FORT WAYNE — Three Whitley County wrestlers traveled to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Saturday for the IHSAA Semi-State competition, hoping to qualify for a trip to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and the IHSAA Individual State Finals Wrestling Tournament.
For one of those three, Whitko’s Cody Bays, the season continues as he will take his place in Indianapolis as one of the top 16 wrestlers in the state via his fourth-place finish in the 145-pound weight class. Bays began the day’s competition with a match against Levi McKee, a junior from North Miami with a 36-1 record. Bays scored on three first period takedowns to take a 6-3 lead going into the second period.
Neither wrestler put up points in the second period, but the Whitko senior added two more takedowns in the third to take a 10-5 decision to advance into the second round.
In the “ticket round” named so because those that win get a ticket to the State Finals, Bays squared off against Dekalb’s Connor Brummett, a 31-9 junior. Bays jumped out to a big first period lead scoring three takedowns and a two-point nearfall to take an 8-2 lead at the end of the first period. Leading 8-3 to start the third, Bays put up six more points on two escapes and two takedowns to take a 14-6 win and qualify for the trip to Indianapolis.
In the semifinals, Bays ran into 41-1 Bellmont senior and eventual weight class champion Brooks Faurote. Faurote scored on a takedown and then scored the pinfall win over Bays at the 1:27 mark of the first period, sending Bays into the third place match. In the third place match, Bays took on 43-4 Rhett Hiestand from Yorktown High School.
Bays had trouble finding an offense against Heistand falling behind 5-0 at the end of the first period. Bays gave up a second period reversal before falling by pinfall at the 2:21 mark of the match.
In the Friday night round of the State Finals Bays will meet undefeated Jason Tsirtsis of Crown Point. If Bays wins he will advance to Saturday’s placing rounds.
Also competing at the semi-state were Churbusco freshman Chase Downing and Columbia City junior Russell Hazelet, who did not advance.
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