THE RUMBLE ON RIDGE ROAD
2011 TRAICOFF INVITATIONAL PREVIEW
The Chris Traicoff Memorial Invitational being held this Saturday is a sixteen team meatgrinder that will test the physical and mental limitations of even the best of teams. In four years of attending this event, I have come to see this weekend as the “real” start of the wrestling season. Most wrestlers are down to their weights and most lineups are set. Teams and individuals will find out if they are contenders or pretenders come Saturday night.
FIRST ROUND HIGHLIGHT MATCH-UPS
#2 CROWN POINT VS. HIGHLAND
The state’s second ranked team and defending Traicoff champions, Crown Point should cruise in this region match up. There is one potential match up of ranked individuals at the 152 pound class. Crown Point’s Jake Fuqua, ranked 11th in the state will take Highland’s scrapy Mark Maldanado.
LOWELL VS. SOUTHMONT
Lowell is seeded eighth in this tournament and will take on the ninth seeded Mounties of Southmont. Lowell’s line up contains more headliners with state ranked Jeremy Crocker (4th at 170) and Kenny Hughes (7th at 145) but must not overlook the boys from Crawfordsville who appear to have a solid group up and down the line up.
#17 LAWRENCE NORTH VS CALUMET
Lawrence North lost an excellent group of senior to graduation after they led the Wildcats to a state runner up finish. LN appears to rebuilding nicely early in 2011 under the leadership of former coach, Brett Crousure. The Wildcats are loaded down low with the state ranked Boston brothers and Alex Sparks. Calumet, under the veteran leadership of Coach Jim Wadkins, are strong in the light weights as well.
#14 INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL VS. MUNSTER
Cathedral, the number four seed in the tournament, always start the season two/four weeks behind most other programs due to the yearly success of their football program. This should not matter in this opening round match up with Munster. One match to watch will be at 182 where the state’s top ranked wrestler at 170, Tyler Willis, will likely take on 10th ranked Dominic Fimbinati from Munster.
#8 FRANKLIN COMMUNITY VS LAFAYETTE JEFFERSON
The state’s eighth ranked team, Franklin Community matches up with the Bronchos from Lafayette. Franklin has five ranked wrestlers in their line up and should dispatch Jeff. An interesting match of ranked individuals pits Franklin’s sixth ranked Luke Kriech versus #8 Adrian Brown for Lafayette Jefferson.
PORTAGE VS. FLOYD CENTRAL
The Portage Indians hired the greatest wrestler in their schools history, Leroy Vega, in an effort to return their program to the state’s elite. Portage will have a chance to show the state how far they have come this Saturday. Floyd Central always fields a competitive squad and they are led by eighth ranked 106 pounder Terrence Kennedy. Kennedy will have an interesting first round match with Portages’s Eric Peek.
#19 WESTFIELD VS VALPARAISO
The Shamrocks often fly under the radar in the Indianapolis area as well as state wide but coach Terry O’Neill has quietly built a top twenty program in northern suburbs of Nap Town. It will be green on green in the first round as the Shamrocks battle the Valparaiso Vikings. The featured match here is at 113 where Westfield’s AJ Belden, ranked tenth in the state, battles Valparaiso’s tough Max Buckley. Buckley is ranked fifth in the state.
#6 MISHAWAKA VS LAKE STATION EDISON
Are the Cavemen really back after last year’s disappointing season? This question and others are likely to be answered Saturday. Mishawaka appears to be as tough as anyone in the state in their light weights. They are led by senior and fourth ranked Layten Binion at 126. The continuing maturation of the upper weights will be the key for Mishawaka.