17 county wrestlers advance to semistate

MOORESVILLE

A single week made a world of difference for Burk VanHorn.

On Saturday, Franklin High School’s 170-pound wrestler won his weight class at the Mooresville Regional a week after placing third at sectional.

Inside the same gym, no less.

VanHorn, who defeated Center Grove’s Jonah Hays, 8-3, in the regional championship match, takes a record of 33-1 to this weekend’s Evansville Reitz Semistate inside the spacious Ford Center.

“Last week, I just didn’t feel as fresh as I did this week,” said VanHorn, the reigning state runner-up at 160 pounds. “Everybody asked if that loss at sectional was heartbreaking, but it didn’t really faze me.

“I would rather lose now than at semistate or at the State Finals. I wrestled (Hays) at county. He’s a great wrestler, and I knew I had to get to my offense first. Today I just felt more comfortable and relaxed than last week.”

The senior’s success proved to be one of the highlights.

Brownsburg won the team title with 184 points. The Bulldogs were followed by Hendricks County rival Avon with 148 and Center Grove in third with 91.5 points.

The Trojans took part in five regional final matches and advanced a total of six wrestlers to semistate. A total of 17 wrestlers from Johnson County are moving on.

“I’m very pleased. We punched five into the (regional) finals, and we knew those matchups were tough,” Center Grove coach Cale Hoover said. “If you look at our opponents, we had two returning state champions, a returning state runner-up and a returning third-place finisher.

“That’s a tall order, but I feel we positioned ourselves as well as we can for next week. I feel we’re getting a little better each week. I think all six of them have a great chance to get out. They’re all good enough. It’s just a matter of putting together quality matches.”

The lone other local regional champion was Center Grove junior Gleason Mappes at 160 pounds.

Mappes defeated Monrovia senior Ethan Stock, 7-4, in the final to improve his season record to 35-1.

“The biggest thing is he’s pretty solid on his feet, and that’s always something I’m trying to work on and get better at,” Mappes said of Stock. “It’s always an interesting challenge. But I don’t really care who I wrestle. Whoever is in front of me is in front of me.

“I haven’t looked at the brackets the past two weeks. I’ve just got to wrestle whoever’s there and do my best.”

One of the day’s most anticipated matches came at 120 pounds, where Indian Creek sophomore Alex Mosconi, ranked eighth in the state, put his 37-0 record on the line against top-ranked Ty Mills of Brownsburg.

Even though Mills’ 2-0 lead after one period held up as the final score, Braves coach Pat Dowty knows the two probably haven’t seen the last of each other this postseason.

“We’re going to have to change some things up, but the good thing is there’s a good chance these two could see each other again because they’re both tough,” Dowty said. “Overall, we got five through to semistate, which … you can’t complain, because this is the toughest regional.

“To get five through is awesome, but, man, we drew into some of the best kids in the state for the (regional) semifinals. We’ve got some work to do, but the good news is they’re alive to do the work. Anything can happen next week.”

Indian Creek finished fifth in the team standings with 53.5 points. Franklin was seventh with 34, while Whiteland and Greenwood placed 10th and 11th, respectively. Each of those three squads moved two wrestlers through to semistate.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.