FRANKFORT — Southmont’s Riley Woodall was the favored wrestler in the 182 pound weight class at the IHSAA Wrestling Regional at Frankfort on Saturday. And the senior proved that by pinning his way to the regional title.
Woodall, who is ranked No. 10 in the state, defeated Carmel’s Harel Halevi 11-0 in the opening match, pinned Sheridan’s Jacob Jones in the semifinals and won by fall over Clinton Central’s Cael Albaugh in the finals.
The win comes a year after finishing as the regional runner-up.
“Got there last year and you could just see it in his mannerisms, he was ready to go and get it done,” Southmont wrestling coach Jamie Welliever said. “Again, having been there and being close, is usually valuable and I think proved to be for Riley.”
Woodall was thrilled at the accomplishmnet, and realizes how big the win is in the big picture of accomplishing his season goal of reaching the state finals.
“Really this year is the first year that I’ve been able to get out of my own head,” he said. “Obviously at the beginnig you always have those nervous butterflys, but I’ve finally started getting out of my own head and focusing on that. And knowing how close I was to punching my ticket to Bankers Life, knowing I might have had a better chance if I had won the regional final, has kind of been my mindset the entire time I’ve been going this season.”
Woodall advances to next week’s semi-state at New Castle, along with his younger brother and freshman, Wyatt Woodall, who was the runner-up at 195, and fellow freshman, Maddox Cade, who placed third at 113.
After defeating Sheridan’s Peyton Cross in the opening round, Woodall, who was one of four ranked wrestlers at 195, narrowly escaped his semifinal match with a 2-1 decision over Carmel’s Zach White, who is ranked No. 14. The 17th ranked freshman then lost to Hamilton Southeastern’s No. 11 ranked Max Broom in the finals.
“I was excited watching the match the whole time,” Welliever said of Woodall’s semifinal match. “Because I could tell Wyatt enjoyed the challenge of that. I’ve coached a long time and some kids get locked up in those types of situations. Not Wyatt, not at all. He was free and going and just enjoying the challenge of it and I’m glad it worked out. It was a big win there and I thought he was the better wrestler and proved it.”
Cade beat Lebanon’s Austin Crouch 5-3 in the opening round, before falling to Carmel’s Isaac Ward in the semifinal. Cade beat Fisher’s Tye Linser 3-2 in the third-place match.
The season came to an end for Southmont’s Brier Riggle, Noah Benge, Gerald Hutson, Dillan Lauy, Evan Francis, Isaiah McMasters, Collin Martin and Zayden Dunn, Crawfordsville’s Keegan Alsman, North Montgomery’s Todd Laffoon and Fountain Central’s Willie Frazee, Jordan Melvin, and Matthew Alexander.
“A little bit outmatched in a few of those first matches,” Welliever said. “That happens at this level. It’s good to get here and see that for sure.”
Fountain Central’s Waylon Frazee will join the Southmont trio at next week’s semi-state after placing fourth at 120.