The road to Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse and a state championship starts this Saturday for local wrestlers as sectional action is set to get underway.
The one goal for sectionals is simple: advance. “I would like to advance as many as possible to the regional,” Anderson coach Cary House said. There are 14 weight classes in the sectional and the top four in each will advance to the regional round at Pendleton Heights on Feb. 8.
At Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Madison County tourney champion Elwood leads the local contingent that includes Pendleton Heights, Alexandria, Frankton, Anderson and Lapel.
“I’m hoping that we have a strong showing,” Elwood coach Fred Short said. “We have not done well in the sectional for a long time. As a team, I think we should be a second- or third-place team.”
Elwood has won 13 team sectional titles in its history with the last coming in 2005. The Panthers return Sammy Mireles, who finished third in the 170-pound weight class and went to the semistate where he finished sixth. Short also has high hopes for several others including Dakota Cole (126 pounds), Brady Hawes (138), Tyler Hoel (145), Alex Mireles (152), Derek Bryant (160) and Damion Sizelove (195).
House’s Anderson squad finished 15-8 in dual meets this season and there is optimism for his Indians in several weight classes. House cited Mike Fetters (120 lbs), Zack Amos (145), Bryant White (195) and Rome Kayzer (220) as the top hopefuls for the Indians. “I’m pleased with where we are,” said House. “We’ve gotten better throughout the year.”
Among Pendleton’s returnees will be Tyler Flood, who reached the semistate last year and coach Dave Cloud feels Flood could go a little farther this year. “He is good enough to stand on the podium at Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse,” Cloud said of his sophomore. “He has to be mentally and physically ready.”
Pendleton also returns Aaron Sikorski, Wes Robinson, Spencer McCool and Matt Boyll from last year’s team that advanced 11 to the regional. But injuries have stymied the success that Cloud and the team had envisioned for 2013-14. “I’m hoping we wrestle well Saturday, but it’s been frustrating with all of the injuries,” Cloud said of the Arabians, who went 10-11 on the year. “We had at least four out with injuries at each of the major meets including the Madison County tourney.”
Noblesville has been the strongest competition at the sectional, winning the team title four years in a row and 19 times in school history. The Millers won eight of the weight classes last year and return four of their sectional champions: Niko Barrantes, Derek Noon, Jacob Wormuth and Ben Elliott.
Both House and Short see Noblesville as the favorite and Cloud said he would be “shocked” if the Millers don’t win. The coaches also see host Hamilton Heights in the mix as well as their own squads. The remaining teams in Sectional 19 include Frankton, Lapel, Tipton, Tri-Central and Guerin Catholic.
Shenandoah will travel to Tri, Daleville goes to Delta and Madison-Grant will compete at Oak Hill.
Matches are set to start at each site at 9 a.m. and tickets are $6 at the door.