The stakes are pretty simple for the eight county wrestlers competing in wrestling regionals on Saturday: win the first match.
If those grapplers do so, they’ll earn automatic qualification for the semistate, with the rest of the day spent battling for seeding. Seven county wrestlers – four from Clinton Central and three from Frankfort – are at the North Montgomery Regional while Rossville’s Adam Easterday competes at Twin Lakes.
Frankfort senior Hugo Perez, who’s 34-1 at 132 pounds, will be going for his third consecutive regional title and is coming off his first sectional title.
Perez’s first match comes against Crawfordsville’s Tyler Bilyeu (15-24), who Perez pinned in 52 seconds in the Sagamore Athletic Conference Meet. If Perez were to win, he’d get the victor between Fountain Central’s Alex Haddock (26-14) and Fishers’ Jordan Lile (36-4), who’s ranked 14th in the state and was a state qualifier at 120 pounds last year.
Perez is ranked 12th in the state.
“There are four really good wrestlers in that weight class,” said Frankfort head coach Richard Sallee. “The four guys that are going to come out of our regional in the semistate are 2-3-4-5, with the kid from Perry Meridian number one.”
Perez nearly lost in the sectional semifinal to Westfield’s Dillon Eldred. Sallee said that Eldred could cause more problems for Perez than Life or Hamilton Southeastern’s Mitch Snyder – who Perez beat in the sectional final – because he’s a taller, lankier wrestler than Perez, Snyder or Lile.
Clinton Central 170-pounder Jeff Scott (32-1) is eyeing a trip to the championship match. Scott suffered his first loss of the season in the sectional final on Saturday to Hamilton Southeastern’s Austin Neibarger. Scott was pinned in the second period after he passed out during the match.
Central head coach Austin Faulkner said Scott is at 100 percent heading into Saturday’s regional.
“Jeff is fine and practiced all week,” Faulkner said. “He is a guy that takes losses personal and has been working hard. He takes a ‘one match at a time’ approach to this Saturday because at this level no one can be overlooked.”
Scott has a favorable draw to reach the finals as well. He’ll go against North Montgomery’s Wesley Boone (20-12) in the first round and, if he wins, gets the winner of Crawfordsville’s Robert Manns (32-6) and Lebanon’s Douglass Moore (20-16).
Scott is ranked fourth in the state and Neibarger third.
“We’ll worry about Neibarger when that time comes. He has to win the first two matches first,” Faulkner said.
Frankfort 220-pound senior Cameron Risse (27-7) opens with North Montgomery’s Brayden Smith (23-12). Risse has beaten Smith twice on the season, pinning him both times.
Sallee said he doesn’t expect Risse to go into the match overconfident.
“We preach to our kids the fact it’s one match at a time,” Sallee said. “All of our guys have aspirations of making it to the state meet. If you lose to anybody, it’s over. One mistake can cost you. Hopefully, he learns from what he’s already done to the guy. He knows what works and what didn’t work.”
Risse is also eyeing a rematch with Zionsville’s Jacob Aven, who Risse has lost to twice this season, including last week’s sectional final.
“He’s got confidence in himself,” Sallee said. “He thinks he’s right there on the edge, ready to beat that kid.”
The other four wrestlers will have to pull upsets to reach both the semifinals and championship matches. Since they finished in fourth place, they’ll go up against the sectional champion from the Crawfordsville Sectional.
Those are as follows:
- 120: Caleb Archibald (24-12), Clinton Central vs. Jamie May (31-4), North Montgomery.
- 126: Wyatt Lucas (29-5), Clinton Central vs. Chandler Moore (33-3), Southmont.
- 182: Adam Miller (27-8), Clinton Central vs. Brett Green (26-5), Attica.
- 195: Alex Greeno (12-7), Frankfort vs. Ty Webster (33-2), North Montgomery.
“Adam has had a great week at making some technical changes and keeps getting better,” Faulkner said. “Adam does not have an off button and that works in his favor. I believe that his weight class is wide open and you can bet that Adam is going to give his all.”
Moore, Lucas’s opponent, is ranked ninth in the state.
“If Wyatt wrestles a fast pace and moves his feet he can wrestles with anybody,” Faulkner said.
Archibald wrestled May earlier in the year, losing a close match.
“I think Caleb is a different wrestler now then he was then and he is expecting different results this time around,” Faulkner said.
Greeno was pinned by Webster in the SAC Meet title match.
“If it’s not a throwing match, if they get in an actual wrestling match, who knows what’ll end up happening,” Sallee said. “He knows that Ty Webster’s a great wrestler. He thinks he’s got a chance as long as he wrestles a smart match.”
Easterday (28-12) goes against Twin Lakes’ Iziah Metcalf (33-5) in his first match at the Logansport Regional.