INDIANAPOLIS – For the second consecutive season, Mt. Vernon advanced eight wrestlers on to the regional round. But something that avoided them last year — sectional championships — were to be found this time around.
Of the eight Marauders to place in the top four of their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Indianapolis Arsenal Tech Sectional, six made it to the championship round.
“Getting into the finals going into the regional sets us up well to get those guys in,” Mt. Vernon head coach Randal Hayes said. “It was pretty close to what we thought today. We let a couple slip away from us, but I think we are set up pretty good to get seven or eight through next week now.”
Cathedral took home the team title with 304 points and were followed by Bishop Chatard (191), Mt. Vernon (177), North Central (152), Lawrence North (151), Tech (77), Brebeuf (65), Lawrence Central (62), and Indiana School for the Deaf (48).
Two of the Marauders to make the championship round took home a sectional title.
Sophomore Conner Bayliss was the 106-pound champion, and freshman Elijah Broady won the 120-pound division.
“With Conner being a sophomore and Elijah a freshman, they didn’t just win, they won handily against guys that were ranked much higher than them in the state rankings,” Hayes said. “How smart they wrestled is what really made the difference. I think those two go to the state tournament now. Those wins really set them up to go and make a deep run.”
After a fourth-place finish at last year’s sectional, Bayliss (32-6) made the jump up three spots to take home the title in decisive fashion, defeating Indianapolis Cathedral’s John Bissmeyer (22-11) by decision 7-0.
“There were a lot of people that moved out of the weight class, which helps, but I also feel like I’ve gotten better from freshman year,” Bayliss said. “It’s really cool because I never thought I’d get this good.”
Two championship matches later, it was the Marauder freshman, Broady (31-4), with a decisive win of his own to give Mt. Vernon their second first-place finish.
He defeated Cathedral’s Gavin Bragg (24-12) by decision 6-1.
“It means a lot. That was my original goal,” Broady said. “The main goal is to get to state, so you’ve just got to take it round by round. It’s the same thing now, just the same pace, same wrestling, and wrestling smart.”
Four other Marauders suffered losses in the championship match.
At 145 and 152 pounds, both Aiden Kiner and Elijah Kiner lost by major decision to opponents from Cathedral.
Aiden (30-7) was defeated 12-1 by No. 9 state-ranked Dillon Graham (33-4) and Elijah fell 14-1 to Gabe Bragg (21-11).
At 195 pounds, Russell Weaver (22-8) lost by major decision to Bishop Chatard’s Jef Waugh (36-2) 16-2.
In the last of Mt. Vernon’s championship matches, sophomore Devin Kendrex (34-3) matched up against a familiar opponent, Cathedral’s Jackson Weingart (32-5).
The pair entered the sectional both ranked in the top 10 in the state, with Weingart at No. 7 and Kendrex at No. 8, and the title match between the two was a rematch of last year’s sectional, regional and semi-state final.
In all three postseason matches last year, Weingart defeated Kendrex, and he did so once again on Saturday.
Last season it was a 2-1 sectional overtime loss, a 6-2 loss at regional, and then a 7-2 loss at semi-state.
This time, it was a 5-2 loss by decision.
“We’ve kind of figured it out. We had a couple opportunities to take him down, but didn’t quite do what we worked on. Devin recognized that, so I think we’ve got the formula that it’s going to take to beat him, we’ve just got to do it,” Hayes said. “He’s got the ability, right now he’s just got to get past that wall, and once he does, it’ll be over, and he won’t have to worry about it again. Right now, though, it’s just that thing that he hasn’t been able to get past. I think if he sees him again next week, he’s got him.”
The two other Marauders to advance to next weekend’s Pendleton Heights Regional were Tristan Trevino and Shawn Taylor.
At 138 pounds, Trevino (19-13) defeated North Central’s Donovan Looney (7-7) by fall in the third-place match, while Taylor (22-15) fell to North Central’s Jaylen Hill (23-15) by decision 11-6 in the 160-pound class consolation final.
“I’m happy with the way we wrestled. We wrestled tough, and better than we did at conference,” Hayes said. “We wrestled smarter and harder which means we’re peaking at the right time, which is what you want.”
Helping add to the Marauders third-place team finish, Caelen Alford fought back to win the 132-pound fifth-place consolation match after an early quarterfinal loss. He won three straight matches to earn his way back into fifth place.
Vanden Vail finished in fifth in the 170-pound class, and Jake Mellentine rounded out the Mt.Vernon placements with a sixth-place finish at 285 pounds.
Fifth-place finishers are alternates for the regional and could wrestle Saturday if someone from their weight class is unable to go.
Mt. Vernon’s eight qualifiers are back in action Saturday in the Pendleton Heights Regional, scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. The tournament includes qualifiers from the Tech and Elwood sectionals.
2023 Indianapolis Arsenal Tech Sectional
Team scores: Indianapolis Cathedral 304, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard 191, Mt. Vernon 177, North Central 152, Lawrence North 151, Indianapolis Arsenal Tech 77, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory 65, Lawrence Central 62, Indiana School for the Deaf 48
106: Conner Bayliss (Mt. Vernon) won by decision over John Bissmeyer (Indianapolis Cathedral) 7-0
113: Nathan Reyes (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by technical fall, 18-1, over Caleb Bunting (North Central) 3:47
120: Elijah Broady (Mt. Vernon) won by decision over Gavin Bragg (Indianapolis Cathedral) 6-1
126: Aden Reyes (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by decision over Jack Davis (Bishop Chatard) 6-3
132: Josh Johnson (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by decision over Sam Bustamante (Bishop Chatard) 5-3
138: Max McGinley (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by fall over Romeo White (Lawrence North) 1:59
145: Dillon Graham (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by major decision over Aiden Kiner (Mt. Vernon) 12-1
152: Gabe Bragg (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by major decision over Elijah Kiner (Mt. Vernon) 14-1
160: John Rushenberg (Bishop Chatard) won by fall over Jackson Edwards (Indianapolis Cathedral) 4:57
170: Kyle Harden (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by technical fall, 22-7, over Kade Rickard (Bishop Chatard) 5:20
182: Nolan Buckman (Brebeuf Jesuit) won by major decision over Noah Dailey (Lawrence Central) 17-8
195: Jef Waugh (Bishop Chatard) won by major decision over Russell Weaver (Mt. Vernon) 16-2
220: Jackson Weingart (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by decision over Devin Kendrex (Mt. Vernon) 5-2
285: Hosia Smith (Indianapolis Cathedral) won by major decision over Qi’yam Simmons (Arsenal Tech) 11-2