INDIANAPOLIS — Gavinn Alstott and Jonathan Kervin of Floyd Central secured all-state status Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse by moving within three victories of wrestling state championship glory with first-round victories at the IHSAA State Finals.
The other two area wrestlers walked away disappointed, but both will have multiple shots to earn return trips to Indianapolis.
Highlanders’ freshman J Conway came up short in overtime, wrapping up a stellar 23-5 season at 126 pounds. And Jeffersonville heavyweight Matt Munoz was pinned in the first round against senior Vincent Yoder of Fairfield to finish his standout sophomore season with a 39-11 record.
Alstott’s state finals experience as a freshman aided him, he said, in his first-round 5-2 decision against senior Martin Cruz of Merrillville. The sophomore had a 5-1 lead going into the final round and held off Cruz’s attempts to rally.
“It went as planned. I was coming out there trying to set a high pace as soon as I started,” Alstott said. “I kept attacking from there. I ended up getting on bottom and kept having good pressure on him and he wasn’t able to get anything going scoring wise.”
Alstott mentioned that he expects to feel less tension going into Saturday's action, which starts at 9:30 a.m.
“I’m not satisfied yet. The pressure’s definitely off a little bit more. I think that’ll help going into tomorrow,” said Alstott, who faces junior Jacob Simone, who’s 41-6 for Hamilton Southeastern. Alstott said he beat him during a summer match.
Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson is thrilled for both his guys that earned all-state honors.
“It’s good to see [Alstott] bust through there and get his picture on the wall,” Sisson said. “That Friday night match is like no other match that kids wrestle. You do feel a lot of relief when you wrestle it. Tomorrow morning he’ll have a tough one and you just have to take it one at a time.”
Kervin pulled away for a 9-2 victory, but it was a slow burn. The match against Jake Jenkins of Homestead had a 0-0 score after the first period.
That’s part of the plan for the 145-pounder with a long reach and strong hands that he uses to dictate the action. Kervin improved to 39-2.
“I just had to keep wearing on him,” Kervin said. “He wasn’t really wanting to wrestle so I was pushing the pace on him. I finally got to move him a lot. I hit that short drag, I think that’s how I took him down almost every single time. Just controlled the match the whole time. Just [using my hands and] keeping him where I want him.”
Sisson saw perfect execution.
“He went after his gameplan perfectly. You could just see the guy's head bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. He couldn’t even keep his head up toward the end and scoring became much easier,” Sisson said.
Kervin faces Alex Mosconi, who has a 41-3 record for Indianapolis Cathedral after his 7-2 victory against Jeffrey Harper of Penn. Mosconi was ranked third in the state by indianamat.com going into the postseason and Kervin is ranked No. 7.
“He has a pretty tough match tomorrow morning. Tough kid from Cathedral. It’s usually the hottest guy that wins this time of year and Jonathan’s wrestling pretty well. It’ll be fun to watch,” Sisson said.
Conway wasn’t able to dictate the high-paced action as he typically does in his 126-pound match. Chase Wilkerson, a senior who improved to 34-4, held his ground well.
Conway took a brief 2-1 lead in the second overtime, but ended up losing 5-2 in the tiebreaker.
“[Wilkerson] just held really good position in the middle of the mat. He just couldn’t get the kid out of his stance. The kid didn’t want into a takedown match with J and I don’t think anybody wants to get into a high-scoring match with J. Phenomenal season. There’s nothing you can say to make a kid feel better right now,” Sisson said.
Munoz was one of the most improved wrestlers in the state from his freshman to sophomore year and was the only sophomore heavyweight in the field.
He was looking solid until Yoder was able to get him off balance and onto his back.
Jeff coach Danny Struck expects him to put together a strong off-season.
“He has the perfect demeanor right now. He’s mad and ready to go train. But he handled it like a gentleman,” Struck said. “It sounds like an excuse, but he’s a sophomore and [Yoder] is a senior. He had a tad more experience. [Munoz] was doing great things.”