Ratliff wins semistate; Thornton, Jessup also qualify for state with runner-up finishes

Asher Ratliff

EVANSVILLE — Columbus North sophomore Asher Ratliff won a semistate championship, and two other local wrestlers punched their tickets to next weekend’s Wrestling State finals with runner-up finishes in Saturday’s Evansville Semistate.

Ratliff (39-2), ranked ninth at 157 pounds, showed a flair for the dramatic, pulling out a 3-1 overtime win against seventh-ranked Mason Day of Brownsburg in the semifinals, then scoring a takedown with 24 seconds remaining in the final to claim a 6-4 victory against sixth-ranked Silas Stits of Center Grove in the final.

“It was awesome,” Ratliff said. “I came in with a plan to advance and to win, and wrestling hard and finishing those two matches late, that’s when you see all those hard practices and pushing your body as hard as you can, that’s when you’re going to see all of that pay off, and I think it showed today.”

Ratliff’s win against Stits avenged one of his two losses from this season. Stits pinned Ratliff in the first period of a match the first week of the season.

“I came in with a plan and executed it pretty well,” Ratliff said.

Justice Thornton

Meanwhile, North junior Justice Thornton (34-2), ranked 13th at 138, tech-falled Boonville’s Eli Mayes and won 5-2 decisions against both 15th-ranked Seth Syra of Avon and 14th-ranked William Vander Luitgarten of Center Grove before dropping a 7-2 decision to third-ranked Brady Ison of Brownsburg.

Talon Jessup

Columbus East sophomore Talon Jessup (35-3), ranked eighth at 106, pinned Evansville Memorial’s Matteo Cirignano, posted a 10-2 major decision against 12th-ranked Eli Ogle of Brownsburg and scored a 4-0 decision against 14th-ranked Mason Goelz of Avon before being edged by sixth-ranked Royce Malone of Monrovia 7-6 in the final.

The top four in each weight class advanced to the state finals, which also will be at Evansville’s Ford Center this year. Draws for all 14 weight classes will be conducted today and will be livestreamed beginning at 4 p.m. on ihsaatv.org

Meanwhile, a few other locals won their first-round matches but lost in the ticket round. East’s 21st-ranked Gage Rutan dropped a 13-3 major decision to Brownsburg’s fourth-ranked Braylon Reynolds at 126, 19th-ranked Caleb Cooper lost a 5-0 decision to Brownsburg’s second-ranked Parker Reyonlds at 144, Tyler Lake dropped a 14-2 major decision to Terre Haute South’s 18th-ranked Cooper McCloy at 175 and Colin McMahon was pinned by Brownsburg’s No. 1-ranked Gunner Henry at 190.

Also in the ticket round, North’s Cohen Long dropped a 7-0 decision to Center Grove’s fourth-ranked Eddie Goss at 132. Jennings County’s Lane Kirchner lost by tech fall to Ison at 138.

East’s Ethan Poling (113), 22nd-ranked Caleb Kirkpatrick (138), 25th-ranked Nate Anderson (150), Lincoln Cooper (157) and Clayton Miller (165); North’s Nolan Riley (106), Josiah Green (144), Luke Spurgeon (150), Evan Saevre (165), Keller DeSpain (175) and Jose Ramirez (190) and Jennings’ Luke Kirchner (120), Xavior Gindhart (215) and Kamron Carney (285) all lost in the first round.