Seven wrestlers representing a total of three Johnson County high school programs entered Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on Friday with the same objective: be wrestling today.
Three will be as the 79th annual State Finals concludes with quarterfinals matches starting at 9:30 a.m. Consolation matches begin at 5 p.m., while championships in the 14 weight classes get under way at 7.
Remaining in contention for state championships in their respective weight classes are Indian Creek sophomore Tony Mosconi (120), Center Grove junior Gleason Mappes (160) and Franklin senior Jake Moore (182).
Mosconi improved his record to 41-2 with a 2-1 decision over Perry Meridian’s Sunny Nier.
“I had the same situation last year, but it ended the opposite way and I went home,” said Mosconi, referring to his 3-2 loss to Alec White of New Palestine in the first round of 113 pounds. “I was really prepared for the stage this time.
“I just wrestled smart, and had to get that first takedown. That was the gameplan. After that, I knew I had it.”
Center Grove brought four competitors downtown, but only Mappes was able to advance, winning by fall over New Haven’s Nick Potter.
Trojans sophomore Alex Petro lost his first-round match at 113 by fall to Warren Central senior Skylour Turner. Teammates Logan Coyle (145) and Jonah Hays (170) also had their seasons come to an end.
Coyle (36-5) lost a tough 2-1 decision to Perry Meridian senior Kain Rust. Penn’s Jerod Swank later scored a 9-0 victory over Hays (29-12).
“I thought Alex Petro was wrestling pretty well and was making the right decisions. He got extended a little bit and didn’t know when to bail, but he was competing really well,” Center Grove coach Cale Hoover said.
“Logan was battling a little bit of a chest cold all week. He just doesn’t get called for stalling two times like that. To lose a match based on stalling calls … we had two great looks at takedowns. We needed to do about five seconds of hard work and we did about three seconds of hard work.”
Mappes dominated his match to run his season record to 40-1, as did Moore, who brings a 40-3 mark to the mat this morning.
Making it all the way to the semifinals a year ago at 160 pounds proved a tremendous benefit to Mappes.
“It helps a lot knowing what it feels like to be here and what it feels like to wrestle on Friday and Saturday nights,” Mappes said. “I know what I need to do. I just worry about what I do and my offense and what I can do to be better.
“That match wasn’t the best for me, but a win’s a win, and I’ll have to build off of it.”
Moore pinned Portage junior Jeremy Torres to set up this morning’s quarterfinal match against Delta senior Jacob Gray (39-2). Grizzly Cubs senior Burk VanHorn, state runner-up last season at 160, was eliminated in overtime Friday night by Portage senior Ismael Cornejo, 3-1.
VanHorn’s finished 36-3 in his final season at Franklin.
Making his first State Finals appearance, Petro’s season ended with a 24-7 record. With two seasons of high school wrestling remaining, Friday night’s loss supplied him plenty of off-season incentive.
“I wouldn’t really say I was nervous. I was actually excited to wrestle,” Petro said. “I wouldn’t say I had a lot of pressure, either, because pressure’s not really real so why put it on yourself.
“The goal is to work harder and get to the top of the podium.”
Roncalli’s two State Finals qualifiers, freshmen Alec Viduya (113) and Tyce Freije (120), also remain in contention having won their first-round matches.