By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ARCADIA, Ind. —
Luke Blanton barely broke a sweat as his search for a state wrestling championship began Saturday in Sectional 19 at Hamilton Heights High School.
The Alexandria senior needed to wrestle just twice to claim the 138-pound title, and he needed just 1 minute, 24 seconds on the mat to pin Noblesville’s Stephen Kitko in the final.
“I didn’t get as many matches as I wanted,” Blanton said after improving his season record to 41-0. “But I worked what I needed to work. The goal is still to get to the state finals.”
Blanton was one of four individual champions from Madison County in a tournament won overall by Noblesville. The Millers put up 252 points to easily outpace second-place Pendleton Heights (194).
Alexandria was fourth with 105 points, Frankton was fifth with 95, Elwood took seventh with 82, Anderson finished eighth with 78 and Lapel was 10th with 34 points in the 11-team field.
The Arabians and Tigers each had two individual champions, with Pendleton Heights’ Jeremiah Roosa emerging victorious in the day’s most competitive and controversial match.
Roosa (14-8) appeared to win the match against Tri-Central’s Clay Shaffer with a takedown just as time expired in regulation. But the official, who initially had signaled two points for the Arabians junior, reversed his decision after a short conference.
Roosa appeared to get on the board again early in the overtime period, but the points were taken off the board again shortly after being signaled. Finally, with less than a minute remaining in the extra session, Roosa scored a takedown that stuck to pull out a 7-5 victory.
“It was intense, especially when the ref kept giving me points and taking them away,” Roosa said. “I just kept scooting. I knew my coach (Dave Cloud), if I lost, he would’ve killed me.”
Roosa’s teammate, freshman Tyler Flood (19-4), claimed the first title of the day with a pin against Lapel’s Ian Lamb 2:40 seconds into the 106-pound final.
Flood was confident in his chances during his first postseason appearance despite the fact he did not receive the No. 1 seed.
“Most of the kids in my weight class were not really that amazing (on paper),” Flood said. “So I kinda expected it.”
Flood said he’s happy his win will allow him to face a fourth-place finisher next week in the regional in his home gymnasium.
Alexandria’s Lincoln Kyle (38-3) did enter the field as a top seed, and he lived up to the billing.
The Tigers senior rolled through his bracket, finishing with a 4-0 victory against Hamilton Heights’ Sam Staebler in the final.
Even with his championship performance, however, Kyle still saw room for improvement.
“I felt like my first two matches went really well,” he said. “My last match, I probably could have done better. I need to pick it up in the third period. But overall, it was not a bad day.”
Pendleton Heights’ Wesley Robinson (120), Elwood’s Brady Hawes (126), Pendleton Heights’ Matthew Gopp (145), Frankton’s Ian Pierce (220) and Alexandria’s Austin Neill (285) each finished as sectional runners-up.
In all, 28 wrestlers from Madison County finished in the top four classes of their weight class and advanced to next week’s regional.
All of them share a similar goal as Kyle, who hopes to join Blanton at the IHSAA state finals in three weeks in Indianapolis.
“I’ve been excited about this season,” he said. “From the beginning of the year, the goal has always to be down at Banker Life.”