INDIANAPOLIS — Graham Rooks, Columbus East’s terrific freshman 106-pounder, made strides in his rematch against Lowell sophomore Colton Cummings, but came up a little short.
Cummings beat Rooks 7-3 earlier in the season, and on Saturday handed the Olympian a 3-0 loss in the 106-pound semifinals of the Wrestling State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Cummings went on to win the state title, while Rooks finished third.
“I wasn’t shooting as much and wasn’t giving up easy points like in my first match against him,” Rooks said of his semifinal match. “I shot a bunch (in the regular-season match) and gave up a bunch of points I shouldn’t have. This time, I took less shots, and the shots I did take, I tried to make them the best ones.”
Rooks, who beat New Palestine’s Cameron Diep 11-5 in the morning quarterfinals, came back after his loss to Cummings to down Fort Wayne Wayne’s Geoffrey Davis 3-1 in the third-place match.
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“That one was kind of tough because Graham had his eyes set on wrestling in the finals tonight,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “It didn’t work out that way, and then all of a sudden, you have to go back out and wrestle again. That’s tough for guys to regroup and go out there and wrestle their best, and he was still able to go out there and put a good match together to get third place.”
“I just had to keep my cool,” Rooks said. “I hit my shots and was getting to his leg from my feet.”
Rooks beat Penn’s Kory Cavanaugh 5-1 in the first round Friday night.
“Going 3-1 at the state meet is a big deal,” Cooper said. “His goal is to win a state title, and he came up a little bit short. But he had a fantastic year. A two-loss season as a freshman is phenomenal.
“He’s not completely satisfied because we were here to win it, but there’s no faulting the effort, there’s no faulting the preparation and all the things he’s done to get to this point,” he said. “Winning any state medal, especially third place, as a freshman is unbelievable.”
Rooks finished 44-2, with both of his losses coming against Cummings.
“I’m excited,” Rooks said. “I’m not satisfied. I wanted to get first.”
Meanwhile, both Jennings County wrestlers who won their first-round matches on Friday, lost all three on Saturday to finish eighth.
Junior Andrew Herrin had the toughest loss, dropping a 5-4 decision to Beech Grove’s Evan Smiley in the quarterfinals at 145. Herrin thought he was leading in the closing seconds, but didn’t know he had been called for stalling earlier in the match.
Herrin then lost his final two matches by major decision to finish the season 47-5.
“The first match today, I should have won, and that match was a game-changer for me,” Herrin said. “After that, it seemed like it all went down the drain from there. That one took all the fight out of me.
“I’m disappointed in myself,” he said. “I should have won it.”
Junior Christian Redmond lost to three kids who were all ranked in the top five in the state at 195. That included a 5-2 decision against Yorktown’s Myron Howard in the seventh-place match that left him 42-10.
“I wasn’t supposed to even get out of semistate, so it’s pretty nice to place at state,” Redmond said. “I think I can come back next year and hopefully do better.”
“The thing I told the kids today after they’d lost their first match, is ‘You have some of the best kids in the nation, not just in the state, here,’” Jennings coach Howard Jones said. “They have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a building block for next year.”
The Panthers had one other state qualifier. Sophomore Brendan Sutton lost his first round match at 285 on Friday.
“First of all, I’m proud of them,” Jones said. “If you look back to the summer, these are the same three that went to Fargo (North Dakota for the USA Wrestling nationals). They’ve put the time and effort in. They deserved to be here.”
Saturday’s local results
106: Graham Rooks (Columbus East) dec. Cameron Diep (New Palestine) 11-5; lost to Colton Cummings (Lowell) 3-0; dec. Geoffrey Davis (Fort Wayne Wayne) 3-1; third place.
145: Andrew Herrin (Jennings County) lost to Evan Smiley (Beech Grove) 5-4; lost to Tanner Shipley (Huntington North) 17-5); lost to Blake Jourdan (Evansville Mater Dei) 11-3; eighth place.
195: Christian Redmond (Jennings County) lost to Blake Rypel (Cathedral) by pin, :42; lost to Nick Fowler (Calumet) 13-2; lost to Myron Howard (Yorktown) 5-2; eighth place.