Gleason Mappes would’ve traded all of his 146 career victories for a state championship.
Unfortunately for the Center Grove senior, that wasn’t an option.
Mappes lost the title match in the 160-pound division to Columbus East junior Nicholas South, 9-6, at the state wrestling finals Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
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Reddened eyes accompanied voice-cracking moments after the final match of one of the best careers in the history of the Trojans’ wrestling program.
“I knew what I needed to do and unfortunately, at the beginning, got in a front headlock and air got cut off. I passed out for a second, and, after that I lost focus,” Mappes explained. “It’s not an excuse. It’s my fault. I should’ve refocused and gotten back in it. I didn’t and that’s on me.
“It was my goal to be a state champion and it hurts, but I left my heart out there and that’s all I can do.”
Mappes was coming off two consecutive seasons in which he finished fourth in the state at 160 pounds. He and Roncalli senior Sam Hansen were the local wrestlers making it to the final in their respective divisions. Hansen, a 195-pounder, lost to Chesterton’s Lucas Davison, 19-7.
Gleason is the last of the four Mappes brothers to pass through the Center Grove program, ending an era of success. He begins wrestling next season at the University of Indianapolis.
“It hasn’t really settled in, probably because I don’t want it to,” Trojans coach Cale Hoover said. “The look in his eye coming off that mat is heartbreaking. It’s just a special group of guys. A special family.
“I was very close to all of them, but him probably the most just because we’ve spent so much time together basically from the time he was a little kid. I couldn’t be more proud of a young man. Just a wonderful kid.”
Whiteland senior Ryan Hammond came up just short in the last match of his career, picking up a fourth-place medal at 220 following an 8-6 loss to Lebanon’s Jacob McClaine in the consolation match.
Hammond, who will play football at two-time defending NAIA national champion St. Francis in Fort Wayne, wasn’t at 100 percent after aggravating a left shoulder injury in a semifinal loss earlier in the day.
“It was a great year. A lot of good experiences,” Hammond said after completing a 41-2 season. “It didn’t end up like we wanted it to, of course, but it was good all around. I’ve been wrestling since I was 7 or 8 years old. This was a fun four years.”
Center Grove senior Shane Stits picked up a fourth-place medal at 195 after being pinned by Zionsville’s Tomas Penola in the consolation round. Earlier in the day, Stits lost his semifinal match against Hansen.
Another Johnson County wrestler, Indian Creek senior Grant Goforth, wound up in sixth place at 195 pounds.
Roncalli sophomore Brayden Lowery, a third-place finisher at 106 a year ago, found his way to the awards podium again by winning the fifth-place match at 113.
Lowery defeated Castle’s Devon Casebolt, 2-0, to conclude the season with a record of 41-1.
“It’s not what I wanted at the end of the day, but it’s still a pretty good season,” said Lowery, whose lone setback was an 8-6 decision to Evansville Mater Dei freshman Blake Boarman in the quarterfinals Saturday morning.
“I ended with only one loss, but, unfortunately, that was at state.”
Also for the Rebels, reigning 113 state titlist Alec Viduya lost to Brownsburg senior Ty Mills to wind up fourth at 126. Junior 170-pounder Elijah Mahan picked up fifth by pinning Greenfield-Central’s Brad Lowe.