EAST CHICAGO — Six area wrestlers, including four from Jasper County, punched tickets for the IHSAA wrestling state finals this weekend after placing among the top four at the East Chicago Semistate.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse will once again host the state finals, which are set for Feb. 19-20. First round matches for weights 106-145 will begin at 11 a.m., EST, on Friday, with weights 152-285 to start at 7 p.m., EST.
Friday’s winners will return for the second round on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., EST, with consolation matches to start at 5 p.m., EST, and championship matches at 7:30 p.m., EST.
Kankakee Valley senior Aiden Sneed — the runner-up at 170 pounds at semistate and a regional champion — will be joined in the state finals by sophomore teammate Cole Solomey, who finished third at 132 pounds.
Rensselaer Central junior Lakin Webb will also compete at 132 pounds after placing fourth in his weight class at semistate, with senior teammate Kyle Carter also making the drip downstate. Carter was fourth at 138 pounds.
West Central freshman Drake Fritz will continue his outstanding season by competing in Indianapolis after placing fourth at 113 pounds. He will be joined by senior teammate Braden Nuest, who placed second at 145 pounds.
Among local wrestlers who made the ticket round but fell short of a state finals berth were Liam Siburcrist of North White at 106, Mikkel Cunningham of North Newton at 113, Caleb Solomey of KVHS at 126, Tyler Tillema of KVHS at 145, Conner Fritz at 160, Dailin Reece of Twin Lakes at 182 and Justin Cree of RCHS at 220.
Sneed finished 3-1 on the day before running into a buzzsaw in the 170-pound finals. He pinned Isiah Wilson of Winamac in round one, edged Jesse Herrera of Highland (7-5 decision) in round two and pinned Spencer Phillips of McCutcheon in a semifinal match. He lost by major decision to Pate Eastin of Penn in the final.
Nuest also finished 3-1 to reach the finals of the 145 division. He beat Tyler Richey of Plymouth by major decision, pinned Kayden Armstrong of Calumet and out-pointed Cameron Powell of Mishawaka in a semifinal match. Ethan Kaiser of Chesterton beat Nuest by major decision in the final.
Cole Solomey won his consolation match at 132, beating RCHS’s Webb by a 5-0 decision. Solomey reached the consolation final by recording wins over Tristen Tuttle of West Lafayette and Jack Coye of Portage by pins. He lost his quarterfinal match to eventual champion Aiden Torres of Chesterton by pin.
Finishing 2-2 in their matches were Drake Fritz at 113 — beating Jeremy Kranz of Boone Grove and Christopher Bohn of Munster by decision before losing to Anthony Bahl of Crown Point and Bryce Denton of Penn by pin — Lakin at 132 — beating Nicholas Duvall of Wheeler and Wesley Harper of Penn by pin before losing to Joe Robertson of Crown Point by major decision prior to the Solomey match — and Carter at 138 — beating Chris Gil of Hammond Gavit and Darren Begley of Penn by decision before losing to Brady Conrad of Portage and Jace Alexander of Wawasee by pin.
EAST CHICAGO SEMISTATE RESULTS INVOLVING LOCAL WRESTLERS
Mikkel Cunningham, North Newton, jr. (26-6), won by 6-2 decision vs. Guilliermo Rivera, Lake Central, frosh (20-8). Lost by 18-1 technical fall to Owen Denton, Portage, frosh (17-13).
Caleb Solomey, Kankakee Valley, soph (21-6), won by forfeit. Lost by pin in 4:16 to Matteo Vargo, Penn, jr. (13-2).
Cole Solomey, Kankakee Valley, soph (25-5), beat Tristen Tuttle, West Lafayette, sr. (13-3) by pin in 5:11. Beat Jack Coyle, Portage, sr. (27-3) by 13-11 decision. Lost to Aidan Torres, Chesterton, soph (31-12) by pin in 1:36. Beat Lakin Webb, Rensselaer Central, jr. (20-3) by 5-0 decision. Torres would go on to win division title.
Tyler Tillema, Kankakee Valley, sr. (21-6), beat Joseph Williams, Lake Central, jr. (27-9) by pin in 2:52. Lost to Cameron Powell, Mishawaka, jr. (28-8) by 6-4 decision.
Dylan Olive, North Newton, sr. (20-6), lost by pin in 2:57 to Conner Cervantes, Griffith, soph (21-2).
Aiden Sneed, Kankakee Valley, sr. (26-4), beat Isiah Wilson, Winamac, sr. (12-7) by pin in 3:00. Beat Jesse Herrera, Highland, jr. (29-7) by 7-5 decision. Beat Spencer Phillips, McCutcheon, sr. (14-2) by pin in 5:19. Lost by 14-5 major decision to Pate Eastin, Penn, sr. (30-0) in championship match.
Ardyn Calinski, North Newton, jr. (23-8), lost to Jason Streck, Merrillville, sr. (29-1) by pin in 3:23.
Matthew Barry, North Newton, jr. (26-3), lost to Hunter Whitenack, New Prairie, jr. (39-1), by pin in 55 seconds.