HUNTERTOWN — Twenty Whitley County wrestlers embarked on the second leg of the IHSAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at Saturday’s Carrroll Regional tournament.
Eleven of those, including two weight-class champions, will advance to next Saturday’s Fort Wayne Semi-State at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Although wrestlers advance on an individual basis, a team score was also kept, with Churubusco taking second with 92.5 points behind Carroll’s 180.
Churubusco was followed by New Haven, Leo and Huntington North, with Columbia City placing sixth and Whitko seventh out of the 20 teams represented.
’Busco and Whitko both advanced four wrestlers and Columbia City had three. Both Columbia City and Churubusco boasted weight-class winners among their advancers.
Columbia City picked up its win at 182 pounds in a rematch of last week’s sectional final, when senior Russell Hazelet squared off against Bishop Dwenger senior Ben Evans.
Last week, Evans won by a 7-1 decision. This week, Hazelet came out more aggressive against Evans and took a 5-1 lead before Evans came back to knot the score at 5 in the third period. Hazelet scored a reversal to take a 7-5 lead late in the period and held on for the 7-6 win.
Churubusco got a repeat winner from last week in Jason Nicodemus, who took the title at 220 pounds. Nicodemus scored a hard-fought 8-3 decision over state-ranked and only once-beaten Nolan Wilson of Leo. Nicodemus maintained his unbeaten status, finishing the day at 28-0.
“That was a really exciting match with two top kids going at each other. At this point that could make the difference between being a state qualifier or not,” said Churubusco Head Coach Sam Reisen. “Winning the regional is a big step. Jason has made it to the regionals every year but this is his first year to make it out.”
In the finals at 113 pounds, Whitko’s Greg Newman took second to Northrop’s Logan Aldrich in a rematch of the Sectional finals. Newman fell 5-2 in the finals, after advancing with a 16-5 major decision over Homestead’s Drake Rhodes and a 6-3 decision over New Haven’s Owen Doster.
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