FORT WAYNE – Triton will have a unique opportunity to square off among the elite wrestling teams in the state. The fourth annual Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Classed Wrestling Team State Duals this Saturday will showcase the cream of the crop teams from around Indiana in a day of reckoning.
Triton (12-6 overall) will wrestle in Class A, considered the “small school” grid at Fort Wayne’s War Memorial Coliseum. There will be four pools in the class, Triton competing in Class B with No. 4-ranked Adams Central and No. 6-ranked Knightstown. Triton is unranked in the latest indianamat.com poll.
Pool A of the Class A format hosts top-ranked Prairie Heights as well as No. 8 Centerville and No. 9 Bremen. Pool C has No. 3 Oak Hill and No. 7 Monrovia as well as Attica. Pool D has No. 2 Southmont, No. 6 Delphi and Churubusco.
The Invite as a whole features the past three team state champions with reigning state champ Penn, 2014 champion Indianapolis Cathedral and 2013 champion Perry Meridian. All three teams are competing in Pool C of Class AAA. Current state No. 1 Warren Central is in Pool A of the AAA grid.
Class AA top-seed Yorktown leads Pool A. Area teams in AA include Jimtown in Pool B and Peru in Pool C.
The top team from each pool will advance to the championship bracket. Pool A and Pool B will face off and Pool C and Pool D will meet in the semi-finals for each class, the winners of each semi-final will meet in the championship. The championship semi-finals begin at 7 p.m. with the finals to follow. Runner-up and third-place pool finishers will meet in similar fashion beginning at approximately 3 p.m.
Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. and tickets are $15 for the whole day of action. Parking at the Coliseum is $5.
“It’s the best of the best in the state,” noted Triton wrestling head coach Ron Brown. “It’s a great honor to be considered among the best. This is a culmination of the last five years for what we have done. I really wish we had some of the past seniors from last year coming with us. They did so much to get us to where we are. But the group we have right now, they really want to show what they can do against some of the top teams.”
Al Smith Invite at Mishawaka
Warsaw will be among what many feel is the strongest tournament in the 37 years of the Al Smith Invite.
There are eight wrestlers who are ranked No. 1 in their weight class in the state power poll. Two of those are from Penn. Two other wrestlers are ranked No. 2 in their weight class. There are seven teams ranked in the state’s Top 20 including No. 5 Penn and No. 19 Prairie Heights. Elkhart Memorial, Goshen, Jimtown, Mishawaka, NorthWood, Peru, South Bend Riley, Rochester, Warsaw and West Noble are also among those competing.
The Invite, named for the legendary Mishawaka wrestling coach, begins Tuesday on into Wednesday. The finals for the Al Smith begin around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is $8 each day, wrestling begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Warsaw junior Kyle Hatch will look to defend his sophomore championship. Hatch, who finished fourth and first in the Al Smith as a freshman and sophomore, is currently ranked No. 6 in the 138-pound weight class with a season record of 17-0. Among the ranked opponents in Hatch’s 138 bracket are No. 3 Jason Crary of Munster, No. 15 Joel Arney of Fort Wayne Carroll and No. 16 Jacy Leon of Hobart.
Whitko will host the Whitko Wrestling Invitational on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Action begins at 10 a.m. at the high school.
The tournament is an individual tournament that will have competitors from 16 schools from around the area. Among the immediate area teams competing are Whitko, Central Noble, Churubusco, Concord, Lakeland, Mishawaka Marian and Northridge. The format is a 16-man bracket for the 14 weight classes which will feature first through eighth-place finishers.