By Rick Conrad For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — Many of the best wrestlers in the area converged on the Berry Bowl Saturday for the Logansport Regional hoping to punch their ticket for a trip to the Merrillville Semistate next week. At the end of the day when the competition had concluded some had their ticket in hand while others will have to wait for another chance next year.
After last week’s sectional Lewis Cass led the way with 10 wrestlers entered in the regional. Logansport came in with six while Winamac had two and Pioneer one. When action resumes next weekend at the semistate level the Kings will be sending four while the Berries will have two making the trip. Winamac will be sending a lone representative.
Still alive for the Kings with hopes of a trip to the state finals are Jarrett Carden, Gabe Welch, Brendan McGehee and Blaine Elliott. Making the trip for Logansport are Justin Porter and Ryan Schrock. Winamac will be sending Gage Garpow.
Porter was the first from the area to punch his ticket when he finished 3-0 on the day to win the 113-pound weight class.
“Today was awesome. I just love wrestling,” said Porter after the sophomore moved to 29-1 on the season. “This will be my first trip to semistate and I’m really looking forward to it. Last year I got fifth in the regional and was an alternate but everyone made weight so I didn’t get to wrestle. Obviously I’m looking to make it to state but I’m just looking at it as one match at a time and we’ll see what happens.”
The Berries nearly had two champions when Schrock at 138 pounds entered the championship match at 2-0. Unfortunately for Schrock, he was on the losing end of a hard fought match that went into overtime before Cody Denton of West Central pulled out the win, 9-7 in the final. Schrock dropped to 27-3 on the season.
Carden, from Lewis Cass went into the championship match at 120 pounds facing Cole Lukaszka from Benton Central. It was a very close match before Lukaszka pulled out the win for the championship, 6-4. Carden, a junior who earlier in the day recorded the 100th win of his career, is now 35-6 on the season.
The Kings’ lone champion on the day was at 152 when Welch went 3-0 to claim the title. He dominated the match against previously unbeaten Jason VanMeter of West Lafayette in the final by 18-3 tech fall.
“I came in with attitude that I had to treat each match like it was my last since I’m a senior,” said Welch, who improved to 38-2 on the year. “I knew that I had to get that one seed to better my chances of making it to state. It really means a lot to me to go back to semistate again this year because I didn’t have the results I wanted last year.”
Also making the trip north from Cass will be Brenden McGehee at 160 pounds. McGehee stumbled in his semifinal match but rebounded to beat K.J. Munson of Benton Central for third place.
The fourth King to making the trip will be Blaine Elliott at 220. He took the same path as McGehee when he too fell in the semis before handing Brad Krause a defeat to take third.
“Gabe did a great job today. Carden lost a close one there in the finals. He jumped out early but just couldn’t hold on,” Cass coach Nate Burrous said. “Elliott and McGehee both came back to take thirds and I really think that all four have a legitimate shot of making it to state. Hopefully we can get in five days of practice this week. It’s hard to get in shape and wrestle well when you practice just one to three times a week.”
The lone Warrior from Winamac will be Gage Garpow. Garpow won the Twin Lakes sectional last weekend at 170 pounds but had to settle as runner-up in the regional. The junior battled like a Warrior but fell in a close championship match to Hunter Mote of Delphi, 8-7.
“That last match I had I feel like I got stuck on trying one move against him,” said Garpow, who is now 32-3 this year. “Next week I’m going to train really hard and go in looking to win. I’m going to be thinking that anyone I face can be beat no matter what their rank. It’s my motivation to help me move on to the next level.”
Logan coach Frank Patacsil was happy to have two wrestlers moving on to next week in Porter and Schrock.
“Both of those kids wrestled really well today and I’m happy with their performance. Qualifying for the next level is the goal whether you’re first or fourth. Now we just hope to have a good week of practice and go out there and hope for the best,” Patacsil said.
Harrison won the team title this year. The Raiders were followed by Delphi in second, Twin Lakes in third, West Lafayette, Benton Central, Lewis Cass in sixth, West Central, Lafayette Jeff, McCutcheon and Logansport in 10th.