PLYMOUTH — It’s put up or shut up week for for wrestlers across the state of Indiana. Saturday will mark the start of 32 sectional tournaments across the state, six area teams will be spread out to three of those fields. With 14 individual titles up for grabs at each location, this weekend hopes to be a highly decorated one for so many young grapplers looking for bragging wrights.
The sectional field with the most local intrigue is undoubtedly at Plymouth. Big Red plays host to 10 schools including Tippecanoe Valley, Triton, Warsaw and Wawasee. Each school has plenty of individual swagger, but the Trojans and Warriors are hoping to take home some team bragging rights as they have two of the deepest rosters at the tournament.
“When you go to Plymouth, you know there are no breaks in that house, you better bring your ‘A’ game,” said Triton head coach Ron Brown. “You have to wrestle hard every match, the entire match. I’ve seen kids get dominated there and then figure something out late and get a surprise pin out of it.
“Of course, looking at the teams there, I have a ton of respect for the Rochester program. And, of course, you have Plymouth who is wrestling at home and you could go on and on about it. Wawasee is rebuilding and putting together a nice program and Warsaw will bring some great guys. Hatch is a beast. Culver Academy has a solid team.”
Brown’s team is hot off of claiming a Hoosier North Athletic Conference tournament title last Saturday at home. The Trojans took fifth in the sectional last season and fourth the year before that. Brown is hoping for an improved finish this season.
“I expect us to compete for top two,” Brown began, “and set us up for the regional that will have Penn and Mishawaka coming down. You think our sectional is tough? That sectional with them is flat out brutal. Anyone coming out of that is going to be superior.”
As for Wawasee, the Warriors hope to find their name in the top two when all is said in done, but there is still some work to do for an ever-improving Wawasee squad.
“We have to have consistency,” said Wawasee head coach Frank Bumgardner. “Conference is one of the few individual tournaments we had this year, some of our guys are still learning how to get that kind of format. We just need to have consistent performance from round to round and a better week of practice. But, it really just comes back to consistency up and down the lineup.”
Warsaw boasts a lot of youth at this year’s tournament and will hope that can provide some upsets along the way. The Tigers were sixth at last year’s sectional, respectively behind Wawasee and Triton. With its youthful roster, the Tigers admittedly still have some things to work on before Saturday’s bouts.
“We have to make sure that we’re getting on top of our technique, we were a little sloppy at conference,” explained Kris Hueber, Warsaw’s head coach. “We’ve gotten a whole lot of growth out of some of our kids, we’ve been really impressed. Even with some of our kids that are still losing, there’s little pieces here and there that we’re encouraged by, especially with so many freshman and sophomores on the mat. I’m happy with how we’re growing, but we have to fine tune some of that stuff and stop giving our opponents opportunities.”
Hueber also mentioned some injuries that his team is battling but that he hopes are cleared up by Saturday morning.
106 – Wawasee’s Ricardo Romo (29-5) earned the top seed. Triton’s Connor Pitney (20-13) will be the third seed while Tippecanoe Valley’s Haley Hoover (13-19) comes in at No. 4. Due to various forfeits and byes, all three wrestlers should find themselves in semifinals with Hoover and Romo facing off while Pitney should face No. 2 seed Mason Shively (21-11) of Rochester.
113 – Garrett Stuckman (29-4) of Wawasee has the top seed and is slated to wrestle Brock Hogenson (13-14) of Warsaw, the bracket’s No. 8 seed. Triton’s Nate Riggins (23-10) has the No. 4 seed and will wrestle Valley’s Jacob Eherenman as both received a bye.
120 – Braxton Alexander (31-3) boasts the top seed for Wawasee and will look to defend his 2016 title (113). Triton’s Bryce Swihart (21-11) has the No. 3 seed while Devin Bandow (21-9) of Valley own the No. 4 seed. Warsaw’s Austin Brown (8-14) holds the No. 7 seed and will receive forfeit before facing No. 2 seed Zane DeVault (28-2) of Plymouth.
126 – Culver Academy boats the top seed in Adam Davis (29-1). Riley Hogenson (3-12) will receive forfeit for Warsaw before facing Davis. Triton’s Malachi Greene (25-4) holds the No. 3 seed while Wawasee’s Geremia Brooks (14-0) is the No. 2 seed. Greene lost to Davis in last year’s championship bout.
132 – Caston’s Zander Henderson (30-1) is the bracket’s top seed. Wawasee’s Isiah Faurote (20-9) holds the No. 4 seed while Marcus Brown (17-13) of Triton stands firm as the No. 5 seed. Warsaw’s Jose Grimmett (6-18) will wrestle Faurote in the two athlete’s first match of the day.
138 – Graham Calhoun (33-2) of Plymouth boasts the top seed. Local wreslters here hold the bottom three spots in Valley’s Jordan Owens (13-23), Triton’s Riley Chickering (4-16) and Wawasee’s Logan Baugh (5-21).
145 – Plymouth’s Gavin Banks (26-3) hold the top seed while Warsaw’s Christian Taylor (21-13) is the No. 4 seed. Chevy Teeter (20-16) holds the No. 5 seed. Ryan Snyder (10-22) of Triton and Wawasee’s Evan Gregory (2-12) will hope to pull some upsets to boasts their team’s final scores.
152 – Kyle Hatch will be looking for his fourth career sectional title as he own the top seed with a 37-0 mark. Triton’s Lee Mullet (11-5) will start his day against Valley’s Jonathan Humes (21-12). Wawasee’s Raymon Torres (24-11) holds the No. 3 seed.
160 – Top-seeded Micah Calhoun (34-1) will be looking for another sectional title after winning last year’s 152-pound title. Wawasee’s Jeremiah Ponsler (13-14) holds the No. 4 seed while Warsaw’s Brady Stout (13-9) will wrestle Ponsler to start his day as the No. 5 seed. Valley’s Dylan Warner (15-12) holds the No. 7 seed. Wyatt Stephan (10-23) of Triton will start his day against Zach Slocum (10-16) of Caston.
170 – Top-seeded Colten Schuler (26-3) of Plymouth will start his day with Grayson Drudge of Warsaw (13-20) after Drudge receives forfeit. Xavier Ortiz (11-11) of Wawasee will take on Isaac Randall (23-13) of Valley after both receive byes. No. 2 James Snyder will receive a bye and take on William Kearney (14-16) of Culver Academy.
182 – Ryan Tompos (18-9) of Culver Academy holds the top seed. Vincent Helton (21-11) starts his day against Tyler Manuszak (21-10) after both have a bye. Alejandro Castro (24-8) of Wawasee also earns a bye and will wrestle Xavier Ivan (13-19) of Plymouth).
195 – Tyler Moser (30-1) of Bremen boasts the top spot and takes a be into the second round where will either see Culver’s Noah King (4-12) or Warsaw’s Brock Hueber (0-4). Cam Scarberry (22-9) of Triton will take on Joseph Irons (17-15) of Valley while Wawasee’s Damien Rodriguez (22-9) will have a bye before wrestling Culver Academy’s Joseph Kuhl (8-5).
220 – Top-seeded Sam Stayton (21-4) of Plymouth will take a bye and wrestle Warsaw’s Michael Castro (4-12) after Castro receives a forfeit. Triton’s Bryson Seitner (14-17) will take a bye before wrestling James Fagen (21-10) of Culver. Wawasee’s Jeremiah Dilley (26-8) holds the bracket’s No. 2 seed.
285 – Wawasee’s Elisha Tipping (26-6) holds the top seed. Triton’s Billy Smith (17-16) is the No. 5 seed and Warsaw’s Dillon Estepp (12-16) has the No. 7 seed.
Whitko will compete at the Carroll Sectional Saturday morning. The Wildcats do not field a full roster but have several individuals with regional aspirations.
Logan Busz (18-13) will represent the Wildcats at 120 where he will receive a bye before wrestling either Riley Hare (15-11) or Donyell Smith (8-9). At 126 Whitko will have Kaleb Busz (17-17) wrestling Jacob Robinson (22-7) to start his day. Brad Trump (9-23) reps the ‘Cats at 170, he’ll take a bye into wrestling No. 2 seed Laik Minnick (33-6). At 182 Issac Walters (21-6) will take a bye before wrestling Noah Stirlen (13-11). Brayden Moore (9-17) also receives a bye at 195. He will wrestle either Ryan Juergens (6-14) or Jesus Gill (17-8). At 220 Bhrett Weese (5-9) takes a bye into a match with No. 2 seed Beck Davis (12-2).
The NorthWood Panthers placed five wrestlers into championship matches last week at the NLC meet but yielded no champions. They will look to improve upon that performance in a tough field at Memorial that includes Goshen, Northridge and Memorial, among others.
The Panthers will field Cameron Jones (13-13) at 113, Austin Bingham (5-18) at 120, and a No. 2 seed in Hunter Warren (16-6) at 126. Anthony Benson (7-9) reps the Panthers at 132. Brock Lechlitner (15-9) will have a tough road in a difficult 138-pound field. Jacob Chupp (12-10) holds the No. 2 seed at 145. Garrett Griffin holds the No. 2 seed at 152 while Jake Lone (15-5) will look to continue a strong freshman campaign at 160. Mikey Edwards (12-6) has the No. 2 seed at 170. Lennix Yates (2-12) has a tough road at 182 starting off with No. 2 seed Dalton Heintzberger (33-5) of Jimtown. At 195 Michael Leonard (18-8) holds the No. 2 seed. Andrew Miller (12-11) is the No. 2 seed at 220. Cannon Yates (14-11) takes on top-seeded Nick Conner (29-5) of Elkhart Central at 285.