Seven Wabash Valley wrestlers will try to qualify for the IHSAA state finals when they compete today in the Evansville Reitz Semistate inside spacious Roberts Stadium.

Sessions 1 and 2 will start at 10:30 a.m. EST, with Session 3 (for semifinal and consolation rounds) slated for 3 p.m. Session 4, which includes the championship and third- and fourth-place matches, will start at 6 p.m. Individuals surviving the cut in last Saturday’s regionals at Bloomington South, Castle, Jeffersonville and Mooresville are eligible today.

The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the state finals next Friday and Saturday at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse.

Representing Northview is the Valley’s only regional champion — junior Chris Dean (13-2) in the 145-pound weight class. Another Knight, freshman Chris Craft (33-6), will be in the 125 class after finishing second in the Bloomington South Regional.

Dean drew a first-round bye today, while Craft will take on Franklin senior Danny Cooper (27-7) in the opening round.

“I plan on placing in the top four for sure and advance to the state,” Dean stated Friday. “I’m ready to go out and show them who the dominant wrestler is.”

“He got set up with a really nice draw,” Northview Coach Dan Mikesell said of Dean. “There’s a lot of ranked kids in his weight class and he managed to draw away from all of them [in the bracket]. The two kids that he could wrestle [in the second round] are not ranked.”

As for Craft, Mikesell said he received a decent draw.

“Cooper is ranked 15th [in the state for his weight class],” Mikesell said. “But Chris has wrestled a lot of ranked kids this year.”

Sullivan’s Justin Cox (31-3) also placed second in the regional. He’ll face sophomore Tyler Russell (24-21) of Southridge in the first round of the semistate.

Terre Haute South junior Richie Hammond (31-3, 275) and senior Cale Madsen (21-8, 215) were second-place finishers last Saturday as well. Hammond will lock horns with Indian Creek junior Evan Lattimore (36-4) and Madsen will square off against Evansville Mater Dei junior Zach Goebel (9-2) in today’s first round.

“We’ve seen Zach Goebel,” South Coach Henry Villegas noted. “Cale wrestled him last year in a tournament at Southridge and lost to him. But that was last year. Cale is a lot stronger and a more-balanced wrestler this year.”

Villegas said both of his wrestlers have a good chance to move on to the state finals.

“They’re both peaking at the right time,” the Braves’ coach insisted. “They looked real solid in the sectional … In the semistate, the competition level will be up a little bit. But I think they’re both ready for it.”

Both of Terre Haute North’s semistate qualifiers, senior Mike Borgnini (25-6 in 145) and junior Trevor Gregory (31-10 in 119), have suffered from fevers and missed some school this week, Coach Mark Frisz mentioned. But he added that they appeared to be feeling better Friday.

“I told them, ‘At this point, you can’t be sick,’ ” Frisz said.

Borgnini, who finished second to Dean in the regional, will wrestle senior Mitch Lovell (29-5) of Castle today. Gregory, a third-place finisher in the regional, will battle sophomore Alex Weinzapfel (33-9) of Evansville Mater Dei in the first round.

“Mike has beaten [Lovell] in the championship match at the Bloomington North tournament,” Frisz pointed out. “But he’s a strong kid. It was a close match.”

Admission for all sessions is $8. A ticket to see the final session costs $6.

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