The Decatur Daily Democrat
Five local boys punch tickets to Gainbridge
FORT WAYNE— Five county wrestlers punched their ticket in a very competitive IHSAA Semi-State at the Coliseum in Fort Wayne Saturday and Bellmont’s Duke Myers won an individual title for the first time as the high school wrestling season in Indiana trimmed down the number of wrestlers remaining by over 600. Just 224 wrestlers are still alive in the competition as it heads to Indianapolis this coming weekend.
Myers won his weight class by defeating the same wrestler as last week in the regional finals, Delta’s Braxton Russell.
“It was good to show what I can do in front of everyone,” said Myers after receiving his wall chart from his father on the podium. “I just want to go down there and do it again next weekend.”
Not exactly thrilled with his performance overall on the day, Myers scored three decisions in his final three bouts to win his first semi-state title “The end goal isn’t this. It’s just a milestone along the way. I want to be a state champ.”
Adams Central also had a finalist in heavyweight Zac Wurm, who defied all odds to reach the finals after just beginning the sport 16 months ago. Humble in nature, Wurm spoke of his win graciously.
“Yeah definitely, I am pretty happy,” he said of making it on to the next week. Wurm was in a close bout in the opening round against his opponent of Concord, then he beat senior Jack Maley for the second time this season by fall to punch his ticket.
“I knew it was a good kid but I just had to go out there and play my game and wrestle my best,” Wurm noted. “I really didn’t know what to do against Concord until I got my takedown and that gave me confidence in next round.”
While Wurm is still alive, his nemesis over the previous three weeks, Juan Cruz of Bluffton, did not make it out.
The junior immediately gave credit for his success to the coaches who wrestle with him each day in practice.
“I give credit to Doug (Schultz) and guys like Kyle Thomas. I couldn’t ask for anyone better.”
Joining Wurm in Indianapolis will be Logan Uhlman, who qualified for the State Finals for a third time in his career by reaching the championship bout for the second year in a row.
“The sport is all about teammates so to go with Logan is great. We still practice as a team and people need to understand that. It’s not just me and him this week, it’s all our teammates, all our friends, all our coaches helping us get ready.”
Uhlman’s loss in the championship at 138 was the fourth consecutive weekend that ended with a loss to Jay County’s Tony Wood.
“A guy like Tony, he’s a great competitor. He is cool and collected. He’s one of my buddies, we are good together,” said Uhlman. “I love how he never celebrates. It sucks losing to him by one or three points, but you have to give him credit. I just can’t take him down.”
Adams Central coach Tony Currie said Saturday that the losses to Wood don’t bother Logan. The BAGUBA senior entered Saturday’s bracket with plenty of confidence despite knowing another potential loss to Wood was in the mix.
“Logan’s a gamer,” said Currie. “He shows up and he is reliable. Every year when it’s the regular season you can count on him to lay a couple eggs, but you can’t argue that he doesn’t show up when it’s on the line.”
Currie noted that Uhlman proved how good he was last year when he outlasted Landon Bertsch, who played the same role for Uhlman as Wood has this year, and took home a state medal.
“Logan will be a tough draw for anyone on Friday and if they’re smart, they won’t look past him because he will show up and he will be right there as the second tick down.”
Saturday’s bout in the finals was the closest it had been between Uhlman and Wood and the AC coaching staff wanted it that way.
“We played it conservatively to say the least. Wood is just too good to go out taking chances in the first and second period. We sat patiently and waited. Tony is so good that you have to hope he makes a mistake. To his credit, he didn’t, but if he had, we had a shot.”
While Uhlman punched his ticket for a third time, something that only a handful of BAGUBAs have done before (Alex Currie, Kaine Luginbill, Tyson Bercot (4X), Tony Currie, Denny Schwartz, Troy Roe (4X)), he will have to go without classmate and
practice partner Gavin Cook this year.
Cook scored the opening takedown against Fremont’s Essiah Kamer in the ticket round, but was reversed and pinned, ending his career with 101 wins.
The day started sour for the Jets after freshman Maverick Dubach missed weight in the morning and was unable to compete. After wins by Cook and Uhlman in the first round, they picked up another win from Trevor Currie at 195 as he defeated Eli Coolman of Leo.
Currie’s ticket round match against Alex Deming was perhaps the most momentous bout of the day, both locally and across the entire semi-state as Deming went on to win the 195 class, handing the Rochester Zebras their second straight team title.
Currie scored the opening takedown in the bout and looked like a potential state streeter. Deming got his escape and a takedown of his own in the second period to take the lead, but Currie had choice in the third and scored early to tie it up.
After Deming scored another two points midway through the final period, Currie spent the last 20 seconds of the bout in a scramble. With seconds remaining and the passion of the ticket round at its collective peak, the match ended with the towel boy slapping the official as Deming’s shoulder was on the mat, with the Zebra 195 clutching loosely Currie’s leg as Currie stood upright trying to gain position for the winning two points.
A long discussion, spurred by the protests of coach and father, Tony Currie, did not yield any change in the original decision and Currie’s bid for a 40th win and a trip to the State Finals was denied.
The local regional was shut out at 195, as Goshen and Peru each advanced two wrestlers. Bellmont’s Henry Kukelhan was 1-1 with Nate Elliott of Huntington North in the first round before succumbing to a late headlock. Elliott then dropped his ticket round match to Chad Washburn of Kokomo, who took fourth Saturday.
“Henry took a tough loss,” noted Bellmont standout Keagan Martin. “He’s a part of our crew. He’s going to go far in life. We all know how hard he works and I have no doubt that he will accomplish great things.”
Martin, who was the third Brave to qualify, says Kukelhan may have been eliminated, but his season is not over.
“Henry will be there in practice to push me, he’s just that type of guy. I need him this week.”
Martin entered the day with one loss and he wrestled a controlled match in both the first and second rounds to meet defending semi-state champion Brady Beck in the semifinals. Beck rode out Martin in the second period and advanced with a 1-0 decision. Martin bounced back to beat Jackson New of Yorktown for the second straight week.
Despite picking up just his second loss of the year, he’s moving on.
“Lose one week, it doesn’t affect the next week.” The junior says he would relish the opportunity to wrestle Beck again next Saturday, but he is only focused on Friday now.
“One win, get it done and get a placement. I am focused on my Friday night match and nothing else.”
Martin is excited to be joined by Davis and Myers.
“Those are my best friends.”
Myers echoed those sentiments.
“It’s the best, going with Ike and Dobie the last few years. Going with Keagan and Gavin will be a lot of fun.”
Gavin Davis lost for a third time this season to Mitchell Betz of Western in the championship bout, but he still made an impressive debut at the Coliseum with his three wins to reach the finals, including a big win over Greyson Gard in the ticket round. Davis and Gard were ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the semi-state coming into the day.
“I feel great about it,” said Davis, who received a nice parting gift of a big black eye from Betz in the finals. “I have some things to fix in the room this week right now. I am wrestling on the top of my game right now and I am super pumped and grateful for the opportunity to do it this year because I lost that opportunity last year. I am just super grateful.”
Two South Adams seniors saw their seasons come to an end on top of the ice of the Coliseum Saturday. Silas Loshe was defeated by Deaglan Pleak 6-3 in the opening round, while Maverick Summersett made quick work of Connor Leins in his opener, but lost to eventual champ De’Alcapon Veazy of Snider in the ticket round.
Summersett may have a lifeline, however, after Laish Detwiler of Goshen was injured and unable to wrestle in the third-place match. Summersett would be the alternate if coach Jim Pickard and his staff are unable to get Detwiler’s shoulder back into working shape.
The same situation could be true for Currie, who ended up being the alternate by virtue of losing to the champion in the ticket round. Nash Shupert of Elkhart suffered a pretty nasty injury to his ankle near the end of his championship bout against Deming.
The Jets were involved in another situation at 220 that could have stirred plenty of controversy. Going up against eventual champion Julante Hinton of Northrop, Adams Central’s Keegan Bluhm was trailing 7-2 to begin the third period when Hinton showed total disregard for Bluhm’s safety and slammed him hard on his back. Miraculously surviving the incident without a broken rib, Bluhm stayed on the mat for over a minute as Hinton was penalized and Bluhm awarded a point.
The Adams Central junior was within his rights to stay down and take a victory, something that is often discussed at this time of year in regards to ethics in the sport.
Bluhm chose to return to his feet and wrestle the final 1:47 with Hinton on the mat before ultimately losing 11-5. Bluhm remained a loyal teammate, cheering on Uhlman and Wurm the rest of the day.