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January 26, 2013

Indiana wrestling tourney returns to old-school format

Sectionals get under way today

TERRE HAUTE — The IHSAA wrestling state tournament, which returned to its old format of not having team advancement this season, will begin today with sectionals around the state, including those involving Wabash Valley teams at Northview, Crawfordsville and Avon.

At Northview, No. 4-ranked Bloomington South is the heavy favorite to capture the 10-team title. The sectional champion will receive a plaque to commemorate the accomplishment, even if there’s no longer a team regional to look forward to next Saturday.

“Unless they get food poisoning or unless a blizzard keeps them from making the trip, Bloomington South will be awfully hard to beat,” Northview coach Dan Mikesell assessed.

Individual advancement will still be hotly contested today, however, as the top four in each weight class go to the Bloomington South Regional.

“Bloomington South could have nine or 10 guys in the sectional finals,” West Vigo coach Scott Rohrbach said. “All but one of its wrestlers should move on to the regional.”

Terre Haute South has three No. 1 seeds — junior Phoenix Adams (29-7) at 138 pounds, junior Ian Newton (29-7) at 145 and senior Cody Helms (32-4) at 152. Adams, who won the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference (MIC) championship last Saturday, is ranked 13th and Helms 28th in their classes by the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association.

“They all have a real good chance of winning their weights,” South coach Gabe Cook told the Tribune-Star. “They’re peaking at the right time and they’re training real hard with each other. You can see the focus in their training.”

South senior Ryan Uppal (28-5) is a No. 2 seed behind Bloomington South’s Griffin Schermer (31-3) in the 106 class.

“Ryan’s had a good week of practice,” Cook said. “He’s going to have his work out cut for him with [freshman Cale] McCoy [the No. 3 seed from Northview], though.”

Another No. 2 seed for the Braves is sophomore Darin Pemberton (24-8) at 113. No. 3 seeds for South include junior Duane Deerwester (28-9) at 170 and sophomore David Lewis (29-8) at 120.

“It’s not going to be easy for any of our guys to get to the [sectional] finals and they know that,” Cook noted.

The Braves’ coach insists there will be no intimidation in the hearts and souls of his athletes when they face Bloomington South wrestlers one-on-one today.

“We’ve got some guys who are competing at a very high level,” Cook summarized. “We’re going to go out there and get after it.”

For Terre Haute North, some of its top-seeded wrestlers are senior Eric Elia (24-9), No. 2 at 126 behind Sullivan junior Cory Orndorff; junior Tyler Gilmore (26-6), No. 2 at 152 behind Helms; and junior Ryan Moshak (20-12), No. 3 after moving up from 170 to the 182 class.

“I think [Elia and Gilmore] are both in a position where they can win,” North coach Mark Frisz assessed.

“Eric has really been working on his takedowns. Once he gets on top, he’s very good. … Tyler knows what to work on. He keeps matches close. He’s never out of a match.”

Frisz predicted that South and Western Indiana Conference (WIC) champion Sullivan will be in the hunt for second place, team-wise. “It would take a great effort for us to get into that mix,” he added.

From the Northview perspective, Mikesell thinks his squad can compete with South, Sullivan and Edgewood for second place. He mentioned McCoy (25-6) at 106, junior Trey Boor (20-14) at 152, senior Jesse Miller (30-5) at 195, senior Zach Williams (22-10) at 220 and senior Justin Sampson (33-0) at 285 — all WIC champions — as some of his top contenders.

Sampson is the Knights’ only No. 1 seed, while Williams is a No. 2 and Miller, McCoy and junior Shane Ryan (16-15 at 113) are No. 3s. Mikesell also warned not to rule out Boor as a No. 4 seed.

“Trey won the conference as a 4 seed, so going in as the 4 seed doesn’t bother him at all,” the Knights’ coach explained.

West Vigo’s best records entering today belong to previously injured senior Jacob Creasey (14-2) at 145, sophomore Casey Noblitt (17-11) at 160, freshman Dakota Short (17-11) at 195 and freshman Doug Wilkins (14-8) at 126.

Rohrbach considers the latter three as potential stars of the future. Creasey, a 2013 WIC champion, is a No. 2 seed behind Newton today.

“Jacob has a very good chance to win,” Rohrbach emphasized. “He’s just gonna have to keep improving this week.”

Noblitt and Short are No. 4 seeds and Wilkins is a No. 5.

Besides Orndorff, some of Sullivan’s top competitors should be senior Nick Byrd (22-4) at 132, senior Colt Thompson (20-4) at 138 and junior Jonathan Sullivan (19-6) at 160.

This sectional formerly consisted of nine teams, but North Knox was added to the group this season.

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