INDIANAPOLIS — Kankakee Valley wrestlers Cole Solomey and Aiden Sneed claimed medals at the IHSAA state finals on Saturday.
Solomey, a sophomore making his first trip to the state meet, had an area-best finish of sixth, going 2-2 at 132 pounds at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He finishes the season at 27-7 overall.
Sneed, meanwhile, won his first-round match Friday night to reach the medal round, beating Codei Khawaja of Floyd Central in a tight finish at 3-2.
Sneed, who finished the season at 27-7 and won sectional and regional titles, lost his final three matches on Saturday to finish eighth overall at 170 pounds.
Competing at state for the first time, Sneed, a four-year varsity wrestler, lost to JaJuan Dale of Perry Meridian (23-9) by pin in 5 minutes, 14 seconds; fell to John Purdy of Castle (33-2) by a 9-4 decision; and dropped his final match by a 9-3 decision to Pete Eastin of Penn (32-2).
Eastin edged Sneed for an East Chicago Semistate title on Feb. 13.
Solomey opened the weekend with a 3-1 victory over Anthony Hughes of Lawrence North (23-6) to set up a second-round meeting with one of the state’s top wrestlers in Ian Heath of Leo, who had a 31-0 record going into the match.
Heath would out-point the Kougar sophomore, 3-1, to send Solomey to the lower bracket. He would win his next match against Stephen Roberson Jr. of Crown Point by a 5-1 decision before falling short in his bid for a fifth-place finish with a 5-2 loss to Ben Dalton of Monrovia. Dalton came into the tournament with a 38-1 record.
All four of Solomey’s opponents are seniors, meaning the KVHS standout won’t have to face them next year when he makes another run at a state meet appearance.
A total of six area wrestlers competed downstate in the first round, with Rensselaer Central senior Kyle Carter capping a 21-6 season with a loss by pin to Blake Boarman of Evansville Mater Dei (29-1) at 138 pounds and Bomber junior Lakin Webb (20-4) losing in his first round match at 132 pounds to David Pierson (29-3) of Warren Central.
West Central also sent two wrestlers to Indianapolis, with 113-pound freshman Drake Fritz (37-6) falling in the first round by technical fall (18-2) to Isaac Ruble of Bellmont (26-4) and senior Braden Nuest (39-4) losing by an 8-3 decision at 145 to Toby Abbott of Cowan (33-2).
Webb and Fritz will be back next year to make a run at reaching the 2022 state finals.