FOUR LOCALS EARN TICKETS TO WRESTLING STATE
Ink Free News / Sports on Sunday, February 14, 2021
By Mike Deak
EAST CHICAGO – A quartet of local wrestlers found the golden tickets at the respective wrestling semi-states in northern Indiana.
at East Chicago
Wawasee had two wrestlers advance to the IHSAA State Finals, one for the first time and the other for a fourth time. Brendan Dilley scored a 12-11 decision over Valpo’s Stefan Vitello in the ticket round to earn the automatic berth. Dilley would injury default his final two matches to place fourth overall at 126 pounds. At 138, Jace Alexander moves to Indy for the fourth straight year, picking up two falls to advance, and after losing to Jesse Mendez of Crown Point, came back to pin Kyle Carter of Rensselaer Central to finish third. Alexander is just the second Wawasee wrestler in the storied history of the program to make four state finals, the other Kevin Carr.
Wawasee’s Kaleb Salazar, Logan Stuckman, Gavin Malone and Cameron Zimmerman were all first round outs, and both Hunter Miller and Dylan Tom lost in the ticket round.
Warsaw will send an individual to state, that being Brandon Estepp in his first appearance at the big show. Estepp scored a fall, then beat LaPorte’s Jaden Browder, 4-3, to advance. Estepp would drop his final two matches to take fourth in the 182-pound class.
Jacob Linky’s bid to return to the finals ended in the ticket round. After winning 5-0 in the first round, Linky couldn’t find the magic in a 1:09 fall to Spencer Phillips of McCutcheon. Elias Garza, Jose Martinez and Andrew Ross all lost via first round results.
Tippecanoe Valley will also load the bus to Indy with Bazle Owens on board. The 195-pounder scored a 4-2 decision, then held off Lafayette Jeff’s Daeveon Cheeks, 9-5, to advance to his first finals. Owens lost his final two matches.
Triton’s three wrestlers all lost in the first round, Elijah Cox by tech fall, and both Anthony Schuh and Caleb Lemler by fall.
at Fort Wayne
The road ended for all six of NorthWood’s semi-state competitors at the corner of Coliseum and Parnell.
Four of the six Panthers lost in the first round, the other two losing in the second round. Connor Ratcliff earned a win over Columbia City’s Jordan Driver via fall, but lost in the ticket round to Western’s Hayden Shepherd 7-4. Kaden Lone scored a 9-2 decision over Bellmont’s Isaac Friedt, but could not get past Fort Wayne Dwenger’s Eli Hilger, 4-3.
Lynkyn Ratcliff, Hunter Lechlitner and Trey Tobias all lost by pinfall, and Blake Herr fell 2-1 to close out their respective seasons.