Wrestling Semi-State

Williams and Woodall punch tickets to state finals

Southmont's Marlin Williams let out the emotion after securing his spot at the state finals.

NEW CASTLE — Southmont’s Marlin Williams (144) and Wyatt Woodall (215) have had a senior year to remember across the fall and now the winter. Heading into the New Castle semi-state on Saturday both Williams and Woodall had their eyes on the Ford Center in Evansville and the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals. Both picked up first round pins to advance to the ticket round and for Williams he squared off with second ranked Jack Todd of Pendleton Heights. In the second period Williams got Todd on his back, put both of his shoulders to the mat and with a loud slap of the ref hitting the mat, Williams secured his spot in the state finals with a pin.

In the ticket round for Woodall made quick work of Frankton’s Garek Ellis with a first round pin to punch his ticket to a second straight state finals. Woodall ended up winning his semi-final match over Mt. Vernon’s Devin Kendrex 11-8 to wrestle for the title at 215, however he would suffer his first loss of the season in a 11-5 decision to Cathedral’s Jackson Weingart and finish as the runner up. Williams after winning his first two matches, dropped his semi-final match to Warren Central’s Christian Arberry and fell 4-3 in his final match of the day to place fourth at 144.

“This has been a goal of mine ever since my freshman year,” Williams said of getting to compete at the state finals. “We get ropes here at South if we make it there and I wanted those so bad. I set my mind to it and fell a little short last year but this year I wasn’t going to miss this chance. It took so much work, but now I’m getting to see those results of all that work.”

For Woodall he has unfinished business at the state finals. A season ago in his first appearance, Woodall fell in the opening round on Friday and that has been used as motivation every step of the way. He’ll now get his chance to have accomplish his dream of standing on the podium.

“First of all I wouldn’t be here without all of the coaches who’ve gotten me to this point again,” Woodall said. “I have to say thank you to all of the parents and friends who came out and watched. The support was awesome. I know the job that I have to do heading back to state and I’m ready to get to work. I’m so happy and proud that I get to do this with Marlin who is my best friend. It’s going to be a fund weekend down there for sure.”

Southmont also had three others compete with seniors Maddox Cade (138), Tyler Davis (190), and Ayden Dickerson (285). Dickerson was added as alternate before wrestling began. Davis fell in the first round in a narrow 4-3 decision to New Castle’s Nathan Shafer. Dickerson fell to Greenfield Central’s Brayden Flener via first round pin to end his season with a 19-10 record. Cade secured a second round pin over East Central’s Brady Merk. In the ticket round Cade saw his season come to an end with a narrow 8-7 loss to Pendleton Height’s Jaylen Covington.

Southmont coach Jamie Welliever spoke on all five of his wrestlers after the day was over.

“You couldn’t be more proud of a kid like Marlin Williams,” Welliever said. “The kid works his tail off  every day and was able to get it done today. We all know what Wyatt is capable of . Having two get the opportunity to wrestle at the state finals is a huge thing for our program. Both are going to feel a lot more comfortable and their great friends and great competitors so it’s going to fun watching them get ready this week. I feel for those other three. Maddox we knew was going to be a close match in the ticket round. It really hurts to see him get so close and not make it by a single point. Tyler Davis is one of our most improves kids all year long and for him being a junior to get to this point is big for him heading into next year. Ayden prepared all week and showed up just in case something happened and by golly did it. He was ready to go and we tell our kids to always stay ready and he was.”

Crawfordsville also had three juniors compete as Taiga Koyanagi (106), Landon Vaught (138), and Braeden Hites (165) all saw their seasons end at New Castle. Koyanagi and Hites both fell in their opening rounds. Koyangi fell to Northeastern’s Heather Crull who was the runner up at 106.  Hites also drew a tough match in his opening round falling to Warren Central’s Waylon Cressel who went on to win the 165 title. Vaught secured a first round win over South Dearborn’s Landon Walton 17-6 before falling to Warren Central’s Kyrel Leavell in the ticket round. Leavell also went on to win the title at 138.

“All three of them should be proud of getting here,” Crawfordsville coach Aaron Keller said. “If they all wrestle like I know they can, they’ll be back here next year. Overall we bring so many guys back from this team who all had great years. The goal is to bring more here next year and get even better in the off-season.”

North Montgomery was represented by junior Nolan Yarger who fell in his opening match at 132 to Southport’s Josh Foxworthy. Yarger will be back for his senior season and Charger coach Lincoln Kyle talked about his juniors performance and what the future holds for his team.

“I was super proud of Nolan for getting her first time and we got to see some very good competition here,” Kyle said. “I know this will drive him even more to get back here next here and get better. We’ll have some great senior leadership next year and you combine that with some of younger guys and we should be in pretty good shape.”

Wrestling begins Friday at the State Finals at 2 p.m. central (3 EST) with weight classes 152-285. Beginning at 5:30 CST (6;30 EST) 106-144 will wrestle in their opening round matches.