.0, Triton Central 102.0, Shelbyville 73.0, Eastern Hancock 69.0, Indianapolis Lutheran 55.0, Scecina Memorial 39.0.

Championship Match Results

106: Cole Vandygriff, NP def. Ayden Nufio, TC by fall 0:47

113: Lincoln Parsons, GC def. Bryce Doss, NP by fall 3:35

120: Kyrel Leavell, WC def. Nate Miller, GC by fall 1:21

126: Ashton Brandon, FC def. Chris Bullock, NP by fall 2:34

132: Elijah Alonso, NP def. Cael Lux, SH by maj. dec. 11-3

138: Cayden Shelton, FC def. Sterling Smith, WC by fall 3:22

145: Isaiah Holden, GC def. Kyan Sparks, FC by inj. def. 5:49

152: Tyler Jones, WC def. Josh VanOsdol, GC by fall 2:24

160: Clay Guenin, GC def. Brenton Russell, WC by maj. dec. 9-0

170: Anthony Cashman II, WC def. Chase Gardner, GC by dec. 3-1

182: Porter Keevers, NP def. Mike Durham, WC by dec. 9-3

195: Aataevon Jordan, FC def. Jacob Tweedy, NP by dec. 11-4

220: Porter May, NP def. Quentin Keesee, FC by dec. 3-1

285: Andrew Just, FC def. Perris Green, WC by dec. 5-1

Third-Place Match Results

106: Logan Gilman, EH def. Braedon Ayres, GC by fall 1:58

113: Terry Easley, WC def. Dayne Bailey, TC by forfeit

120: Collin Ball, FC def. Parker Woodruff, IL by fall 1:47

126: Dakota Herald, GC def. Cameron Volz, EH by dec. 4-3

132: Adrian Cohen, WC def. Timmy Day, FC by maj. dec. 10-2

138: Matt Wickham, GC def. Jaden Ferris, TC by dec. 11-7

145: Willie Hernandez, WC def. Ethan Sleeth, NP by dec. 12-5

152: Lucas Kleeman, TC def. Jeremy Cox, FC by dec. 6-5 (TB-1)

160: Joe Davis, IL def. Tristan Gibbons, TC by fall 0:33

170: Brayden Tincher, EH def. Bryce Kriech, FC by fall 4:16

182: Hadyn Ball, TC def. Silas Frye, GC by dec. 3-0

195: Brylin Smith, WC def. Isaiah Sitton, GC by fall 0:45

220: Greg Johnson, WC def. Jacob Harker, SH by fall 0:25

285: Juan Camacho, NP def. Brayden Flener, GC by dec. 4-1

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