County wrestlers power through to semistate

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By James Howell Jr./For The Daily Reporter

INDIANAPOLIS — The qualifying wrestlers of Eastern Hancock, New Palestine and Greenfield-Central took to the mat at Perry Meridian on Saturday for the regional round of the IHSAA state tournament.

With scheduling uncertainties throughout the week due to a winter storm, the wrestlers never lost focus and represented Hancock County well against some of the state’s best.

Though no regional champions came out of the three Hancock County representatives, a total of 14 wrestlers advanced to the next round.

Greenfield-Central will send the most wrestlers to the New Castle Semistate with seven Cougars making it through. Headlining the group will be regional runners-up Lincoln Parsons (23-11) and Chase Gardner (29-8).

Parsons, a freshman representing the Cougars in the 113-pound weight class, advanced to the regional final by running through wrestlers from Beech Grove and Warren Central.

Gardner advanced to the final for the Cougars at 170 and set up a rematch of last week’s sectional final, but fell by decision, 8-1.

The duo propelled the Cougars to a fourth-place team finish — the highest among county teams. Roncalli dominated the team score with 205.5 points from their six regional champions.

Cougars head coach Josh Holden stated there wasn’t much he could be upset about by the tournament’s conclusion.

“It is hard as a coach sometimes to see the growth when you are so closely involved,” Holden said. “I, personally, thought we could have done more. At the same time though, I had other coaches coming up to me saying how impressed they were. So I don’t really know right now. The big thing is regardless of how I feel, we get to send seven guys to the next round.”

A year removed from a heartbreaking end to the season because of COVID-19 protocols, Holden says the happiness he holds for his team is unmatched.

“Last year was hard,” Holden said. “I have all of these guys on the team, and even my own son, who had to learn to deal with that. They show up every single day this year on a mission though and with a smile on their face ready to compete. You can’t ask for more as a coach.”

Joining Gardner and Parsons next week will be regional third-place finishers Dakota Herald (26-9) at 126, Matt Wickam (22-16) at 138 and Clay Guenin (33-5) at 160. They will be joined by fourth-place finishers Isaiah Holden (22-16) at 145 and Josh VanOsdol (23-14) at 152.

The Eastern Hancock Royals will be represented next week by third-place finisher Brayden Tincher (23-6) at 170.

A total of six New Palestine Dragons will advance to the semistate round. This group is headlined by UIndy commit Porter Keevers (20-2) at 182 and Jacob Tweedy (23-9) at 195.

Keevers pushed his win streak to 19 straight matches and reached the regional finals. In that match, his run ended against Luke Hansen (31-2) of Roncalli by major decision, 12-4.

Tweedy had perhaps the most impressive performance of any wrestler at the meet. Wrestling at 195, Tweedy overcame the odds of being up against three of the top-15 wrestlers in the state in his weight class.

By defeating Sam Peeples (30-4) of Roncalli in the semifinal, Tweedy advanced to the final to meet defending eighth-place state finisher Aataevon Jordan (26-1) of Franklin Central. In the championship match, Tweedy was edged in sudden-victory overtime by decision 5-3.

Dragons head coach Scott Dawson explained what he saw from Tweedy and what impressed him the most.

“Jacob wrestled really well today,” Dawson said. “We all knew he had a tough path today, but we never doubted him and he never doubted himself. He grinded that championship match into overtime with a great wrestler. I thought we got the point to win it, but unfortunately it was called another way. Regardless, the way he handled himself after that close match says everything.”

Tweedy met his opponent after the match to make sure he was alright after suffering a cut earlier in the day.

Dawson’s Dragons will have four others wrestling next week. Cole Vandygriff (19-5) at 106, Bryce Doss (27-7) at 113, Porter May (22-11) at 220 and Juan Camacho (22-12) at 285, each finished third.

The New Castle Semistate takes place this upcoming Saturday with spots for the state finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on the line.

Marauders push five to semistate

PENDLETON — The Mt. Vernon Marauders sent eight wrestlers to Saturday’s Pendleton Heights Regional and will have five representing the team at this upcoming weekend’s New Castle Semistate.

The Marauders finished Saturday’s regional third as a team with 70.0 points behind champion Cathedral (233.5) and runner-up Hamilton Heights (93.0).

Mt. Vernon had a trio of regional runner-ups in Zach Haughton (26-8) at 132 pounds, Carson Johnson (32-2) at 138 and Devin Kendrex (28-5) at 220.

Aiden Kiner (30-9) at 145 and Connor Bayliss (25-10) at 106 both placed third in their respective weight classes.

Haughton reached the finals behind a 12-2 major decision in the quarterfinal round and followed with a 3-0 decision against Pendleton Heights’ Jack Todd (21-4) in the semifinals. He lost to Cathedral’s Zeke Seltzer (35-1) by technical fall in the finals.

Johnson won his first match by pin in 1 minute, 36 seconds and received a forfeit in the semifinals. In his finals match, Johnson lost a hard-fought 9-4 decision to Cathedral’s Luke Gonzalez (29-6) for second place.

Kendrex scored a pin in the quarterfinals in 4:42 and won by decision 7-6 in the semifinals over Hamilton Heights’ Josh Brown (32-7), but he lost in the finals by decision 6-3 to Cathedral’s Jackson Weingart (24-11).

— By Rich Torres

2021-22 New Castle Semistate Wrestling Qualifiers

New Palestine (6)

106: Cole Vandygriff

113: Bryce Doss

182: Porter Keevers

195: Jacob Tweedy

220: Porter May

285: Juan Camacho

Greenfield-Central (7)

113: Lincoln Parsons

126: Dakota Herald

138: Matt Wickham

145: Isaiah Holden

152: Josh VanOsdol

160: Clay Guenin

170: Chase Gardner

Eastern Hancock (1)

170: Brayden Tincher

Mt. Vernon (5)

106: Connor Bayliss

132: Zach Haughton

138: Carson Johnson

145: Aiden Kiner

220: Devin Kendrex

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