220: Jacob McClaine (Lebanon, 36-0) UTB Joe Myren (Hamilton Southeastern, 28-10) 3-2
285: Jack Williams (Carmel, 22-7) UTB Austin Dollens (Westfield, 23-9) 4-2
Maria Leichty Sports Editor
ZIONSVILLE - The Zionsville wrestling sectional was filled with Indiana talent as Carmel fought Hamilton Southeastern for the sectional title. Carmel finished on top while HSE, along with Westfield, sent multiple wrestlers to the finals but were only able to procure one championship title.
Carmel had six champions, while HSE, Westfield and Fishers each had one. Westfield finished in fourth place as a team and Fishers finished in sixth. A total of 36 Hamilton County wrestlers qualified for the North Montgomery regionals this Saturday. They will be joined by the Crawfordsville sectional.
Westfield's Liam Jagow is ranked No. 10 in the state at 195 and he flexed that prowess Saturday at the Zionsville regional. The bracket was likely to shake down to Zionsville's No. 12 Andrew Williamson as Jagow's championship competitor.
Jagow and Williamson had faced off in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference championship meet as well. Both matches ended with Jagow getting the last say. He won a 3-1 sudden victory match Saturday.
The match was not without controversy. As Jagow and Williamson battled an even match down to the wire, Jagow was awarded a takedown in the last few seconds that was reversed after the refs and coaches discussed the controversial call. However, he went on to get an escape to clinch the sudden victory.
"He's the hardest worker in our room," Rock head coach Phil Smith said. "He trains for those types of moments. He puts himself in those situations in the practice room so for him, if it gets late in the third period or gets to overtime, we're always confident."
Jagow was Westfield's sole champion on their way to fourth place as a team. Three Rocks finished runnerup, losing by one or two points.
Noah Robinson, seeded fourth, lost a 4-3 decision to the two seed in the championship after overthrowing No. 1 seed Nevin Freestone from Clinton Prairie in the semi-final. He won by pin in 5:17. Justin Miller had a similar journey to the finals. After seeded No. 3, he pinned his way past No. 2 Dallas Davis (Frankfort) then lost a 2-1 title match against Zionsville's No. 1 seed.
At 285, Austin Dollens was the top seed but was beaten out by Carmel's Crae Kunkleman in an ultimate tiebreaker.
"We wrestled some matches pretty tight but a lot of them didn't go our way so we have to find a way to fix that come regional time," Smith said.
Regional qualifiers for the Rocks also included Carson Eldred (106), Reid Hutson (113), and Milo Merkel (120).
"I was proud of Myle Merkel at 120," Smith said. "He was a sixth seed and ends up coming in at fourth - that was a big day for him."
Nine wrestlers competed for Sheridan, with three finishing in the top six but none advancing to the finals.
"Not the results we were looking for today but it is a stepping stone for next season," Blackhawk head coach Steve Leonard said. "I thought my team did what I asked of them today. They went out and were aggressive and tried their best."
Justin Delph (145) placed fifth, despite a second seed. Fishers' Beau Wilbrandt used his third seed to overcome Delph in the semi-final and HSE's Ronan Hiner came from fifth seed to defeat Delph in the consolation round. Ian Pence (285) also finished fifth, but according to his fifth seed. After he lost by decision to four-seed Matthais Einertz (Zionsville), he defeated Einertz in the fifth-place match.
"I was pretty happy with our season," Leonard said. "We should be in good shape for next year as we did not have any seniors and should have everyone back."
The Carmel Greyhounds were fighting with Hamilton Southeastern for the title at times in the Saturday Zionsville regional, but their No. 11 rank and senior-dominant class produced a sectional championship.
"Our seniors have put us in a spot to do good things," Greyhound head coach Ed Pendoski said. "And coach Welch has done an amazing job of breaking things down and to go get people."
Pendoski said he was proud of his kids fight.
"I think the bigger stat for the day is I have seven matches that we won today that were guys that beat us or placed higher than us in tournaments," he added.
Of Carmel's 14 wrestlers, 11 were in the top four seeds and 13 qualified for regionals. A big round for the team was the semi-finals.
"Where we really thought we put a turn on the race was in the semi-finals," Pendoski said. "We won some matches that were super-important and beaten some guys we haven't in the past."
Two key semi-finals for Carmel was Kyle Holman at 113 and Jack Williams at 285. Both were No. 3 seeds and defeated the No. 2 seeds who they had lost to earlier in the year. Each was decided by a tie breakers.
Holman and Williams went on to be crowned sectional champions along with No. 1 seeds Brendan Mattingly (106), Dom Pecoraro (120), Adam Jerde (126) and Jack Eiteljorge (152). No. 1 seed Chris Sauder was upset by Fishers' No. 2 seed, Beau Wilbrandt.
Garrett Sharp (132), Cameron Bacon (160), Logan Hart (170), Bryce Sharp (182), Jayden Williams (195), and Eric Boleman (220) also qualified either in the third or fourth spots.
"I think across the day, we're pretty happy as a program," Pendoski concluded.
HSE came in second place to Carmel, qualifying 11 wrestlers for regionals. However, despite the large number of second through fourth places, the Royals only had one champion.
"We're going to have to win a bunch of those one-point matches," Royal head coach Kyle Poyer said. 'So every weekend we progress from here on, there's a chance we're going to see those one-point matches so we're going to have to find ways to come out on top."
Alec Jessop (182) was one who did come out on top. Jessop was matched up with Lebanon's Evan Stambaugh in the championship for one of the biggest matches of the day. Jessop went up 2-0 but Stambaugh fought back to 2-2. In the last seconds of the match, Jessop was awarded an escape which gave him the victory. Jessop was ranked ninth in the state while Stambaugh was No. 6.
"We know he's a special athlete and he improves every time he's out,"Poyer said. "He's been under the radar all season long so it was really fun to watch him be intense and carry through to a big match."
Three runnerups for HSE included Jacob Garcia (126), Joe Mazero (170) and Joe Myren (220) each lost by either a point or in sudden victory. Myren's was probably the most controversial of the night as Lebanon was awarded a point for stalling in the final seconds of overtime.
"I think Carmel's age and upperclassmen really showed through at the end of the meet," he said. "I'm tremendously proud of our guys."
Beau Wilbrandt was Fishers' sole sectional champion at 145 - and he certainly made it memorable. Wilbrandt was seeded third and pinned the first and second seeds to make a statement. Ironically, his first round was the decision victory over 11-seed Lebanon.
He pinned Sheridan's Justin Delph and Carmel's Chad Sauder on his way to the title.
"Beau has been wrestling well this last month," Tiger head coach Ethan Harris said. "I am really happy for him to get that sectional title. It is huge to win those matches, because it keeps setting you up in the next tournament."
Alex Strueder (126), Jaren Tunstill (132), George Vrachnos (138) and Spencer Bischoff (152) placed third or fourth to qualify for regionals as well. The biggest come-from-behind of the day was Vrachnos who was ranked at the bottom of 138. He fought his way past No. 6 Frankfort and No. 1 Clinton Prairie.
"Overall I am happy with our team's effort," Harris said. "We have improved throughout the season and had a better finishing than last season."