Eight wrestlers representing Shelbyville and Triton Central extended their season by another week with solid performances at the Shelbyville Sectional Saturday at William L. Garrett Gymnasium.
Triton Central’s Ayden Nufio (photo, left) and Shelbyville’s Cael Lux each competed in sectional championship matches at their respective weight classes. Six more wrestled in third-place matches which guaranteed them a spot in the Perry Meridian Regional.
At 106 pounds, Nufio won two matches to set a championship match with New Palestine’s Cole Vandygriff. The freshman pinned Nufio, a sophomore, in the first period to secure the sectional title.
Nufio was an 80-pound freshman a year ago and finished 4-10. Now 20 pounds stronger and more proficient on the mat, he is one win away from a coveted New Castle Semistate berth.
“It was ugly. I was maybe like 80 pounds. I was not very good,” said Nufio after stepping off the awards podium Saturday afternoon.
Nufio entered his second sectional at 15-5.
“Size, of course, but I am better technically,” said Nufio of his 2022 record. “I have improved a lot.”
With just six entrants in his weight class, Nufio started the sectional in the semifinal round with a pinfall victory over Warren Central’s Fransisco Sanchez that moved him into the championship match.
Nufio (photo below) will face the third-place winner from the Southport Sectional at the Perry Meridian Regional – Roncalli freshman Matthew Rossman.
Nufio will use the week to prepare for the biggest match of his career.
“I need to get mentally right. A lot of it is mental and I need to make sure I am conditioned and in the zone,” he said.
Lux entered the sectional as a bit of an underdog at 132 pounds. The junior was a regional qualifier at 138 pounds in 2021 but not seeded in the 2022 field.
With a 5-1 win over Greenfield-Central’s JJ Harlow to start the day, Lux gained confidence.
“I wasn’t expected to win but I got an early takedown and held him down from there,” said Lux.
Lux needed just 44 seconds to pin Scecina’s Jacob Kehrer in the semifinal which set up a rematch with New Palestine’s Elijah Alonso in the championship.
Alonso defeated Lux, 9-6, earlier in the season.
Lux (photo above, left) scored the first points of the sectional title match with an early takedown but Alonso took control in the second period and prevailed 11-3.
With the runner-up finish, Lux should face Southport sophomore Josh Foxworthy at the regional.
“It will be my second time there (at the regional). Last year I went as a No. 4 seed and went up against the No. 1 seed,” said Lux, referring to Southport senior Luke Goodwin, who won sectional, regional and semistate titles in 2021.
Lux went to the New Castle Semistate last year as an alternate and wants to return as a participant this year.
“It would be awesome,” he said. “The environment there is crazy.”
Lux (photo above, left), now 18-14 this season, will have a fellow Golden Bear at the regional Saturday. Sophomore Jacob Harker (12-21) finished fourth at 220 pounds to advance where he will face Perry Meridian’s Aaron Butts in the regional quarterfinal round.
At 152 pounds, Triton Central junior Lucas Kleeman (10-7) defeated Franklin Central’s Jeremy Cox, 6-5, to win the third-place match. Kleeman will face Southport junior Duvonte Rivers in his regional opener.
Hadyn Ball had three state-ranked wrestlers in the 182-pound bracket yet he still finished third to qualify for the regional. Ball (18-5), a junior, defeated Greenfield-Central’s Silas Frye, 3-0, to get a No. 3 seed at the regional.
Ball will face Beech Grove senior Jacob Skinner in his regional opener.
Triton Central freshman Dayne Bailey (13-7) took an injury forfeit in the third-place match to Warren Central’s Terry Easley and will face No. 18 ranked Braden Getz of Roncalli at the regional.
Jaden Ferris lost 11-7 in the third-place match to Greenfield-Central’s Matt Wickham. The Triton Central senior (17-9) faces unbeaten Bryce Lowery of Roncalli. Lowery is ranked No. 3 in the state.
At 160, Triton Central senior Tristan Gibbons (12-8) guaranteed himself at least one more match with a fourth-place finish. Gibbons suffered a first-period pinfall loss to Lutheran’s Joe Davis to finish fourth.
Gibbons will face Roncalli’s Andrew Stuck in the regional.