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Top-ranked Franklin claims semistate mat crown


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Another week, another major postseason championship for the Franklin Community High School wrestling team.

The top-ranked Grizzly Cubs won Saturday’s Evansville Reitz Semistate, crowned four champions and qualified five wrestlers for this weekend’s IHSAA State Meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Franklin edged runner-up Evansville Mater Dei for its first semistate championshop by a score of 94 to 86.5.

In total, eight Johnson County wrestlers — two from Greenwood and one from Center Grove — advanced to wrestle to the state finals.

Greenwood’s Bailey Schober won 145-pound championship and will be joined by freshman teammate Jacob Skaggs, who finished third at 113. Center Grove senior Tyler Fleener advances with a runner-up finished at 138.

Winning championships for Franklin were seniors D.J. Smith (35-1) at 113 pounds, Skyler Lykins (36-1) at 138, junior Jacob Stevenson (36-1) at 170 and undefeated senior Connor Tolley (37-0) at 220.

Michael Petrole of the Grizzly Cubs also advanced with a second-place effort at 182.

Smith, top-ranked at 113, will make his third appearance at the state tournament. He topped previously unbeaten Tyler Ferguson of Evansville Reitz, 5-2, and will try to improve on his third-place finish from last year.

Lykins will also head to his third state tournament. Ranked No. 2 in the state at 138, he nipped No. 4 Fleener, 9-8, in the third straght championship round in as many weeks, but in reality it was the first time they’ve met on the mat in the tournament. Fleener (18-5) injury defaulted at the sectional and regional tournament. Still, it will be Fleener’s second straight trip to state.

Greenwood’s Schober (41-1), a senior, is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the state. Ranked 11th at his weight, he stunned Mater Dei’s fifth-ranked Josh Pierre, 5-3, in the semifinals, before winning 5-1 over Korbin Karges of Princeton. The trip to Indianapolis will be Schober’s second straight. Schober was eighth last year at 126.

Stevenson, who suffered his first loss of the season at last week’s regional final, put that behind him by winning his first semistate and getting his first crack at the state finals.

Tolley, the lone unbeaten in Johnson County and ranked No. 3 at 220, will make his second consecutive tournament appearance. He was fourth last year at 220.

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