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Eight county wrestlers advance to semistate

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AND AGAIN: Peru’s Zian Constable (R) met Rochester’s Drew Sailors (L) for a fourth time this season and, as had happened the first three times, the Tiger junior fell short to the Zebra senior in the finals at 160 pounds. Constable was the highest finisher for the hosts Saturday as he will be joined by Cole Sailors, Tori Forrest and Zion Ryan at this weekend’s New Haven Semi-State.
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FATED MOMENT: A decisive throw was recorded in the 285 pound final between Maconaquah’s Adam Bowman (Back) and Madison-Grant’s AJ Jones (Front) in the second period. Bowman was able to adjust first to end up on top of Jones and secure the fall, finishing as the day’s only Miami County Regional champion at the IHSAA Peru Wrestling Regional. Bowman, along with Blake Kinney, Zack Bullock and Aaron McKinley, all advanced to this weekend’s New Haven Semi-State.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Eight Miami County wrestlers punched tickets to this weekend’s New Haven Semi-State after advancing from the IHSAA Peru Wrestling Regional Saturday.

Maconaquah’s Adam Bowman was the only individual champion on the day while the Braves had two other finalists in Blake Kinney and Aaron McKinley while Peru’s Zian Constable also finished as a runner-up.

Cole Sailors, Tori Forrest and Zion Ryan finished fourth for the Tigers on the day while Zack Bullock added a third-place finish for Maconaquah.

Oak Hill regained its spot on top of the regional ladder after picking up five individual champions to edge out second-place Western and third-place Eastern. The Braves finished tied for fourth with Rochester while Peru finished ninth.

Maconaquah head coach Bob Freije said the wrestlers, even with limited practice time, put several lessons to good use Saturday.

“The wrestlers did well and learned a lot from matches to prepare for this week,’ Freije said. “You’ve got to have the attitude to win not try to lose.

“Confidence is a key element to the next level because everybody is good.”

Peru head coach Andy Hobbs said with only one wrestler having been to the semistate, it was a big step for the competitors to make it to next week.

“Earning the opportunity to compete in a semistate is a great honor for any athlete,” Hobbs said. “Tori is the only wrestler coming in with semistate experience.

“The boys are excited and ready to compete. It’s a great experience for any high school athlete.”

Bowman pinned his way through the field, first taking down Eastern’s Ryan Keller in the opening round and following up with a fall over Manchester’s Bryce Kamphues.

In the final, Bowman was paired off with 31-1 AJ Jones of Madison-Grant and after a scoreless first period, the two heavyweights locked up for a decisive throw.

While Jones initiated with double underhooks, Bowman used his double overhooks on the landing to get over the top of Jones and record the fall, moving to 34-0 on the season as a result.

“Adam had another good day pinning through the tourney,” Freije said about Bowman. “He is very athletic wrestler and understands body position and wrestles to win.” 

Kinney started his day at 106 pounds with a fall over Marion’s Taylor Garriott to ensure passage to the semistate before picking up a 9-4 decision over Western’s Anthony Martin.

A rematch with Wabash’s Jared Brooks was on the cards but unlike last week, where everything went Kinney’s way, it was Apache freshman who dominated the match, taking an 11-0 major decision over the Braves junior.

“Blake had a tough match and Brooks came ready to fix his lost,” Freije noted about the rematch between the two 106 pounders. “Both young men are good wrestlers and we hope to see them wrestle each other again next week.”

McKinley grabbed an early fall over Madison-Grant’s Randal Fultz to open the day at 145 pounds before edging out Mississinewa’s Courtland Smith 6-5 to advance to the final.

Eastern’s Tytus Morrisett proved a bridge too far for McKinley on the day, dropping a 4-2 decision to finish as runner-up.

Bullock earned a trip to the semistate with a 5-2 decision over Oak Hill’s Tyler Miller before being on the wrong end of a 15-0 tech fall against Western’s Dylan Goudy in the semifinal.

Paired off once again with Peru’s Tori Forrest, the Braves senior finally picked up a win over his county rival 3-1 to finish third with Forrest fourth.

“Zack followed the game plan and performed well in the consolation match,” Freije said about Bullock’s third-place match. “He finally got his takedown against Tori, who is a good wrestler.”

Four other Maconaquah wrestlers competed Saturday with Cory Bockover bowing out at 120 pounds to champion Aidan Hardcastle of Oak Hill, Collin Deckard taking a fall against Eastern’s Brodie Porter at 152 pounds, Jared Blake dropping a 14-7 decision to Eastbrook’s Ben Smithers at 160 pounds and Lane Wagner falling at 182 pounds to eventual champion Bradley Rosman of Oak Hill.

Constable reached the final at 160 pounds with falls over Oak Hill’s Jett Thompson and Eastern’s Isaac Mauer to set up a fourth meeting with Rochester’s Drew Sailors in the final.

Sailors found another fall over Constable, his second in-a-row, to push the Tiger junior into the runner-up spot.

Forrest ensured advancement to the semistate with a 14-3 major decision win over Kokomo’s Kymani Howard but was edged out late by Macaiah White of Eastern in overtime 6-4 before the 3-1 loss to Bullock in the third-place match.

“We prepare for the next match and go for it,” Hobbs added on what he told Forrest afterwards. “We are two matches away from the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals and what a great opportunity that is.”

Sailors opened up his day at 113 pounds with a fall over Northwestern’s Silas Phillips but was pinned in consecutive bouts by Western’s Justin Brantley and Kokomo’s Nathan Conner.

The same fate fell to Ryan, who pinned Northwestern’s Kyle Cardwell in the opening match before falling to eventual 195 pound champion Stewart Mossholder of Oak Hill and to Northfield’s Jasper Donaldson in the third-place match.

Even though there were no individual champions, Hobbs was excited to see the four wrestlers move on to the semistate.

“Each guy will be in a group of four wrestlers that want to compete at the state finals,” Hobbs said about the advancing group. “Everybody at the semi-state is good so we are ready to go.

“We need a great week of preparation and a great attitude to complete in the semistate.” 

Three other Peru wrestlers competed as Conner Shaffer and Alex Legg exited early by fall to Kokomo’s Harvey Barr at 106 pounds and Marion’s Troy Smith at 126 pounds respectively while David Schulte lost his bid for the semistate with an 11-7 loss to Eastern’s Bradie Porter at 120 pounds.

North Miami’s day was a short one as Briar Roach suffered a quick fall against eventual 113 pound champion Harper Dedman while Austin Fletcher was eventually pinned late in a topsy-turvy match with Oak Hill’s Gage Kelly at 132 pounds.

The advancing wrestlers will participate in the New Haven Semi-State held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m.