Wrestlers learn opppnents for state finals

Asher Ratliff

Asher Ratliff and Talon Jessup drew favorable first-round matchups, and Justice Thornton will be looking to pull a first-round upset in Friday’s opening round of the Wrestling State Finals.

Ratliff, a Columbus North sophomore, is ranked ninth at 157 pounds. He won a semistate title on Saturday at Evansville.

Ratliff (39-2) will face 19th-ranked Javon Frost (33-3) of Delphi in Friday’s first round. The winner will meet eighth-ranked Gavin Davis (28-1) of Bellmont or 12th-ranked Aidan Kincaide (35-5) of Noblesville in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Talon Jessup

Jessup, a Columbus East sophomore, is ranked eighth at 106. He finished runner-up in Saturday’s semistate.

Jessup (35-3) will face 15th-ranked John Bissmeyer (32-11) of Catheral in the opening round at state. The winner will meet second-ranked Mason Jones (36-0) of Lake Central or Charles Fleshman (39-6) of Central Noble in the quarterfinals.

Justice Thornton

Thornton, a North junior, is ranked 13th at 138. He was runner-up in the semistate.

Thornton (34-2) will face fifth-ranked Wesley Smith (46-2) of Plymouth in the first round. The winner will meet fourth-ranked Tony Wood (44-0) of Jay County or Blake Jones (29-7) of Lawrence North in the quarterfinals.

The 152-through-285-pound weight classes will begin at 2 p.m. CST/3 p.m. EST Friday at Evansville’s Ford Center. The 106-through-144-pound classes will start at 5:30 p.m. CST/6:30 p.m. EST Friday.

Quarterfinals begin at 9 a.m. CST/10 a.m. EST Saturday and will be followed by semifinals. Third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches will start at 4:30 p.m. CST/5:30 p.m. EST Saturday, and championship matches begin at 7:30 p.m. CST/8:30 p.m. EST Saturday.

This year’s state finals is being held in Evansville because of NBA All-Star Weekend activities taking place in and around Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which normally hosts the event.