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Written By Ink Free News / Sports on Sunday, January 31, 2021

Wawasee laid claim to its fourth straight wrestling sectional championship Saturday at the Plymouth Wrestling Sectional. Photo provided

By Mike Deak

PLYMOUTH – Wawasee is getting hot at the right time, but so are some of the other teams emerging from the Plymouth Wrestling Sectional.

The Warriors barnstormed the top half of the sectional championship, taking six of the first eight title bouts en route to its fourth straight sectional team championship. But among the days work were a slew of advancers and title winners from area programs.

Warriors Power Through To Title

Wawasee’s Gavin Malone competes with Tippecanoe Valley’s Darren Crump in the 145-pound bracket. InkFreeNews photo by Mike Deak

Starting with Wawasee, the Warriors were unequivocally dominant on the top half of the show’s program. Wawasee had an entry in the championship round in each of the first eight weight classes under the solitary light in the middle of the gym, starting with Kaleb Salazar at 106 and running through Landen Dilley at 152.

Salazar would start the run with a 9-2 decision over Tippecanoe Valley’s Galvin Shambaugh. Hunter Miller would next pin Warsaw’s Elias Garza in the first period, and Dylan Tom made it three-for-three by grinding out a 4-3 decision over a tough Drake Montelongo of Tippecanoe Valley.

Plymouth’s Dominic Smith would break the Wawasee streak with a third period pin of Brendan Dilley, but Wawasee would get one back on Plymouth when Logan Stuckman shut out the Rockies’ Nate Derifield, 4-0. Jace Alexander won the 138 title via injury default over Warsaw’s Andrew Ross.

Gavin Malone then won an exciting 145 match, scoring a reversal with eight seconds left to defeat Plymouth’s Tyler Richey, 6-4. Malone had led the match 4-0 before Richey tied the bout late in the third with a takedown.

Valley’s Branson McBrier eeked out a pin with two seconds on the clock in the second period to clinch the 152 title over a game Landen Dilley. Dilley had reached the final by upsetting top seed Elijah Cox of Triton in the semis via a late pin.

Wawasee will also send Tim Shortt, Cam Zimmerman and Wyatt Slusher to the regional round, Shortt and Zimmerman taking third and Slusher fourth in their respective classes.

“It’s a real testament to the entire program,” said Wawasee head coach Frank Bumgardner. “It’s not me, it’s not an assistant coach, it’s not one athlete. We have a whole program. We have great coaches, we have great parents and club personnel. And you have to come back to the kids, we have some great kids in our program that are putting in the work to make things like today happen. It’s a good building process.”

Tigers Feeling Great With Eight

Warsaw’s Jaxson Walters puts the clamps on Triton’s Landon Lemler. InkFreeNews photo by Mike Deak

Warsaw boasted of one champion, to no one’s surprise it came from 170-pounder Jacob Linky. The Tiger senior moved to 22-1 on the season with a pin of Plymouth’s Zach Truitt at 1:50.

Linky is joined by Ross, Garza and teammates Bryce McNees, Aaron Ross, Jose Martinez, Brandon Estepp and William Roberts in moving onto the regional round.

McNees, Aaron Ross, Martinez, Estepp and Roberts were all consolation final winners, taking third on the day in their respective classes.

Warsaw will also have Jaxson Walters at 160, Chase Carl at 195 and Gideon Castro at 220 on call for a potential fill-in as alternates, each placing fifth in their brackets.

Warsaw took fourth in the team standings with 186 points.

Valley 11 Feeling Like Heaven

Tippecanoe Valley’s Brandon McBrier works over Bremen’s Bailey Moser into a pin. InkFreeNews photo by Mike Deak

A program record 11 Vikings are moving on, capped by titles from McBrier and Brandon Hammer, who worked the 182-pound bracket to ultimately run a major decision over LaVille’s Paul DeWitt, 10-1.

Bazle Owens was also a class runner-up, losing the 195 title match to Culver Academy’s Eli Peck at 2:52. Owens, Shambaugh and Montelongo will all take on three seeds next weekend from the Mishawaka Sectional.

Barrett Heller finished third, and the group of Jacob Manns, Darren Crump, Jadyn Virgil, Dalton Alber and Ian Becker all finished fourth and move on.

Cameron Mason is on hold as an alternate at 170 pounds after taking fifth.

The Vikings were third overall in the team standings with 200 points, just 13 back of runner-up Plymouth.

Trojans Small But Mighty

Triton’s Elijah Cox restarts on offense against Wawasee’s Landen Dilley in the 152 bracket. InkFreeNews photo by Mike Deak

Triton fielded just six individuals Saturday representing Bourbon, but move three through to the next round.

Among that lot were two champions, Anthony Schuh at 220 and Caleb Lemler at 285. Schuh won the match of the day, scoring a 5-3 overtime win over LaVille’s James Bettcher. Lemler followed that up with a solid 5-1 decision to cap the day over Plymouth’s Joey Garcia.

Joining the two Triton champs next week at Penn will be Cox, who was third at 152.

With just six wrestlers, Triton managed to finish sixth in the team standings with 76 points.

Regional wrestling will take place Saturday, Feb. 6, at Penn High School. Mishawaka is the other feeding sectional at Penn. The top three placers in each of the 14 weight classes will advance to the East Chicago Semi-State on Feb. 13.

Full results from the IHSAA sectional round can be found individually by sectional at trackwrestling.com

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