ALEXANDER, ESTEPP ADVANCE TO PODIUM ROUND
Ink Free News / Sports on Friday, February 19, 2021
By Mike Deak
INDIANAPOLIS – Jace Alexander and Brandon Estepp are on to the finals.
Alexander, a Wawasee senior, is making his second trip to the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals podium round, winning Friday to advance to the top eight. Alexander scored a third period takedown with 58 seconds left to gain cushion in beating Floyd Central’s Gavinn Alstott, 7-4, in the 138-pound bracket at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
Alexander (25-1), a four-time IHSAA State qualifier, finished sixth as a sophomore. His shot at a final four appearance will come Saturday morning, when he will take on Oak Hill’s Brody Arthur (39-1), Arthur scoring a pin on Pendleton Heights’ Jared Brown.
Wawasee’s second wrestler at Banker’s Life was 126-pounder Brendan Dilley, who was making his first trip to Indy as a competitor. Dilley’s day lasted 5:48 as he was beaten by tech fall to Bluffton’s Landon Bertsch (23-0), 16-1. Bertsch scored three takedowns and four near falls, the final nail coming at 5:48 when Bertsch secured three points on the final near fall to end the match.
Dilley, a senior, finishes his season 16-12 overall.
Estepp is making his first podium after a solid 8-1 win over Jacob Saylor of New Haven. The Warsaw senior scored a pair of takedown in the first period, countered by a Saylor escape. After a scoreless second period, Estepp opened the third period with a takedown to take a 6-1 lead, and worked Saylor into a near fall to close out the scoring and the advancement to Saturday.
Estepp (20-7) will meet Southmont’s Riley Woodall (25-2) in the 182 quarterfinals, Woodall a 10-5 decision winner in his match against Tri-West Hendricks’ Dominic Pugilese.
Tippecanoe Valley’s lone entrant, Bazle Owens, saw his sophomore season come to a close in the 195-pound bracket to the top seed, Hayden Filipovich. The mauler from Indianapolis Lutheran, who is 41-0 on the season, worked a pair of takedowns and a near fall in the first period, and after a reversal and takedown, finished off Owens with a pin at 5:43.
Owens ends his season 28-11 overall.
Filipovich will carry on to meet Adams Central’s Blake Heyerly (42-1) in the quarters. Elsewhere in the 195 bracket are Culver Academy’s Eli Pack and Northridge’s Ibrahim Khaoucha, both winners on Friday.