The Jeffersonville wrestling team is sending two wrestlers to state.
“The kids wrestled really hard,” Jeffersonville coach Danny Struck said. “They gave some outstanding performances.”
The Red Devils’ Elijah Curtley and Alonzo Shepherd qualified for next weekend’s IHSAA State Finals after placing third in their respective weight classes at the Evansville Reitz Semistate on Saturday at the new Ford Center.
“I’m very excited,” Struck said. “I think I’m just never satisfied. I hope I go home and my wife reminds me that we had two state qualifiers.”
Curtley cruised through the first two rounds of the semistate before dropping a narrow 5-4 decision to Evansville Mater Dei’s Dane Maurer in the 195-pound weight class.
Shepherd lost his semifinal match in double overtime to Castle’s Luke Welch, who remained undefeated as he went on to win the tournament in the 120-pound weight class.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class at semistate qualify for the state meet, which will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis next Friday and Saturday.
Other Jeffersonville wrestlers didn’t fare as well. Brandon Marlin lost to Franklin’s Austin Bowman, the No. 3-ranked wrestler in the state at 170 pounds, by a 5-4 decision.
Brandon Brown, Jordan Schremp and Brent Browner each dropped their first-round matches. Brown (220) fell to Center Grove’s Damien Stone, Schremp (126) dropped a decision to Center Grove’s Nathan Carmichael, and Browner (152) lost a decision to Madison’s Zach Adams.
David Fridley, who wrestles at 145, was disqualified from the tournament for medical reasons.
“David is a fantastic kid,” Struck said. “He does everything we ask him to every night, and I’m so upset.”
Out of eight wrestlers, three Highlanders were able to make it out of the first round, as they had no state qualifiers.
“Obviously, the Evansville Semistate every year is one of the toughest of the four semistates,” Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson said. “It’s pretty hard to go down there and be successful. I told all of the guys I wasn’t really disappointed with anybody. Of course, we’re disappointed with the outcomes, but most of the guys went out there and wrestled.”
After taking out Nevin Markitan of Martinsville, Floyd Central’s Terrence Kennedy (106) lost a heartbreaker to Jacob Brown from Castle. Brown went on to win the semistate, while Kennedy finished fifth.
“Terrence actually wrestled a really good match,” Sisson said. “He was doing well until he lost in the final 20 seconds.”
The Highlanders’ Tre Marler (132) won his first-round match against Bloomington South’s Ross Abram decisively, but fell to Mater Dei’s Branson Schroeder by pin in the third round.
Floyd Central’s Jackson Randall (182) pinned Plainfield’s Caleb Sheets in the first round. But Madison’s Ryan Fish defeated Randall in the next round by decision.
“It’s unfortunate for Terrence, Jackson and Tre. They all pretty much outwrestled their opponents, but they all pretty much came up on the short end of the stick,” Sisson said.
The rest of the Highlanders fell in the tournament’s first round.
Chris Whitley (113) lost by pin to Sam Summitt of Bloomington North. Kolton Popp (120) lost by technical fall to Mater Dei’s Sam Goebel. Cory Troutman (138) lost by decision to Mount Vernon’s Jon Hoehn. George Emily (145) was pinned by Alex Bassemier of Mater Dei, and Nick Ottersbach (220) was turned back in a low-scoring match against Jon Stinnet of Brownsburg.