Four wrestlers – two from Frankfort and two from Clinton Central – hope to continue their winning streak in Thursday’s Clinton County Wrestling Meet at Clinton Central.
The highlight is Frankfort senior 132-pounder Hugo Perez, who’s going for his fourth consecutive county title after winning at 112 in 2010, 119 in 2011 and 132 last year.
Perez is undefeated on the season at 16-0, and is coming off an individual championship at the Twin Lakes Invitational. He didn’t allow a single offensive point in winning four matches.
“His goal was definitely to be undefeated in the regular season,” said Frankfort head coach Richard Sallee. “But he hasn’t wrestled great competition yet. The biggest thing is, during practices, he’s going 30 seconds against a fresh body and another person jumps in. He’s got to find a way to get good workouts in, and that’s definitely the way we have to work with him.”
Perez was ranked by IndianaMat.com in his weight class earlier in the year, but has fallen off the charts despite not losing a match.
“I think the thing is that some of the other (ranked) guys are in the same semistate. That’s probably the reason why he’s gotten bumped out,” Sallee said.
Perez’s challengers are Central senior Conner Mullin (8-8) and Rossville’s Adam Easterday (19-8).
There are three wrestlers going for their third straight crown: Frankfort senior Cameron Risse (215 in 2011, 220 in 2012) and Clinton Central juniors Jeff Scott (152 in 2011 and 2012) and Adam Miller (160 in 2011, 170 in 2012).
There are four other defending county champions in the field, three from Frankfort: sophomore Regino Venegas (106), senior Martin Garcia (195, wrestling at 285 this year) and senior Alex Greeno (285, wrestling at 195 this year). Central senior Cameron Campbell won a county title as a sophomore at 130 pounds. He’s 10-6 this season and is part of a crowded 138-pound crowd that includes Frankfort’s Tyler Vela (4-3) and Rossville’s Trenton Fadness (10-7), a regional qualifier last year.
There’s been little challenge to Frankfort’s team crown as the Hot Dogs have won four consecutive county titles. But Central believes it’s up for the challenge.
“The kids are really hungry. I know they’re not going to quit or lay down for anybody,” said Central head coach Austin Faulkner. “But I expect them to wrestle well. We haven’t won county since ’08 and they want to bring home some hardware. They’re chomping at the bit to get after it.”
Frankfort is expected to benefit from some movement in weight classes. Greeno, who won the county title at heavyweight last year, is slotted at 195 pounds for the first time this season. Senior Jose Cervantes (8-8), who has been wrestling at 195, will drop back two weight classes to his natural weight of 170. Freshman Alex Ragains (5-7) drops from 170 to 160 and junior Zach Ragains (5-7) drops from 160 to 152.
With the wrestlers in their natural weight classes now, Sallee expects a better team performance after going 5-7 in the first half of the season.
“We had guys solely working to get down to the right weights,” Sallee said. “We’ve got to make sure they get to those weights for the first time this year to be the strongest we can be.”
Perez, Risse (11-4) and Garcia (11-6) are the only two Frankfort wrestlers significantly over .500. Vela is 4-3, Kegan Miller (182) is 9-8 and Cervantes is 8-8.
The 195-pound contest should be a competitive one between Greeno, CC’s Dallas Snell (7-7) and Prairie senior Tyler Casey (13-3). A potential matchup between the Millers – CC’s Adam and Frankfort’s Kegan – at 182 pounds could also be a highlight, as will Vela and Campbell (10-6) at 138 pounds.
CC’s Colton Mennen (11-6) will be looking to beat Venegas (6-7) in the 106-pound match, with Rossville freshman Tyler Fadness (16-11) also in the mix.
While Clinton Central and Frankfort are the favorites to take the team title, Rossville will have 12 of the 14 spots filled. The number Prairie brings to the table will be determined by how the team’s injuries have progressed.
“It’s going to hinge on the young kids,” Faulkner said. “We’ve got solid kids that are expected to win and get the job done. It’s all going to come down to those toss-ups. We’ve got to get pins where we can and stay off our backs.”
Three juniors – Wyatt Lucas at 126 pounds (15-1), Jordan Petty at 160 pounds (14-2) and Jeff Scott at 170 pounds (16-0) – have powered Central this season. Lucas is ranked 15th in the state in his weight class and his challengers include Prairie’s Jerehme Walker, Rossville’s Kyler Crow (12-9) and either Carlos Cruz (3-3) or Ricky Jose (1-6) from Frankfort.
Scott is ranked seventh in the state and owns a 9-2 victory over the 10th-ranked wrestler, Austin Rose of Greenfield-Central.
“He gets better and better every week,” Faulkner said. “But he hasn’t seen a whole lot of competition as of yet. He’s very physical and I love watching the kid wrestle. He’s got a great attitude and a kid you want involved in any program. If he’s wrestling you, he’s teaching you as he wrestles you.”
Scott’s challengers will be Rossville’s Joecy Martin (16-11), Cervantes and Prairie’s Kenneth Boller.
Rossville senior Seth Querry (15-9) is the favorite at 145 pounds.