For the first time in recent memory — maybe ever — Terre Haute South won an IHSAA wrestling regional team championship Saturday.
At Bloomington South, the Braves had two weight-class champions — senior Brendan McPike at 182 pounds and junior Josh Howell at 220 pounds — and tallied 137.5 points to outscore runner-up Bloomington South's 117.5 and bring home the team trophy.
McPike won his final match with a 9-2 decision over Southridge's Weston Allen, boosting his season record to 31-1. Howell won his final match by pinning Sullivan senior Kenton Williams in 3 minutes, 1 second, pushing his mark to 32-1.
Terre Haute South also benefited from two runner-up finishes — Gary Bays in 113 and Moses Hamm in 152. Bays, a senior, lost to Sullivan freshman Lane Gilbert by pin in 50 seconds in the final match. Gilbert is now 31-1, while Bays is 7-3.
All in all, the Braves will move 10 wrestlers on to next Saturday's semistate inside Evansville's Ford Center. The top four finishers in each class get to advance.
"We definitely showed up," Terre Haute South coach Gabe Cook told the Tribune-Star afterward. "It's a testament to how hard these guys have worked throughout their careers and this season."
Other Wabash Valley teams scoring in this regional were West Vigo (eighth with 44 points), Sullivan (ninth with 41.5), Northview (10th with 36.5) and Terre Haute North (16th with six).
Gilbert and Williams will continue wrestling for Sullivan next weekend. Still alive for West Vigo are Seth Rohrbach (132), Jarrell Sholar (152), Keith Holder (126) and Johnathan Otte (145). Top-four finishers for Northview were Zack Brown (160), Noah Minor (170), Seth Cowden (106) and Logan Moore (113). Terre Haute North's lone semistate qualifier is Jazz Brown at 220.
Terre Haute South's other six qualifiers were Gabe Recknor (132), Nate Recknor (138), Christian Verst (195), Harrison May (120), Nate Lommock (160) and Nicholas Casad (170).
"All of our guys opened up and kept scoring for six minutes," Cook pointed out. "That was the key."
In the North Montgomery wrestling regional Saturday, no Valley athletes qualified for the semistate.