JEFFERSONVILLE — For Columbus East 145-pounder Mike Wayant, it was a proud moment, winning a regional championship Saturday at Jeffersonville High School.
It also was a “whew!” moment.
“Everyone is watching,” said Wayant, who has gone through the sectional and regional grinder the past two Saturdays with sectional and regional titles to show for his effort.
He added the regional crown after beating Seymour’s Matthew Ruddick 6-4 in the title match. It was the fourth time he had beaten Ruddick this season, and every match seems to get closer.
But Wayant did accomplish the main goal, which was to advance to next Saturday’s semi-state tournament. The top four wrestlers there earn state meet berths.
If everyone was watching on Saturday, they would have seen a determined East squad go 3-3 in title matches to take second place in the regional behind champion Floyd Central.
Floyd Central scored 173½ points to edge East, which had 155.
Rounding out the top five were Jennings County (110), Jeffersonville (96½) and Columbus North (94).
“Floyd Central is just a good team and they beat us,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “We’re just not good enough at this time to beat them.”
Even so, Cooper was proud of his team’s performance. “Absolutely, I am pleased,” he said. “The first three weeks of the season, after we started practice, I didn’t know if we would have anyone qualify for state. Now we have six with a chance.”
East didn’t have any third- or fourth-place finishers, so their finalists were their only wrestlers to advance.
Besides Wayant, East 132-pounder Mitch Gilbert won a championship with an 11-2 win over Jennings County’s Ethan Herrin, and 170-pounder Jimmy Fisher took a title with a 10-4 victory over New Albany’s Ethan Lee.
Placing second for East were 126-pounder Dalton Noblitt, who dropped a 5-0 decision to New Albany’s Austin Jamison; 152-pounder Kyle Stillinger, who lost 14-6 to Madison’s Jordan Partee; and 285-pounder Rob McKee, who lost 2-1 to Jeffersonville’s Gavan Jolley-Little.
North put two wrestlers in the finals. Evan Speaker dropped a 20-4 decision to Floyd Central’s Terrance Kennedy (36-0) at 106 pounds. But Luke Teague gave North a champion with an 8-4 win over Jennings County’s Dakota Bott at 182.
Jennings County placed three wrestlers in the finals — Herrin, Bott and 220-pounder Colton Castetter, who was pinned in 1:30 by Floyd Central’s Nick Otersbach.
Brown County’s two finalists both lost. Austin Ely dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to Jeffersonville’s Jasi Coureur. Brett Cline lost 5-0 to Madison’s Mitchell Sandlin at 195 pounds.