by Rick Conrad
For the Pharos-Tribune
There are no individual regional champion wrestlers this year from there area, but there are still several who will be competing at next week’s Merrillville Semistate.
Over 110 high school wrestlers and hundreds of more fans crowded into the Berry Bowl Saturday for the Logansport Regional.
The top four qualifiers in each weight group earned a spot to next week’s semistate.
Pioneer senior Izaak Johnson finished runner-up in the 106-pound weight class. He was edged by Harrison junior Daniel Davis by a 6-5 decision in the regional title match.
It was Johnson’s first loss of the season at 106 pounds. He is 42-4 overall. Davis (33-2) was able to defend his regional title.
Cass sophomore Jarrett Carden was defeated by Twin Lakes senior Mason Tribbett 7-6 in the 113-pound title match. The battle was a rematch of last week’s sectional final in which Carden won 6-3. Carden (34-7) is now 2-3 on the season against Tribbett (35-7).
Carden led 6-3 over Tribbett entering the third period. But Tribbett closed the gap and recorded a takedown with four seconds remaining to claim the regional title.
Winamac senior Richie Doty went into overtime with Benton Central senior Jerry Conard in the 182-pound title match. Conard pinned Doty 12 seconds into the overtime session to claim an 8-6 win.
It was Doty’s first loss on the season and he enters the semistate with a 9-1 record.
Cass led the area teams with four semistate qualifiers on the day. In addition to Carden, junior Gabe Welch (145) and senior Sheldon Slusser (182) each placed third and junior Kolbie Cox (138) finished fourth to advance.
“We brought nine guys and four of them qualified for semistate,” Cass coach Nate Burrous said. “Of the nine we brought, eight won a match and three are alternates. So it was a really good day for us.”
Logansport had a semistate qualifier in junior Josh Brandt, who placed fourth in the 126-pound weight class to advance.
“We came in with three kids, we qualified one with Brandt,” Logan coach Frank Patacsil said. “Obviously we would’ve liked to have qualified more, but we feel we had a pretty solid day with those young kids.”
Overall on the day wrestlers from the Lafayette Jeff Sectional dominated the action, as only two of the 14 regional champions came from the Twin Lakes Sectional. They were Twin Lakes’ Tribbett and Blake Denton (126), a junior who won his third straight regional title and is 40-1 on the season.
There were also several area wrestlers that are alternates for next week’s semistate after placing fifth on the day. Those grapplers include Cass’ Zach Layer (106), Brendan McGehee (152) and Blaine Elliott (195), Logan’s Justin Porter (113) and Ryan Schrock (132) and Winamac’s Gage Garpow (145) and Quest Fritz (285).
Harrison was tops in the team standings with 156 points, followed by a top three of Twin Lakes (119.5) and Benton Central (105.5).
The area wrestlers that moved on Saturday may have hoped for more, but they can certainly be happy that they qualified for the Merrillville Semistate.
Slusser, the Loganland Defensive Player of the Year in football this past fall, was one of the wrestlers that advanced.
“Things went really well for me,” he said. “I came in as the fourth seed, but last week was my first week back from an injury and it was nice to come in here and advance to next week.”