Upset losses in last weekend’s semistates pitted top-ranked Austin McCloskey of Western Boone High School against Lowell’s No. 2 Kennith Hughes at 160 pounds in Friday’s opening round of the state wrestling meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
But the match didn’t live up to the hype.
McCloskey put Hughes (39-2) on his back 38 seconds into the first period and went on to an 11-3 win to earn a spot in today’s quarterfinals. Now 43-1, McCloskey said it was important to put his first loss of the season — suffered in the New Castle Semistate final — behind him.
“When you’re state champ, no one cares what your record is,” McCloskey said. “All that matters now are these last four matches.”
While McCloskey defended his No. 1 ranking, several other area wrestlers upended high-ranked opponents. Unranked Bailey Schober of Greenwood threw a headlock as time ran down to knock off No. 6 Blake Denton of Twin Lakes 6-3 at 126 pounds.
“I was getting tired toward the end,” Schober said. “But I heard the crowd getting rowdy and it gave me the energy to hit that headlock.”
Hamilton Southeastern’s eighth-ranked Jackson Bennett — who finished fourth at New Castle behind wrestlers ranked No. 2, 3 and 6 at 152 pounds — got a takedown early in overtime to oust Crown Point’s No. 4 Dusty Schurg 7-5.
“Our semistate at New Castle is, I believe, the toughest in the state,” said Bennett (37-5). “So I feel confident going into any match.”
Other first-round upsets included Zionsville’s unranked Preston Mantel over Evansville Reitz’s No. 16 Joshua Davis (120 pounds), Fishers’ unranked 182-pound Seth Riley’s pin of No. 6 Brad Busse of Bellmont, No. 16 Garret Fentz of Franklin over No. 6 Scottie Sopko of Hobart (170) and HSE’s No. 15 Mitch Snyder pin of No. 6 Trevor Burlison of Crown Point (132).
Two-time defending state champ Perry Meridian advanced a tournament-best seven wrestlers to Saturday, while Franklin moved five through the first round, tying the Grizzly Cubs with second-place Yorktown. Team scoring starts with today’s quarterfinal round.
“I’d love to see how far we’d be ahead right now to give our kids some confidence and a boost heading into (Saturday),” said Perry Meridian coach Jim Tonte, who was not happy with the IHSAA’s decision to limit scoring to Saturday’s three rounds. “But we can’t change that. Now we just have to come out and wrestle like we did (Friday).”
New Palestine’s Chad Red (106 pounds), Warren Central’s Deondre Wilson (120), Perry Meridian’s Cody Lecount (132), Ben Davis’ Levi Moss (132), Danville’s Brock Hudkins (106) and Neal Molloy (145), Greenfield-Central’s Josh Farrell (152) and Fishers’ Mitch Sliga (195) all stay undefeated with wins Friday.
Today’s quarterfinal round begins at 9:30 a.m.