DES MOINES, IOWA —
A big group of Wabash Valley wrestlers are in Bloomington today needing one victory to reach next week’s Evansville semistate.
Northview senior heavyweight Justin Sampson, ranked fourth in the state by indianamat.com, takes an undefeated mark into today’s action at Bloomington South. Action begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sampson carries a 37-0 record that makes him the favorite to be the last man standing. Ethan Schwoeppe (41-3) of Southridge appears to be the top competitor for Sampson, but Austin Davis (24-7) of Bedford North Lawrence could stand in his way in the second round.
“We’ll have two really tough matches to win Saturday. So far this year he’s passed every test,” coach Dan Mikesell said.
He’s joined by fellow Knights’ seniors Zach Williams at 220 pounds and Jesse Miller at 195.
Miller takes a 34-6 record into action in another tough weight class. If he gets past Edwin Revolorio of Washington, Miller would likely face 37-0 Clayton Fiddler of Bloomington South. Miller has lost by a point to Fiddler two times during the season.
“Jesse’s been working on some things,” Mikesell said. “He’s just going to have to get some takedowns, get off the bottom and he should be in good shape. Has to control the tide. He could sneak in and win the regional as well.”
Mikesell also sends wrestlers to regional from the three smallest weight classes, freshman Cale McCoy at 106, junior Shane Ryan at 113 and freshman Stephen Gibson at 120.
The Knights’ contingent is second to only Terre Haute South, where coach Gabe Cook has seven wrestlers trying to reach keep their seasons alive.
Phoenix Adams (32-7), a MIC and sectional champion at 138 pounds, is riding some momentum going into the regional.
“He’s getting to point where he’s peaking and continuing to score throughout the match,” South coach Gabe Cook said.
Colt Thompson (22-6) of Sullivan also competes at 138.
At 152 pounds, South senior Cody Helms takes a 36-4 record into the regional, and he could meet up with rival Terre Haute North junior Tyler Gilmore, who is 29-7, in the second round.
“Very consistent,” North coach Mark Frisz said of Gilmore. “He can beat realy good guys. His matches are usually close. We know he’ll go out and wrestle really hard. He’ll wrestle a kid from Jasper that he lost to earlier in the season in overtime.”
As for Helms, the senior finished with a .500 record as a junior and didn’t make it out of sectionals. Now, he’s a MIC and sectional champion and “Cody’s really wrestling well right now,” Cook said.
Terre Haute North’s only sectional champion was Eric Elia (28-9), who knocked off previously unbeaten Cory Orndoff of Sullivan in the 126-pound final at Northview.
Orndorff (22-1) is joined on his side of the bracket by West Vigo freshman Doug Wilkins (17-10). Elia’s toughest competition on his half of the bracket appears to be Winston Glenn (32-7) of Forest Park.
Elia is joined by sophomore Gavin John (6-14), who moved down from 120 pounds during the season.
South’s 120-pounder, Darin Pembrton (28-8), hopes to capture a regional title after taking the sectional crown.
“He’s getting better every week,” Cook said of the sophomore. “He’s just a hard working kid. He started wrestling last year and made tremendous gains.”
South junior Ian Newton (32-8) could have a good shot at advancing to the semistate, drawing 11-24 Michael Tedrow of Mitchell in the first round.
“Ian’s going to have to come out and wrestle like he did Saturday, put six hard minutes together all day long and he should be fine,” Cook said.
Cook also sends sophomore David Lewis (32-9) into a tough regional at 120 pounds.
Ryan Uppal (31-6) at 106 and Duane Deerwester (31-10) also carry impressive records into the regional for the Braves.
“Ryan’s a senior and I really feel like his sectional was probably the toughest tournament he had competed at this season. I would not be surprised if his weight class finish 1-2-3 again this week,” Cook said. “That’s the same with Deerwester. Two of the best kids in the state were right there [referring to Owen Valley’s Larry Shaffer (28-1) and Conor Galvin (33-4) of Bloomington South].”
Ryan Moshak (14-13) heads into action for North at 182 after wrestling most of the season at 170.
“He’s just a workhorse. He just goes, great attitude,” Frisz said.
Ethan Edington (13-7) competes for teh Patriots at 220. The 2012 semistate qualifier has worked hard to come back from a knee injury.
“I know he won’t be satisfied unless he gets to go again. We feel pertty good about his odds as well,” Frisz said.
Freshman Dakota Short (19-13) faces Moises Valenciano (22-3) of Jasper in his first-round match, while Jonathan Sullivan of Sullivan takes a 22-7 record into action at 160.