Another tough road presents itself for grapplers around the state this weekend, but a huge reward awaits at the end of that road. Four semi-state tournament will start up Saturday morning with a ticket to the state finals waiting for those that can win their first two matches.
Wrestlers from Triton, Warsaw and Wawasee head towards The Region where they will compete at East Chicago Central High School.
Malachi Greene comes in as the No. 9 seed in the 16-man bracket at 126 pounds. Greene, who had a rough showing at the sectional where he finished third, rebounded for a third place finish at the regional. Greene (30-6) will take on West Lafayette’s Aaron Casillas (25-4) in the first round. Greene would most likely take on top-seeded Colton Cummings (20-1) in the second round.
At 132 Triton will be represented by Marcus Brown, the bracket’s No. 14 seed. Brown (21-16) will take on Jeremiah Reitz (32-0) of Griffith to start his day. In the second round Brown would see either New Prairie’s Clayton King or Rossville’s Austin Erdman.
Kyle Hatch will be the lone Tiger at East Chicago where he will look to redeem a loss from last season.
Hatch enters the 152-pound bracket as the No. 3 overall seed with a 43-0 mark. Luke Nicksic (22-15) will take on Hatch in the first round where a second round match would present either Merrillville’s Romeo Hoover or West Lafayette’s Logan Robinson.
The two wrestlers seeded ahead of a Hatch are Hobart’s Matt Burns (20-3) and top-seeded Clay Jones (42-1) of Lafayette Jefferson.
The Warriors have four grapplers with state aspirations competing at East Chicago on Saturday.
Braxton Alexander enters as the only defending regional champion for Wawasee. Alexander (37-3) will hold the No. 5 seed at 120 and wrestle Kavyn Watts (32-10) of Twin Lakes to start his day. A second round match would hold a challenge from either Everado Vicente of Lake Central or Kaelln Kelly of Crown Point. Jefferson’s Jon Anderson (42-1) has the No. 1 seed in the bracket.
Garrett Stuckman (34-6) will represent the Warriors at 113. Stuckman holds the No. 6 seed and will wrestle Brayden Ruiz (39-10) of New Prairie. In the second round Stuckman would see either Morton’s Eberardo Azpeitia or Rensselaer Central’s Ryne Webb.
Geremia Brooks (18-2) will enter Saturday with the No. 4 seed at 126. Logansport’s Jesse Dominguez (21-9) will be the first challenger for Brooks. Merrillville’s Michael DeLaPena or Hanover Central’s Gavin Larsen will would see Brooks in the second round.
Wawasee’s final competitor on Saturday will be Jeremiah Dilley at 220. Dilley (30-10) has a tougher road as he enters as the No. 11 seed and will take on Sammy Perez (29-9( of Highland. A second round match would most likely feature No. 3 seed Justin Akers (29-1) of Crown Point. Munster’s Caleb Thomas (28-5) holds the bracket’s top seed.