2013 New Castle Semi-State Preview

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Updated: February 7, 2013
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New Castle Semi-State 2012-2013

Things heat up this weekend in New Castle, as 77 ranked wrestlers, including ten competitors ranked #1 or #2, will take the mat in an effort to earn an all-important Golden Ticket, also known as a state qualification. All-world 195 lb Mitch Sliga of Fishers is the lone returning state champion, although there are four returning state runners-up. Like last year, New Castle’s biggest strength is depth. Like last year, this semistate should get more than its fair share of state placers. Can this weekend’s competitors top last year’s three state champs from the New Castle semistate? It’s likely that, at the very least, this year’s version will have at least 3 champs and more like 4 or even 5. There are 5 nationally ranked wrestlers competing this weekend, including two at 285. The strongest weights, depth-wise, are 126, 160, 170, 220 (7 state-ranked grapplers in each), 145 (8 state rankers) and 285 (5 ranked athletes, including #1, #2 and #3). Lastly, some rough circumstances deprived this semistate of some really strong competitors, including Tommy Cash, Barry McGinley and Blake Giffin.

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” — George S. Patton

“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.” — Douglas Macarthur

“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy if possible.” — Stonewall Jackson

106

Nationally ranked freshman Chad Red of New Palestine is an extremely strong favorite in this opening weight class. There are only 3 ranked wrestlers here, including #1 Red, which could make for some surprise qualifiers. Another freshman, #9 Matt McKinney of Warren Central, looks very strong on the bottom half of the bracket. It’s very possible that Red and McKinney could repeat last week’s regional finals matchup, won by Red. Despite the lack of top-level depth, there are some good young wrestlers competing in this weight, and the lack of predictability makes it exciting. Look for more domination by Red.

Last year’s champ: Nathan Boston, Lawrence North
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#1 Chad Red, New Palestine (nationally, #6 InterMat , #7 The Open Mat/AWN, #13 WIN Magazine)
#9 Matt McKinney, Warren Central
#19 Brett Johnson, Perry Meridian

Epic matchups:

Tyler Flood, Pendleton Heights vs. Johnson (Opening round) – A couple of tough freshmen go at it to get the day started. Flood was a regional champ, and Johnson finished 4th in a truly nasty regional, but Johnson is much, much better than his record indicates.  It’s tough to wrestle the Perry schedule and come away without a few setbacks.

#9 McKinney vs. #1 Red (Championship match) – Two of the very best freshmen in the entire semistate will likely battle for the crown and the all-important #1 seed at Banker’s Life. Barring injury, it’s tough to bet against Red, who pinned McKinney at regionals.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Johnson, McKinney, Briggeman and Red

The Alpha Dog:
Chad Red

113

This weight class lacks some of the firepower found in some of the other weight classes. There are three ranked wrestlers at 113, as a fourth, #13 Vance Ellis of Roncalli, who didn’t make it to the postseason. Unlike 106, there isn’t a clear heavy favorite. Instead, there are two wrestlers who appear to be a cut above the rest in the field: #3 Jacob Cottey of Perry Meridian and #5 Jack Chastain of Hamilton Southeastern. Between the two, they have only one loss on the season.

Last year’s champ: Brandon James, Perry Meridian
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#3 Jacob Cottey, Perry Meridian
#5 Jack Chastain, Hamilton Southeastern
#10 Riley Newkirk, Lawrence Central

Epic matchups:

#10 Newkirk vs. Mitch Weber, Zionsville (Ticket round) – Both kids are seniors and each is hungry to advance to state. Newkirk, especially, has had some disappointments in past years and would love to cap his high school career with a state finals qualification. With the parity at this weight, each wrestler will have to avoid the upset in his opening bout

Alton Jenkinson, Centerville vs. Charlie Baker, Crispus Attucks (Ticket round) – If each young man can navigate his opening match, this ticket battle will pit a 40-4 Jenkinson vs. a 38-2 Baker.  Could be a doozy between two very tough, slightly lesser-known wrestlers. A win here will put one of them on the state map.

#5 Chastain vs. #3 Cottey (Championship match) – Cottey is a returning state placer and has managed to win every bout this year except one (in OT against the #2 wrestler at 113), despite competing against the very best in the state week in and week out. Not to be outdone, Chastain has yet to lose this year, and Hamilton Southeastern doesn’t exactly schedule a lot of cupcakes. While this should be a suspenseful, skillful and tight match, Cottey’s experience might be the difference.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Newkirk, Baker, Chastain and Cottey

The Alpha Dog:
Jacob Cottey

120

Five top-13 wrestlers will vie for the title in this strong weight class. Undefeated Deondre Wilson of Warren Central and last year’s state qualifier Andrice Martin of Franklin Central are two of the favorites at this weight. Eleven competitors have 6 or fewer losses on the season, which shows the depth at this weight. While Wilson has been sharp the entire season, there is enough talent here that we could have a surprise champion. That said, Wilson is the house favorite.

Last year’s champ: Mason Todd, Pendleton Heights
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 4/4, 100%

Ranked wrestlers:

#2 Deondre Wilson, Warren Central
#6 Andrice Martin, Franklin Central
#8 Aidan Kenny, Perry Meridian
#9 Alex Sparks, Lawrence North
#13 Evan Eldred, Westfield

 

Epic matchups:

Adam Oyler, Lawrenceburg/Ben Lock, Shelbyville vs. #13 Eldred (Ticket round) – Oyler won his regional last weekend and opens with the junior Lock, who finished 4th in a loaded regional. This could go either way, and the winner should give Eldred a very tough match. Eldred is one tough freshman, and like many of Coach O’Neill’s wrestlers in recent years, he is wrestling very well this postseason. He lost a heartbreaker to Mantel last weekend and looks to redeem himself with a state berth as a freshman.

#6 Martin vs. #9 Sparks (Ticket round) – This potential contest is one of the truly excellent matchups in the round to go. Either wrestler will be a strong candidate to place at Banker’s Life….if only he can make it there.

Preston Mantel, Zionsville vs. #8 Kenny (Ticket round) – Mantel is an excellent wrestler, a three-time semistate qualifier and, for the third straight year, he has to beat a Perry Meridian wrestler to advance. Mantel had the misfortune of running into Cottey the past two years at New Castle, dropping both matches. Can he get some payback vs. Kenny this year? Mantel looked excellent in wrestling until the final buzzer to come from behind and stun Eldred last week at North Montgomery. This should be a dandy.

#6 Martin vs.  #2 Wilson (Championship match) – Wilson has had Martin’s number so far this season, but the gap isn’t so wide that Martin isn’t capable of revenge. To get to this matchup, Wilson will have to get by the tenacious Eldred and Martin will have to beat Kenny and Sparks, neither of which are particularly easy tasks.
Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Eldred, Martin, Kenny and Wilson

The Alpha Dog:
Deondre Wilson

126

This is the first truly loaded weight class. Led by last year’s 3rd place finisher, #2 Brandon James of Perry Meridian, seven ranked wrestlers will compete in this field. While James is a pretty reliable favorite, the other tickets are up for grabs, as are the finishing spots 2-4. Tickets will be earned with blood, sweat and/or tears at this weight.

Last year’s champ: Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:
#2 Brandon James, Perry Meridian
#5 Tom Gettinger, Connersville
#8 Ben Harvey, Cathedral
#9 Chandler Moore, Southmont
#10 Evan Smiley, Beech Grove
#11 A.J. Belden, Westfield
#13 Nick Reel, Warren Central

Epic matchups:

#9 Moore vs. #10 Smiley (Ticket round) – This should be very close; both have wrestled tough opponents all season.

#8 Harvey vs. #13 Reel (Ticket round) – Harvey might have a slight edge with his excellent postseason run a year ago. He has already won a ticket match and a state match. Reel could have his hands full with his opening round match vs. Broyles of New Castle.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Moore, Harvey, Gettinger and James

The Alpha Dog:
Brandon James

132

State #1 and defending state runner-up (not to mention nationally ranked) Cody LeCount of Perry Meridian is a very strong favorite in this solid group. There doesn’t appear to be anyone here who can truly challenge LeCount, but the other three qualifying spots are pretty wide open.  Aside from the presumptive favorite LeCount, three former state qualifiers could collide. The bottom of the bracket could feature an all-Fishers area semifinals, if Lile and Snyder can win some tough matches.

Last year’s champ: Jared McKinley, Perry Meridian
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 50%

Ranked wrestlers:

#1 Cody LeCount, Perry Meridian (nationally, #12 AWN/The Open Mat, #19 InterMat, #14 WIN Magazine)
#12 Hugo Perez, Frankfort
#14 Jordan Lile, Fishers
#15 Mitch Snyder, Hamilton Southeastern
#17 Sam Locke, Greenfield Central

Epic matchups:

Austin Fuller, Union County vs. #14 Lile/#17 Locke (Ticket round) – Two of these three are former state qualifiers and any of the three could earn this year’s qualifying spot. The hot wrestler will advance from this group.

#15 Snyder vs. #14 Lile/#17 Locke/Fuller (Semifinal round) – Like the ticket match described above, this is wide open and features a quartet of excellent wrestlers. It’s very possible we could have the battle for Fishers, with Snyder and Lile doing battle yet again. They have split two matches already this year. Locke owns an OT win over Lile this season, too.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Perez, Lile, Snyder and LeCount

The Alpha Dog:
Cody LeCount

138

Five ranked wrestlers help populate this weight class, led by multiple time state placers Luke Blanton of Alexandria and Nick Bova of Perry Meridian. Outside of the two heavy favorites, the other two spots are pretty wide open. Fortunately for half the bracket, Bova and Blanton will face off in the semis, meaning someone else will earn a two seed at Bankers Life. Senior Dan Barrett of Southmont is undefeated this season and might be the best of the rest.

Last year’s champ: Josh Farrell, Greenfield Central
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 4/4, 100%

Ranked wrestlers:

#2 Luke Blanton, Alexandria
#4 Nick Bova, Perry Meridian
#6 Dan Barrett, Southmont
#11 Chase Watson, Hamilton Southeastern
#15 Juwan Bartlett, Lawrence North

Epic matchups:

#11 Watson vs. #4 Bova (Ticket round) – Watson dropped a very close match to Barrett in the regional championship last weekend, very nearly getting a takedown with time expiring. That tough loss is the difference between having a nice road to a 2nd place semistate finish and having to beat the rugged, battle-tested Bova to make it to State. Like football, wrestling is sometimes a game of inches.

#8 Barrett vs. Gordon Wagner, New Palestine (Ticket round) – Barrett’s closest match all season was last week’s battle against Watson. He has been sharp all season and looks very confident and comfortable on the mat this postseason.

#2 Blanton vs. #4 Bova (Semifinal round) – This one could go either way. Will Blanton’s funk play into Bova’s fundamental excellence? Or will Blanton secure a top seed at State to make a state title run? Or will Bova? Questions will be answered this Saturday.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Bova, Barrett, Bartlett and Blanton

The Alpha Dog:
Luke Blanton

145

Just like last year at this semistate, this weight is absolutely stacked with depth. Also like last year, there isn’t a clear favorite, but there are 8 ranked wrestlers (a ninth ranked wrestler in the semistate, #13 Eric Dobbins of Pike, didn’t make it out of regionals) vying for the strap. Basically, the winner of this weight class will be whoever is hot throughout the day, and it’s quite possible that if you held the semistate on five different days, you might get five different winners. That said, the unpredictability of this weight class makes it exciting. Handley is my pick, but there are realistically several wrestlers who could win it.

Last year’s champ: Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%

Ranked wrestlers:

#5 Cody Handley, Northeastern
#7 Shabaka Johns, Warren Central
#8 Robbie Elsea, New Palestine
#10 Collin Campbell, Lebanon
#12 Brant Larson, Cathedral
#14 Michael Thomas, Perry Meridian
#17 Scott Swingle, Lawrence Central
#19 Michael Steele, Westfield

Epic matchups:

#7 Johns vs. #17 Swingle (Ticket round) – Johns is coming off of an impressive regional title. Swingle is always game, but Johns might be a little too much this time.

#10 Campbell vs. #14 Thomas (Opening round) – Campbell was impressive at regionals, while Thomas had a 4th place finish. Still, this is a pick ‘em.

#5 Handley vs. #12 Larson (Opening round) – When there are so many ranked wrestlers in a bracket, it’s just going to happen like this—lots of tough matches early and often. Handley will have his work cut out for him to get by the tough Irish junior.

Derek Noon, Noblesville/Chandler Hale, Shenandoah vs. #8 Elsea/#19 Steele (Ticket round) – This is a brutal quartet, and it wouldn’t be a complete shocker to see any of the four advance out of this group. The most likely ticket match is Noon vs. Elsea, which should be great viewing.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Johns, Campbell, Noon and Handley

The Alpha Dog:
Cody Handley

152

Two returning state runners-up headline the action at 152. Vinny Corsaro of Cathedral and Josh Farrell of Greenfield Central appear to be on a collision course for the trophy and all-important #1 seed at Bankers Life. Each of these two are returning semistate champions as well. Joining these two studs are four additional ranked wrestlers, including two ranked in the top-8. Additionally, several non-ranked wrestlers in the bracket are competing at a high level and could be dangerous.

Last year’s champ: Conner Mullins, New Castle
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%

Ranked wrestlers:

#2 Josh Farrell, Greenfield Central
#3 Vinny Corsaro, Cathedral
#6 Nick Borta, North Montgomery
#8 Jackson Bennett, Hamilton Southeastern
#14 Keanu Cooper, Perry Meridian
#15 Luke Decker, New Castle

Epic matchups:

Cody Steele, Connersville vs. #6 Borta (Ticket round) – Borta has competed at a high level all season, but Steele comes in as the regional champ. These two juniors appear pretty evenly matched, but one will likely be heading to Indianapolis the following weekend.

#3 Corsaro vs. #14 Cooper (Ticket round) – These two have battled already this season, with Cooper sticking Corsaro in their earliest meeting. However, it’s tough to bet against Corsaro this time of year. Last year and the year before, he really turned it on during the postseason en route to placing at state both times. Can Cooper stop the Corsaro New Castle mojo? Stay tuned and grab your popcorn.

#2 Farrell vs. #15 Decker (Ticket round) – Multiple time state placer has had great success at New Castle during his career. The Purdue signee should be challenged by Decker, who has strong bloodlines and excellent ability. Despite Decker’s prowess, a win by the New Castle wrestler would qualify as a huge upset.

#2 Farrell vs. #3 Corsaro/#6 Borta (Championship round) – Tons of talent in this trio, but it should come down to New Castle superstars Corsaro and Farrell. Farrell already owns a win over the Irish standout.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Corsaro, Borta, Bennett and Farrell

The Alpha Dog:
Josh Farrell

160

This weight class is pretty loaded, as four members of the top-8 in the state will be competing on Saturday. Leading the way is top-ranked Austin McCloskey of Western Boone, owner of some of the best defense in the state. Nipping at his heels is Hamilton Southeastern’s John Tatom, a state-placer last year and a runner-up to McCloskey at sectionals and regionals. Both championship matches were extremely close and as physical as high school wrestling gets. Tatom, however, has a tough road to the semis, as #8 Riley McClurg of Perry Meridian is lurking in the Ticket Round. Look for strong performances from Cathedral freshman standout Blake Rypel, South Dearborn senior Jimmy Shaw, a regional champ and Ed Pendoski-coached standout Ben Krege of Carmel. Last year’s 160 group contained the state champ and the state runner-up.

Last year’s champ: Brian Harvey, Cathedral
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#1 Austin McCloskey, Western Boone
#3 John Tatom, Hamilton Southeastern
#7 Blake Rypel, Cathedral
#8 Riley McClurg, Perry Meridian
#14 Conner James, Roncalli
#16 Ben Krege, Carmel
#18 Jimmy Shaw, South Dearborn

Epic matchups:

#3 Tatom vs. #8 McClurg (Ticket round) – Tatom is a returning state placer and is mean and aggressive on his feet. McClurg has been on the cusp of making it to state and has earned a number of big wins in his career. While Tatom might have an advantage on his feet, McClurg likely owns an advantage on the mat. One of the most intriguing ticket matches of the weekend.

#18 Shaw vs. #16 Krege (Ticket round) – The senior Shaw will be looking for a breakthrough win against the talented Greyhound wrestler. Krege has improved greatly this year and has shown he can bang with the big boys at the weight. This is basically a pick ‘em.

#1 McCloskey vs. #14 James (Ticket round) – Unfortunately for the Rebel standout James, he must get by #1 McCloskey to make it to the Big Show. McCloskey has phenomenal defensive timing and monstrous hips, making him just about impossible to score on when on his feet. James’ best shot is to try to keep it low-scoring, as the WeBo standout sometimes wrestles conservatively, counting on his defense to win tight matches. As good as James is, it would be a shocker to see the #1 wrestler in the state fall here.

#1 McCloskey vs. #3 Tatom (Championship round) – McCloskey/Tatom Part III should be one of the real highlights of this weekend’s festivities, as it was at sectionals and regionals. In both prior matches, Tatom didn’t back down at all against the Star stud. If anyone here can overthrow the top dog, and become the Alpha Dog himself, it’s Tatom.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Tatom, Shaw, Rypel and McCloskey

The Alpha Dog:
Austin McCloskey

170

Seven ranked athletes will strap it on at 170. This group is as wide open as any in the semistate, as the highest ranked wrestlers here, #3 Austin Neibarger of Hamilton Southeastern and #4 Jeff Scott of Clinton Central, both lost last weekend. The competitor who beat both is #11 Logan Floor of Westfield, who was on fire last weekend. However, Floor beat Neibarger at regionals last year, too, and couldn’t quite parlay that into a state berth.  At this weight, pick your favorite wrestler and let it ride—could be almost anyone at this weight.

Last year’s champ: Jake Masengale, Perry Meridian
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#3 Austin Neibarger, Hamilton Southeastern
#4 Jeffrey Scott, Clinton Central
#10 Mitch Hensley, Noblesville
#11 Logan Floor, Westfield
#12 Austin Rose, Greenfield Central
#13 Nathan Warman, Perry Meridian
#17 KC Hedger, Lawrenceburg

Epic matchups:

#11 Floor vs. #13 Warman (Opening round) – This is a rough reward for regional champ Floor, as he gets the Falcon junior for his opening match. Floor has a great gastank and tends to wrestle to the level of his opponent. Hopefully, if you’re a Floor fan, he doesn’t overlook Warman, or he will be sorry.

#12 Rose/Manns vs. #10 Hensley/#17 Hedger (Ticket round) – This foursome could play out in many different ways. Even the unranked Manns was a sectional champ, and he won’t be an easy match for the senior Rose. If things play out like the rankings say, Rose and Hensley should match up in a rugged Ticket match. However, don’t be surprised if Hedger or Manns pulls a fast one.

Sammy Mireles, Elwood vs. #3 Neibarger (Ticket round) – Mireles was an impressive regional champion and Neibarger has been facing topnotch competition his entire career. On paper, Neibarger is a substantial favorite, but as we all know, matches aren’t wrestled on paper and Mireles won’t roll over.

#11 Floor vs. #12 Rose/#10 Hensley (Semifinal round) – While it might not be this grouping in the semis, it’s how it’s supposed to turn out rankings-wise. This is completely up in the air and the winner will simply be the hottest wrestler of the day.

#3 Neibarger vs. #4 Scott (Semifinal round) – Two tough kids from the same sectional should match up in the semis, with the winner having a nice shot at winning the weight.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Floor, Hensley, Scott and Neibarger

The Alpha Dog:
Austin Neibarger

182

Returning state runner-up and semistate champion #3 Jake Masengale of Perry Meridian is the wrestler to beat at this weight, despite his subpar (for him) performance at regionals. Joining him in the hunt for the prize are three other ranked competitors and some tough competitors with some solid results, like Fishers’ Seth Riley and North Central’s Seth Isaacs. This weight had the state’s runner-up last season, and Masengale looks to improve on that result this season. However, last week showed that even someone with the credentials and performances of Masengale can have an off day and be vulnerable to some tough opposition. The field would’ve had an additional ranked wrestler, but Elwood’s #11 Will Maluvac had a tough sectional and didn’t make it out.

Last year’s champ: Lukas Schaeffer, Westfield
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 100%

Ranked wrestlers:

#3 Jake Masengale, Perry Meridian
#5 Brian Wagner, New Palestine
#10 Katrell Moss, Warren Central
#17 Ben Elliot, Noblesville

Epic matchups:

Chris Mason, Zionsville vs. #5 Wagner (Opening round) – The Zionsville senior faces the rugged Dragon wrestler in a tough opening match. Wagner is the favorite, but Mason is game and has had an excellent season.

#10 Moss vs. #17 Elliot (Ticket round) – The regional champ Moss, also a standout on Warren Central’s vaunted football team, like Shabaka Johns, Noah Perdue and Georgio Blades was outstanding last weekend. Elliot has been outstanding all season, as evidenced by his 32-3 record. Moss is the favorite, but Elliot is capable of the upset. Both are juniors and could be back next year to do battle again.

#3 Masengale vs. #10 Moss (Championship round) – This is a potential rematch from last week’s regional, won by Moss. Masengale has such an impressive track record, though, that it’s hard to picture Moss getting the best of him again.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Wagner, Riley, Moss and Masengale

The Alpha Dog:
Jake Masengale

195

Just like last season, this weight is all Mitch Sliga’s. Sliga is hungry for another state title to accompany his four Fargo titles. One of the state’s true elites, he is unlikely to be challenged too severely until his appearance the following weekend at Bankers Life. Past Sliga, the field is wide open and features just three other ranked wrestlers. The rankings issue is a little misleading, though; there are eight non-ranked wrestlers with 28 or more wins and eleven non-ranked wrestlers with 25+ wins. The bottom of the bracket, especially, is wide open.

Last year’s champ: Mitch Sliga, Fishers
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#1 Mitch Sliga, Fishers (nationally, #5 AWN/The Open Mat, #4 InterMat, #3 WIN Magazine)
#5 Noah Perdue, Warren Central
#7 Mason Nickell, Roncalli
#17 Ty Webster, North Montgomery

Epic matchups:

Jason Hawkins, Milan/Zach Smith, Noblesville vs. Jeff Dixon, Hamilton Southeastern/#7 Nickell (Ticket round) – This is a tough grouping comprised of big, strong, physical athletes with excellent records on the season. If seeds and ranking hold, it should be Hawkins and Nickell in the Ticket match, with Nickell a slight favorite over the Milan standout.

Raja Burt, Cathedral/Jarrett Hooten, Batesville vs. Mike Riffle, Franklin Central/#17 Webster (Ticket round) – Just like the group above, this is a deep and talented quartet. If things play out as they are “supposed to”, Burt and Webster should meet up for a state qualification. However, Riffle could easily win his first two matches.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Perdue, Nickell, Riffle and Sliga

The Alpha Dog:
Mitch Sliga

220

Seven ranked combatants will take the mat at 220, while an eighth couldn’t make it out of regionals (#13 Gabe Estes of New Palestine). There is some pretty strong talent here this year, unlike recent years. New Castle produced zero state placers last season, which should be improved upon this season. Cardinal Ritter’s Dylan Faulkenburg was impressive last week, winning a regional crown by pinning Warren Central’s beastly Maximiliano Hernandez. That could be reversed this weekend. Of course, with the group Hernandez is in, he might not make it out of the Ticket round. In an impressive display of talent, there are four wrestlers with zero or one loss in this group.

Last year’s champ: Justin Sanders, Pike
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 3/4, 75%

Ranked wrestlers:

#4 Maximiliano Hernandez, Warren Central
#8 Myron Hamilton, Lawrence Central
#9 Ricky Brown, East Central
#12 Jacob Aven, Zionsville
#15 Dylan Faulkenburg, Ritter
#19 Alex Lindemann, Milan
#20 Dalton Hardy, Covington

Epic matchups:

#19 Lindemann vs. #15 Faulkenburg (Ticket round) – The senior Lindemann faces off against the undefeated Faulkenburg. As hot as he is right now, and all season for that matter, it’s hard to bet against Faulkenburg.

#8 Hamilton vs. #20 Hardy (Ticket round) – Senior vs. Senior here, with Hamilton a slight favorite, primarily because of his tougher competition all season. Hardy lost his first match of the year in the regional finals.

#9 Brown vs. #4 Hernandez (Ticket round) – In my opinion, this is one of the very roughest ticket matches of them all. Either wrestler can win, and either is capable of a strong state run. Brown has been a heavyweight for much of his career, and an excellent one at that. Hernandez has been strong all year. This could go either way and should be a phenomenal match.

#15 Faulkenburg/#8 Hamilton vs. #9 Brown/#4 Hernandez (Championship round) – There are some seriously tough wrestlers vying for the title. The winner here will have earned it.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Aven, Hernandez, Hamilton and Faulkenburg

The Alpha Dog:
Dylan Faulkenburg

285

In probably the toughest weight class of all, at least at the top, two nationally ranked wrestlers should meet in the finals. Cathedral’s Wesley Bernard, a returning state placer, and Perry Meridian’s Donte Winfield, a Fargo runner-up, make up as formidable a semistate finals as you will ever see. Joining the two monsters of the group are four additional ranked competitors. All told, the top-3 wrestlers at the weight are here, and one at least will not advance. In recent years, just like 220, this hasn’t been the strongest of weight classes at New Castle. That should definitely change this year, and some really talented big men won’t be competing the following weekend at Bankers Life.

Last year’s champ: Donte Winfield, Perry Meridian
Last year’s Dingo Pack picks: 2/4, 50%

Ranked wrestlers:
#1 Donte Winfield, Perry Meridian (nationally, #8 TOM/AWN, #10 Intermat, #16 WIN)
#2 Wesley Bernard, Cathedral (nationally, #15 Intermat, #15 WIN)
#3 Georgio Blades, Warren Central
#10 Nate Trawick, Richmond
#16 Tyler Uhls, Shelbyville
#18 Joe Garland, Rushville

Epic matchups:

#2 Bernard vs. #3 Blades (Ticket round) – Wow! That’s about all I can say. This match is an embodiment of the argument for wrestlebacks, but, well, we don’t have wrestlebacks at this point, so one of them is going home. Bernard is very tough to bet against.

#16 Uhls vs. #10 Trawick (Opening round) – Two tough big men face off in an opening round match that should produce a state qualifier.

#1 Winfield vs. #2 Bernard (Championship round) – These two faced off in the semistate finals last year, with Winfield coming out on top. They have split two matches this year. Winfield has three wins over Blades, giving him a slightly better resume this year. Bernard has a little better offense, Winfield has better defense…should be an amazing matchup and one that could be repeated under the lights at Bankers Life.

Dingo’s Pack picks to advance:
Bernard, Trawick, Garland and Winfield

The Alpha Dog:
Donte Winfield