CROWN POINT — The Kankakee Valley wrestling team had advanced nine grapplers to the Regional Meet in Crown Point held on Saturday, Feb. 8. Three wrestlers earned the right to move on to the East Chicago Semi-State held on Saturday, Feb 15. Only freshman Cole Solomey survived the onslaught to earn a trip to Indianapolis to compete in the State Wrestling Finals.
Solomey, wrestling at 120 pounds, wrestled upperclassmen all day and won each match except one. Solomey first faced Seeger junior Nate Hennesey and forced a Major Decision, 13 – 1 to advance against Mishawaka junior Brodie Fogarty. He pinned Fogarty at 3:43. Solomey’s lone loss came against senior Riley Bettich of Crown Point. Bettich won a 6 – 1 Decision but Solomey came back in the consolation final, beating Merrillville junior Malik Hall by a 5 – 1 Decision to take overall third place at Semi-State.
Juniors Aiden Sneed (170) and Tyler Tillema (145) did not fare as well on the day. Tillema fell in the first round to Portage junior Tyler Herring by a narrow 4-3 Decision. Sneed won his first match-up, beating North White senior Anthony Ball with a 9-0 Major Decision. Unfortunately, his next face-off was against Plymouth senior Graham Calhoun who came into the Semi-State tourney unbeaten at 43 – 0. Sneed lost a Technical Decision and was eliminated. Calhoun would become the eventual Champion at 170 pounds.
“Cole might be the youngest Kougar to ever wrestle in the state finals,” said Athletic Director John Gray. “We are very proud of him.”