Continuing a recent trend, Johnson County wrestlers were the dominant force in Saturday’s Mooresville Sectional.
Local wrestlers won 12 of 14 championship matches, one more than a year ago.
Second-ranked Franklin led the way, taking the team championship with a score of 257.5 and taking seven individual titles. The Grizzly Cubs also advanced 12 wrestlers to the Feb. 2 Mooresville Regional.
Center Grove finished second (221.3) and advances 11 to the regional, including three champions. Senior Anthony Schoettle (120 pounds) won his fourth straight individual title for the Trojans.
“It was a good day, but not great,” Center Grove coach Cale Hoover said. “We won some big matches and let some get away from us. You want to win every match, but we put ourselves in a good position for next week.”
Although the county’s wrestling powers Franklin and Center Grove dominated the day, the county’s smallest wrestling school, Indian Creek, also made its impact felt.
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Siblings Tyler Hupp, and senior, and sophomore Devin Hupp both won individual titles for the Braves. Tyler (138) won the third sectional of his career, and Devin (113) won his first.
Devin Hupp felt his semifinal match was his tougher than his final. He beat Franklin’s Shane Wilkerson in the semifinal, 5-3, then battled back from a 2-0 deficit for a 7-2 win against Monrovia’s Rowan Gast-Bray in the champ-ionship match.
“The semifinal was the better match,” Devin Hupp said. “But both (Wilkerson and Gast-Bray) started out real fast and kind of died as the matches went on. It feels great to win.”
A few matches later, Tyler Hupp defeated Greenwood’s Jonah Thompson with a major decision, 14-4, in the final. He improved to 32-1 with the win. Thompson, one of the area’s top 138-pound wrestlers, is 33-3.
Tyler Hupp said he drew inspiration from watching little brother win his first sectional championship.
“Devin’s match psyched me up,” Tyler Hupp said. “I was more excited for him than myself.”
Indian Creek coach Pat Dowty, a former Franklin wrestler, was also delighted for the younger Hupp.
“I expect Tyler to win, but to see a sophomore like Devin take his first title was really super,” Dowty said. “This win has given him major confidence for the regionals.”
Dowty’s own little brother, D.J. Smith of Franklin, won his second straight sectional at 106 pounds. Smith (33-3) defeated Plainfield freshman Isaac Gomez, 6-1, in the final.
Joining Smith as champions for the Cubs were junior Skyler Lykins at 132; sophomore Jacob Stevenson at 152; senior Luke Kriech at 160; senior Garett Fentz at 170; junior Michael Petrole at 182; and junior Connor Tolley at 220. Stevenson, Kriech, Fentz and Tolley were repeat champs.
Besides Schoettle, Center Grove boasted repeat champions in junior Tyler Fleener at 126 and senior Drew Ponder at 285.
Mooresville was the only other team to claim a champion. The Pioneers had two in Brent McCreary (145), who beat Indian Creek freshman Elijah Dunn 10-1 in the final, and sophomore Randy Scott (195), who stopped Franklin junior Jacob Brownfield 7-4 in the title match.
The Braves advanced five wrestlers to the regionals. Greenwood advanced three.
Whiteland did not place a wrestler in the top four and had no regional qualifiers.
In the team standings, Mooresville was third with a score of 149.5, followed by Martinsville (121.5), Indian Creek (113), Plainfield (112.3), Greenwood (88), Decatur Central (55.9), Monrovia (37) and Whiteland (30).