For The Daily Journal
A state qualifier a year ago, Center Grove’s Gleason Mappes now has a reserved spot atop the winner’s podium.
By Saturday night, he’ll know exactly where.
The fourth and youngest of the storied family’s brothers, Mappes returned to his second IHSAA state finals Friday night in Indianapolis and made certain there was no repeat of last season’s first-round exit.
Scoring a late third-period escape, 18th-ranked Mappes (36-9) avenged an earlier loss to No. 9 Tavonte Malone (41-7) of South Bend Adams with a 4-3 decision to push into this morning’s 160-pound quarterfinals.
Earlier this season at the Al Smith Invitational, Mappes lost to Malone 3-2 by decision with a takedown surrendered in the final seconds.
With a more relaxed demeanor and comfort level inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Mappes never broke, even when Malone knotted the match at 3-all in the second period.
“I didn’t wrestle that last match at the Al Smith very smart, but going into this match, I had complete confidence in myself,” Mappes said. “I had to go out there and put together my match and perform.”
Mappes’ brother Sean won the 170-pound state title in 2012, and his father Don won the 145-pound state championship in 1976 at Roncalli.
Gleason would like to continue the tradition.
“The match was kind of looking just like it, but he’s come a long way since then,” Center Grove head coach Cale Hoover said. “Getting that first takedown in the first period was big. He’s been in a lot of close matches.
“We’re thinking bigger and better things,” Hoover added. “We were looking at the draw and figured he could be in the semifinals for sure if he performs. Getting out of Friday is huge, especially since he’s a sophomore.”
Mappes will face No. 6 Josh Garmin (41-1) of Fort Wayne Carroll in the quarterfinals at 9:30 a.m.
Indian Creek’s three state qualifiers faced immediate adversity and couldn’t recover on opening night.
Alex Mosconi (34-4), ranked 10th at 113 by IndianaMat.com as a freshman, lost to second-ranked Alec White (43-1) of New Palestine by decision 3-2. White secured the match with a two-point reversal with 35 seconds left in the third-period.
“He’s young. First time here and it’s a big stage,” Indian Creek head coach Pat Dowty said. “You can’t give up a 2-point reversal. It has to be one, not two. We ended up giving up the two and that cost us the match because we only had around 30 seconds left to get an escape.”
Fifth-ranked Senior Elijah Dunn (40-3) lost to No. 6 Brett Johnson (36-3) in the 152-pound opening round by decision 7-2.
“That was a tough draw. He’s a legit wrestler, and he did his homework on us,” Dowty said. “We came up short today. He’s been awesome to the program. He’s one of the most impressive athletes I’ve had the opportunity to coach.”
Sophomore Grant Goforth (30-12) was pinned by Elkhart Memorial’s David Eli (40-3) in 2:59 at 182 pounds.
Franklin’s seventh-ranked Burk VanHorn (39-4) beat 10th-ranked Jarod Swank (28-4) of Penn by decision 7-3. He will face Perry Meridian’s Noah Warren (38-1) in the 160-pound quarterfinals.
Heavyweight Quinn York (42-2), who is ranked fourth in the state, blanked Chris Ridle (29-10) of Perry Meridian by decision 5-0. He will contend with top-seeded Owen Perkins (32-2) of Oak Hill in the morning.