A couple of things are certain as the state tournament series for prep wrestlers moves on to the regional round on Saturday.
The area will be well represented by a large contingent of local grapplers at the Rochester Regional.
Those talented individuals will seem some stiff competition on the mats as wrestlers from the powerful Penn Sectional join them.
Regional competition on Saturday at Rochester, one of 16 regional sites statewide, begins at 9 a.m. Competitors will be shooting for a top four finish in order to earn a berth in the Merrillville Semistate on Feb. 9. The field at Merrillville will include qualifiers from regionals at Rochester, Calumet, Crown Point and Logansport.
The field at Rochester includes a quartet of Wawasee wrestlers and a pair of Warsaw grapplers.
The Warriors will be represented by seniors Nick Rozow (160), Brian Clark (195) and Chad Eppley (285) and freshman Tristin Ponsler (113). Rozow and Clark each claimed sectional titles last weekend at Plymouth. Rozow sports a 29-6 record, while Clark is 24-8, Eppley 24-11 and Ponsler 22-13.
Leading the way for Warsaw in the regional will be Luis Munoz. The senior captured a sectional crown in the 120-pound class at the Plymouth Sectional, defeating two-time sectional champion and state qualifier Kayla Miracle of Culver Academy in the finals. Freshman Alec Haines will compete at 220 for the Tigers.
Tippecanoe Valley boasts a large group of regional qualifiers as eight Vikings are headed to Rochester. The group, which are all underclassmen, led coach Scott Smyth’s squad to a third-place finish in the Plymouth Sectional last Saturday. The Viking contingent includes juniors Arron Heller (152), Keaton Bell (170) and Jaron Kidd (195), sophomores Wyatt Nelson (126), Devin Childers (132), Cody Runyon (145) and Wes Beck (182) and freshman Garrett Bell (160).
The Triton program has a trio of athletes set to compete in the regional. That group includes senior Joseph Soriano (106) and freshmen Gage Waddle (138) and Lane Stevens (220).
The field at Rochester will include all 14 wrestlers from No. 4 Penn. The Kingsmen piled up 285.5 points to win their third straight sectional title last Saturday. Penn had all 14 of their athletes place in the top four at sectional, although the Kingsmen claimed just five individual sectional titles.
Perennial powerhouse Mishawaka, which finished second to Penn at the sectional, had four sectional champions. The Cavemen are led by a pair of undefeated wrestlers in junior Jake Sinkovics (106) and sophomore Tommy Forte (138).
Goshen High School will also be a busy place Saturday as area grapplers compete in a regional there starting at 9:30 a.m. The field at GHS includes top four finishers from both the Elkhart Memorial and Westview sectionals. Competitors from Memorial, Jimtown, Goshen, Fairfield, Northridge, NorthWood, Elkhart Central and Westview headline the field at Goshen. Memorial leads the way with 11 wrestlers at Goshen, while both Jimtown and the host Redskins each have 10.
The top four finishers in each weight class at Goshen advance to the Fort Wayne Snider Semistate, which will be held at the Coliseum on Feb. 9.