Benton Central senior Jacob Ricks will have something of a target on his back as one of the favorites at the upcoming Lafayette Jeff Sectional.
Ricks also has an opponent he hopes to eventually face this season, though it’s a matchup that cannot materialize until the state meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Feb. 15-16. Ricks would like to share a mat with defending state champion Mitch Sliga of Fishers before their high school careers end in a few weeks.
Ricks lost in the first round at state last season, and he fell one round short of advancing to face Sliga at a tournament earlier this season.
“He’s the best of the best, and you don’t really know where you’re at until you wrestle that,” Ricks said. “Even if I lost, that would really be a big deal to be able to wrestle him. That’s why I want to be there at the final round at state, underneath the light.”
Ricks improved to 35-1 by successfully defending his Hoosier Conference championship at 195 last Saturday. He is ranked ninth in his weight class in the latest Panko Speed and Strength rankings on Indianamat.com.
A Bison linebacker in the fall, Ricks wanted to stay at 195 this season to maximize his chances for success. His main goal besides state is to own Benton Central’s career record for pins.
“By staying this weight, I’m at a peak where I can do exactly what I need to do and have no worries about it,” Ricks said.
Rank and file
Clinton Central junior Jeff Scott (28-0) moved up to No. 4 at 152 pounds in the Indianamat.com rankings.
Another undefeated wrestler, Twin Lakes junior Blake Denton, remained No. 6 at 126. He improved to 33-0 with a repeat championship at Saturday’s Hoosier Conference meet.
North Montgomery’s Nick Borta, who lost to Danville’s Bradyen Montgomery in the Sagamore Conference 152-pound championship on Saturday, also remained at No. 6.
The week ahead
Delphi, fresh off its Hoosier Conference team championship, visits Harrison tonight in a matchup of sectional contenders. Sectional seeds could hinge on tonight’s matches, which begin at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Clinton Central will host the Hoosier Heartland Conference meet, and Caston will host the Midwest Conference meet.