Four area wrestlers will chase state championships during the Indiana High School Athletic Association finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday in Indianapolis.
Corydon junior Bailey LaHue and Jeffersonville senior Gavan Jolley-Little will make return appearances in the finals, while New Washington freshman Noah Franklin and Corydon sophomore Mason Kaufer will both make their debuts in the 106-pound weight class.
All first-round matches are set for Friday night, with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, plus consolation matches, scheduled for Saturday.
LaHue (24-1) will face Hammond Morton senior Ruben Rodriguez (32-4) in the opening round at 120. LaHue has finished fifth and fourth in his first two runs to the finals. Jolley-Little (44-2) will meet Muncie Central senior Darrius Connell (35-4) at 285.
Franklin (37-4) will clash with Cathedral freshman Breyden Bailey (44-0) while Kaufer (27-6) will meet New Palestine freshman Alec White (34-7) in the first round.
Other finalists from the region include Madison’s Mitchell Sandlin and Jordan Partee. Sandlin, 48-4 and the semistate champion at 195 with four pins, will meet Twin Lakes senior Kevin Winkle (37-3), while Partee (51-1 after suffering his first loss in the semistate final) will face Fort Wayne Wayne’s Shan Johnson (39-5) at 160.
Jeffersonville will feature seven top seeds as it chases its fourth straight sectional title on Saturday at Highlands Middle School.
Senior sprinter Tim Martin and junior stroke specialist Evan Shive will headline the Jeffersonville charge. Martin is favored in the 50-yard freestyle (21.40) and will chase his own sectional record in the 100 free (46.53) as the top seed. Martin set the mark of 46.23 in 2011.
Shive is favored in the 100 butterfly (51.93, within striking range of the record 51.89 set by New Albany’s Luke Lete last year) and the 100 backstroke (54.03).
The Red Devils are also favored in the 200 individual medley (Max Weidekamp in 2:04.28), the 200 medley relay (1:40.99) and the 400 free relay (3:17.79).
Floyd Central will be favored in the 200 free (Eli Anderson in 1:48.29), the 500 free (Marc McCormick in 4:55.64) and the 200 free relay (1:28.73).
Diving preliminaries will begin at 9 a.m., and the finals in all events are set for 1 p.m. The top four divers will advance to the regional in Bloomington on Feb. 25. The winner of each swimming event will qualify for the state finals at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis on Feb. 28-March 1.
The IHSAA will conduct the draw for the state tournament on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Area sectionals will be staged at Seymour (4-A), North Harrison (3-A), Paoli (2-A), Springs Valley (Class A) and Borden (Class A). Sectional are scheduled March 4-8.
The draw will be broadcast by Fox Sports Indiana. It will also be available by a live-stream webcast (IHSAAtv.org) and the IHSAA Radio Network (WXVW-1450, WSLM-97.9, WNDA-1570, WUME-95.3).