JEFFERSONVILLE — There are two days in January that every high school wrestler in Clark and Floyd County looks forward to each year.
One of those Saturdays is when the Jeffersonville Sectional takes place, which will be on Jan. 28 this season.
The other much-anticipated Saturday will be this weekend when the seven area teams will be competing in their respective conference meets.
Floyd Central, Jeffersonville and New Albany will wrestle in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet at New Albany, starting at 9 a.m. Charlestown, Christian Academy of Indiana, New Washington and Providence will be participating in the Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet at Southwestern, beginning at 8 a.m.
Based on the seedings, Floyd Central is projected to finish the highest among the three area teams in the meet, as it is predicted to place second. Jennings County is the projected winner.
The Highlanders have three grapplers who are top seeds in their respective weight classes in Terrence Kennedy (106), Chris Whitley (113) and Tre Marler (132). Teammates Cory Troutman (138) and Chase Herron (160) are both seeded second, while Floyd Central’s Jackson Randall (170) and Nick Ottersbach (220) each received three seeds.
Highlanders’ head coach Brandon Sisson also is looking for 145-pounder George Emily to have a good meet this weekend as he returns to Floyd Central’s starting lineup. Emily is seeded fourth.
“It is always one of our team goals to win the HHC. We have not accomplished that goal since 2008,” said Sisson, who guided the Highlanders to a fourth-place finish in last year’s conference meet. “In order to achieve that goal, we are going to need all of our wrestlers to at least get their seeds, and some wrestlers will need to beat their seeds.”
Jeff, which placed third in last year’s HHC meet, is predicted to finish third in this year’s meet.
The Red Devils have three No. 1 seeds in Alonzo Shepherd (120), who will be vying for his third HHC title, Brandon Marlin (170) and Elijah Curtley (195). Jasi Coureur is Jeff’s only No. 2 seed as he will be competing in the 106-pound division. Teammates Brent Browner (152) and Gavin Jolley-Little (285) are both seeded third, and the Red Devils’ Jordan Schremp (126) and Brandon Brown (220) are No. 4 seeds.
Jeff head coach Danny Struck also thinks Xavier Weekley (113), David Fridley (145) and Daniel Thompson (160) can have successful days on Saturday.
“Our team goal is to win it, as we go into everything trying to win,” Struck said. “Our main goal is to use this as a measuring stick for our final push for sectionals and beyond. We wrestle a grueling schedule, (which includes) the top-ranked teams from four different states. We feel that while we are projected to take third at this tournament, we have opportunities to move forward. We have quite a few kids seeded lower than they are capable of due to the fact that we wrestle such stiff competition.”
Even though he has four wrestlers projected to reach the finals, Struck believes his team has the capability of advancing more to the final round.
“I could see us with six or seven in the finals. Our grueling schedule will prevail,” Struck said. “Most of our kids should and will place at their seed or one higher. I firmly believe that.”
New Albany is projected to finish fifth in the HHC. Despite having no No. 1 seeds, three Bulldogs are seeded second in Chase Laughead (113), Ethan Lee (182) and Cody Leasor (220).
New Albany standout Austin Jamison is a No. 3 seed in the 126-pound class, while teammate Tre Lynch (106) also is seeded third. The Bulldogs’ Bryce Peavler (120) is a fifth seed, and Hunter Castleberry (132) is a No. 6 seed.
New Albany head coach Eric Burres also expects solid efforts from Landon Scott (152) and Nick Lynch (195).
“Our goal is to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack,” said Burres, whose team placed sixth in the HHC in 2011. “I think we need to have all of our kids finish where they are seeded or better to obtain this team goal, and I feel it is in our reach.”
The three area squads will be wrestling for more than just a conference championship on Saturday.
First, they will be trying to gain momentum into sectional. Second, solid performances this weekend could help several wrestlers get good seeds at sectional.
“This meet is not just important for momentum heading into sectionals in a few weeks. Some of these matches will be for sectional seeds, and this is very important,” Burres said. “In addition, the season is coming to that time of the year where you hope to have your kids wrestling at their best or peaking at the right time of the year.”
Struck agrees with Burres that this weekend can have a big impact on sectional seeding.
“Learning to make or place higher than what we are seeded is important for us,” Struck said. “Not only so it teaches us to set ourselves up higher in the state tourney, but because Floyd Central and New Albany are both sectional (teams), we can make or break our sectional seeds right here in the conference tournament.”
Charlestown will look to repeat as SIWC champions after placing seven in the finals last year.
Junior Seth McCutchen, who has returned to the Pirate lineup after being out the last few weeks because of an injury, is Charlestown’s lone No. 1 seed at 182 pounds.
Two Pirates are seeded second in their division in senior Jacob Hall (170) and junior Cameron Stuart (132). Charlestown head coach Adam Doherty also expects a good showing from Bryant Haynes, who is seeded sixth at 126 pounds.
“We’ve got a good chance,” Doherty assessed his team’s chances of winning two SIWC titles in a row. “If everybody places, we should be in good shape. Pins will be huge. We’re capable of wrestling good enough to win it.”
Doherty thinks the SIWC should get his team ready for the Mid-Southern Conference Championships a week from Saturday in Corydon and the Jeff Sectional.
“It will be a good warm-up with sectional coming up and the MSC next week,” Doherty said.
After finishing third in last year’s SIWC meet, Providence has its sights set on improving a couple of positions in the meet this year.
“Our goal this year is to win the team title,” Pioneers’ head coach Patrick Fleming said. “We have wrestled well against the other conference schools in duals this year, and hopefully we can do the same in the tournament. I think it will be a close contest between Providence, Charlestown and Milan. I expect our seniors to step up and lead the way in their last SIWC meet.”
Fleming has five seniors who are seeded in the top four. They are Zach Hellinger (106), Jared Griffith (132), Brennan Gregory (138), Jordan Kaelin (160) and Thomas Crawley (285).
Fleming thinks the SIWC will be good preparation for the Jeff Sectional.
“The SIWC tournament is a great warm-up for postseason wrestling,” Fleming said. “Plus a lot of the sectional seeds will be determined here. Our guys still need to progress in some areas, but I think we’ll be peaking at the right time.”
New Washington’s main goal on Saturday is to bring home an unprecedented three SIWC individual championships.
The Mustangs have four wrestlers who will try to reach that goal. Junior Brady Meenach (126), who won the 119-pound title at last year’s SIWC meet, and senior Aaron Dean (160) have both secured a No. 1 seed. Sophomore Jacob Franklin is seeded second at 152 pounds, while fellow sophomore Yancey Crase is the No. 3 seed at 132 pounds.
“New Washington has never had three conference champions, so that’s what we’re looking to do,” Mustangs’ head coach Jeremy Campbell said. “It’s important for us to wrestle well this weekend to make our goals.”
Daniel Doty is the lowest-seeded Christian Academy of Indiana wrestler, as he is second at 113 pounds. If the sophomore advances to the finals, he will most likely face Southwestern No. 1 seed Cory O’Neal. Doty has lost twice to O’Neal this season.
Warrior sophomore Sam Mitchell is a No. 3 seed at 120 pounds, while teammate Trey Sturdy is seeded fourth at 132 pounds.
CAI head coach Brett O’Loughlin also thinks sophomore Christian Roberts could surprise some people in the 138-pound division.
“All the wrestlers want to do well, but it will take a tremendous amount of focus on the mat for them to achieve their goals,” O’Loughlin said. “The team knows it’s important to show well this weekend because this is where they gain the confidence necessary to do well at sectionals.”
• PIRATES CLAIM FOREST PARK CROWN: Charlestown posted a 4-1 record in five dual meets to capture the Forest Park Invitational title last Saturday.
Three Pirates went 5-0 and took home individual championships. They were Luke Woods (106), Jacob Hall (170) and Seth McCutchen (182). Charlestown’s Bryant Haynes had a 4-1 record at 120 pounds.
“There were a lot of close matches. Every match was a team effort,” Pirates’ head coach Adam Doherty said.
• C’TOWN FALLS AT FLOYD: Last Friday, three Charlestown wrestlers picked up victories in a 56-12 loss at Floyd Central.
The Pirate victors were Hall at 170 pounds, McCutchen at 182 pounds and Adam Hoff at 195 pounds. Hoff won by forfeit.
• UPCOMING MEETS: vs. Jeffersonville, tonight, 6; Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet at Southwestern, Saturday, 8 a.m.
• HIGHLANDERS SECOND IN OLD CAPITOL: Floyd Central had two individual champions in placing second in the Old Capitol Classic last Saturday in Corydon. Zionsville won the meet.
Highlander juniors Tre Marler and Nick Ottersbach each won their weight classes. It was Ottersbach’s first tournament title of his high school career. Floyd Central’s Terrence Kennedy, John Strobel and Jackson Randall each finished second. Finishing third for the Highlanders were Ian Bagwell, Cory Troutman, Kolton Popp and Lance Youtsey.
• OTHER NOTABLES FROM THE OLD CAPITOL CLASSIC: Justin Koehler, fourth; Matt Rue, fourth; Michael Kruer, fourth; John Meldrum, fifth; Sean Combs, sixth.
• FLOYD DOWNS PIRATES: Floyd Central cruised past Charlestown in a home dual meet last Friday, 56-12.
Winning for the Highlanders were Combs, Kennedy, Strobel, Marler, Popp, Troutman, Kruer, Meldrum, Bagwell, Ottersbach and Koehler.
• NEXT MEET: Hoosier Hills Conference meet at New Albany, Saturday, 9 a.m.
• JEFF 1-3 AT FRANKLIN: Jeffersonville posted a 1-3 record in the Franklin five-way meet last Saturday. The Red Devils’ lone victory came against Michigan perennial power Holt. It was the first time in Jeff’s history that it has beaten Holt, which the Red Devils (20-8) have battled several times in the last few years.
Jeff’s Alonzo Shepherd and Elijah Curtley each went 4-0. Curtley recorded three pins. Finishing 3-1 for the Red Devils were Jordan Schremp, Brandon Marlin and Gavin Jolley-Little.
• FRANKLIN FIVE-WAY DUAL-MEET SCORES: Franklin 35, Jeff 22; Indianapolis Ben Davis 32, Jeff 30; Yorktown 40, Jeff 30; Jeff 39, Holt, Mich. 31.
• JEFF VARSITY B TEAM SIXTH IN OLD CAPITOL: Jeff’s varsity B squad wound up sixth in the Old Capitol Classic last Saturday in Corydon. The Red Devils’ David Webb finished second at 220 pounds. Teammate JoJo DeLeon was third at 113 pounds.
“We are very excited about this finish at Old Capitol,” Jeff head coach Danny Struck said.
• OTHER NOTABLES IN OLD CAPITOL: 106 — Stevie Jones, fifth; 120 — Taivon Lucas, sixth; 126 — Garrett Gilles, seventh; 132 — Lucas Casteel, seventh; 138 — Braden Harrman, seventh; 145 — Chris Bland, fifth; 152 — Leo Rodriguez, fourth; 160 — Tyler Fridley, sixth; 170 — Josh Stovall, sixth; 182 — Nick Kyro, seventh; 195 — Aamil Haleem, fourth; 285 — Armond Thompson, sixth.
• UPCOMING MEETS: vs. Charlestown, tonight, 6; HHC meet at New Albany, Saturday, 9 a.m.
• MUSTANGS GO 1-4 AT PROVIDENCE: New Washington ended up with a 1-4 record in a six-way meet at Providence last Saturday. The Mustangs’ lone triumph was against Southwestern, while they suffered setbacks to the host Pioneers, Jennings County, Heritage Hills and Milan.
Two New Washington wrestlers went 5-0 in Brady Meenach and Aaron Dean. Mustang sophomore Jacob Franklin was 4-1, while teammate Yancey Crase ended up 3-2.
• UPCOMING MEETS: home vs. Corydon, tonight, 6; Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet at Southwestern, Saturday, 8 a.m.
• PIONEERS 4-1 IN SIX-WAY: Providence went 4-1 in dual meets in its own six-way meet last Saturday. The Pioneers prevailed over Southwestern, Jennings County, Milan and New Washington.
Three Providence grapplers went undefeated. Jared Griffith (132) and Thomas Crawley (285) each recorded 5-0 marks, while Brennan Gregory (138) went 4-0.
Three Pioneers went 4-1 in Zach Hellinger (106), Brett Kempf (145) and Daniel Fernandez (170).
“Our guys are getting better each week,” Providence head coach Patrick Fleming said. “Overall, I was pleased with their efforts this weekend. There are still some areas where we can improve, but I think we’ll be peaking at the right time.”
• PROVIDENCE SIX-WAY DUAL-MEET SCORES: Providence 66, Southwestern 18; Providence 43, Jennings County 21; Heritage Hills 46, Providence 27; Providence 42, Milan 40; Providence 57, New Washington 15.
• NEXT MEET: SIWC meet, Saturday, 8 a.m.