With just a few weeks until the individual wrestling state championships, the pressure to win just builds.
The regional tournament is no exception.
Columbus North senior Andrew Jones earned the Bull Dogs their first regional champion of the day at 152 pounds in what was one of the day’s more exciting matches.
Jones found himself in trouble early when Floyd Central’s Cory Troutman scored on a throw that put Jones to his back, but Jones was able to re-roll Troutman and score points of his own, putting Troutman to his back.
With eight seconds left in the first period, Jones secured the fall.
“I put myself in these situations a lot,” Jones said. “The coaches have helped me tremendously these past few weeks with these types of situations, and I was able to get the win.
“I’m ready to get to the next level,” he said. “I have my family and friends behind me every step of the way, so I’m feeling pretty good.”
Columbus East senior Jimmy Fisher wrestled one of the more conservative matches of the tournament, escaping within five seconds of the second period and riding out Floyd Central’s Chase Herron the duration of the third period to take the 170-pound championship.
“Getting this win was huge,” Fisher said. “I knew if I had the top position in the third period I could hold him and get the win.”
Bull Dogs senior Luke Teague kept his postseason run going at 182 pounds, dominating Providence’s Matt Hayes from the first whistle to get a 17-4 major decision and a second consecutive regional title.
“It feels like déjà vu,” Teague said. “It really feels amazing. Being two wins away from my ultimate goal of going to state is a great feeling.”
Senior Cody Speaker also advanced to Saturday’s Evansville Semistate for the Bull Dogs, placing fourth at 126, while 285-pound senior Kenny King also advanced with a fourth-place finish.
After suffering a setback in the semifinals, senior Olympian Dalton Noblitt fought back and dominated his third-place match, winning by major decision, 18-8, at 132 pounds.
“I need to learn to take one match at a time,” Noblitt said. “I overlooked my semifinal match. If I wrestle how I did in my third-place match, I will be OK.”
Also finishing third for the Olympians was Quade Greiwe (195), who won 9-2 in the third-place match against Dylan Cain of Greensburg.
Jennings County punched four tickets to Evansville, including two champions with Ethan Herrin (138) and Colton Castetter (220).
Herrin had one of the more impressive matches of the tournament, scoring an early takedown in the first with near-fall points to take a 4-0 lead. After a quick reversal to put him up 6-0 going into the third, he secured the major decision with a double leg and near-fall points to win 11-0.
“It’s great going back to Evansville,” Herrin said of his second consecutive semistate appearance. “If I wrestle like I know I can, I feel like I have a great chance of making it to state.”
After a mostly neutral first period, Castetter showed his dominance in the top position, securing a butcher to pin Drew Neisius of Greensburg in 3:20 at 220 pounds.
“It’s good to see my hard work paying off,” Castetter said. “It’s a good feeling to know I’m moving on, but the season isn’t over yet.”
Christian Redmond finished second for the Panthers at 195, losing 4-0 to Mitchell Sandlin from Madison. Gabe Wilson finished third, winning 4-0 against Joe Buening of Greensburg at 160 pounds.
Austin Ely was the lone champion for Brown County, scoring a late takedown in the first period to secure a 2-1 decision against Jarrod Cunningham of Floyd Central at 113 pounds.
“I just had to wrestle my style,” Ely said. “My focus is now on the next match, because once you lose from here, you’re done.”
Austin Walsh took second for the Eagles, losing by fall to Bailey Lahue of Corydon Central at 120 pounds. Evan Bullock took fourth, losing 4-2 against Jordan Gray of Eastern (Pekin) at 106.
Seymour senior Matthew Ruddick claimed the 145-pound title, securing a fall with 12 seconds remaining in the match against Austin Spray of Southwestern.
“I’ve been in this position before,” Ruddick said. “I know what I need to do, and I know I’m just two wins from going to Indianapolis.”
Madison took the team title with 86 points, followed by Floyd Central (84), Greensburg (74), Jennings County (71) and Columbus North (59). Brown County finished 10th with 46, and East finished 11th with 41.