22 area wrestlers from Southmont, Fountain Central, Crawfordsville and North Montgomery got together with the likes of Carmel, Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Zionsville, and Westfield on Saturday as North Montgomery hosted the 2023 IHSAA Wrestling Regional. In order to advance to the semi-state, wrestlers had to win their first match of the day. Seven of the 22 area wrestlers did just that.
Southmont came in with eight wrestlers competing and ended up advancing four of the eight. Brier Riggle (106), Maddox Cade (126), Marlin Williams (138), and Wyatt Woodall (195) not only all punched their ticket to New Castle on Saturday but also all four wrestled for a Regional title. Riggle, Cade, and Williams finished as the runner-up while Woodall continued his undefeated season and stoop atop the podium as the Regional champion.
“Those four guys had tremendous mental preparation coming into today,” Southmont coach Jamie Welliever said. “Obviously they were also in great physical shape too. Even our other kids who didn’t get through, they still had a great week of prep and I’m proud of all of their efforts today.”
A season ago at the Regional wasn’t too kind to the Mounties, especially for Woodall. Last year at the Regional he suffered what ended up being a season-ending knee injury which cut his season way shorter than anticipated. After being named the Regional champion and holding a record of now 35-0 on the season, Welliever added how there was a little extra motivation for Woodall.
“I just told him after his season got cut short last year to just use this as a motivator and that’s exactly what he’s done,” Welliever said. “He’s been awesome all year but as of late it really seems like he’s focused even more. He’s just a very determined kid right now.”
The Chargers had five wrestlers compete on the day. Senior heavyweight Dylan Braun won his first match of the day to qualify for his first semi-state of his career. He ended the day placing fourth overall. Fellow seniors Gage Galloway and Todd Laffoon saw their wrestling careers come to and end for the Chargers. Sophomore Nolan Yarger concluded a 30-win sophomore campaign as well.
“I’m really excited for Dylan to get to experience his first semi-state on Saturday because he’s one of our senior leaders,” Charger coach Lincoln Kyle said. “He works super hard in the weight room and in the wrestling room and this is very much deserved for him.”
Kyle also took a moment to speak about his other wrestlers including his two other seniors in Galloway and Laffoon as well as look forward to the future with a wrestler like Yarger who will be an upper-class men next year.
“I love both Gage and Todd to death,” he said of both of his seniors. “They’re good people and great teammates. Losing your final match always hurts and I feel for both of them, but they both handled today about as well as they could have. Nolan had a great year for a sophomore. Unfortunately for him, he got stuck wrestling the eventual champion in his first match. He struggled early this year, but really found his rhythm and I’m excited to see what the next couple of years hold for him.”
Crawfordsville brought four wrestlers into the Regional and saw sophomore Braeden Hites punch his ticket to semi-state with a first round pin. Hites’s semi-state appearance will be the first for a Cville wrestler since 2019. He ended the day on the podium for the Athenians brining home a fourth place finish.
Fountain Central junior Waylon Frazee qualified for his second straight semi-state by taking third place at 132 pounds for the Mustangs.
All seven wrestlers will now wrestle in Saturday’s semi-state up in New Castle as they all look to punch their ticket to under the bright lights of Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the State Finals. Wrestling begins at New Castle at 8 am with the top four in each weight class qualifying for the State Finals.
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