Three Shelbyville and five Triton Central wrestlers are one win away from qualifying for the New Castle Semistate.
All it takes is one win Saturday at the Perry Meridian Regional.
Triton Central’s Hadyn Ball and Shelbyville’s Jacob Harker have favorable matchups after winning and finishing runner-up, respectively, at the Warren Central Sectional.
The other six qualifiers from Shelby County must defeat a Southport Sectional champion to move into the regional final four and automatically qualify for the semistate round of the state tournament.
Ball (22-3), a senior, has plenty of familiarity standing in his way at 220 pounds. He will open the regional tournament against Beech Grove’s Ian Thompson (21-11), who he pinned in his season-opening match this year. The two did not square off at the Indiana Crossroads Conference Tournament in mid-January.
A win would set up a semifinal match against either Warren Central’s Greg Johnson (24-8) or Providence Cristo Rey’s Kyrese Rhodes (23-7).
Ball (photo) defeated Johnson in overtime in the sectional semifinal last week.
“That Warren Central match came down to overtime,” said Ball. “I was getting really tired but I knew I had to push through. I knew there were going to be tough matches going into it. We have a really tough sectional but I pulled through and with the No. 1 seed coming out of the sectional, I should win at regional and go to semistate.”
A regional championship match for Ball would most likely come against Roncalli’s Royce Deckard (21-3), ranked No. 16 in the state, or Franklin Central’s Talan Humphrey (21-6), who Ball defeated for the sectional title, 8-4.
The goal for Ball this season was to get to the State Finals.
“I put on a bunch of muscle and have been working harder, and being intentional in my practices making sure everything I do helps me in my next match,” said Ball.
To do so means winning two matches at the semistate round. Just as Ball made his road easier at the regional by winning the sectional, a regional title would make the path clearer in New Castle.
“Being a regional champion just sets you up really nice for the semistate,” said Ball. “If you are the No. 1 seed coming out of the regional then you get a No. 4 seed in the first round and the winner of a No. 2 and a No. 3 seed (match) to go to state.”
Harker (26-4), a junior, will open the regional against Southport’s Jacarei Markey (13-13), who finished third at 285 pounds at the sectional. A win for Harker (photo) would probably set up a semifinal-round match with Beech Grove’s John Broadwell (32-3), ranked No. 20 in the state.
The other half of the 285-pound bracket includes Franklin Central’s Andrew Just (21-1), ranked No. 9 in his weight class. Just defeated Harker, 6-1, in the sectional championship match.
Triton Central’s Ayden Nufio (18-6) is part of the 106-pound bracket that features three state-ranked wrestlers. The TC junior first faces Perry Meridian’s Hurai Lian (24-4), ranked No. 11.
New Palestine’s Gunner Butt (21-6), ranked No. 23, and Greenfield-Central’s Jett McGuire (22-8), ranked No. 15, also are in the field.
At 120 pounds, Shelbyville’s Isaiah Havens (12-9) opens against Perry Meridian’s Bryce Beckham (18-7).
Triton Central’s Dayne Bailey (13-12) drew Perry Meridian’s Keaton Morton (27-4), ranked No. 12, at 132 pounds. No. 1 ranked Kyrel Leavell (23-1) of Warren Central is in the other half of the bracket.
At 138 pounds, Triton Central’s Ethan Booth (7-11) will face Providence Cristo Rey’s Delin Jones (28-4).
Shelbyville freshman Julian Eads (12-15) debuts at the regional level with a match against Roncalli’s Braden Getz (25-5) at 145 pounds.
And at 195 pounds, Triton Central’s Andrew Bailey (12-10) must defeat No. 4-ranked Luke Hansen (33-0) of Roncalli to advance to the semistate.
Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.