Wildcats, Patriots each boast pair of state finalists

From Herald Staff Reports

Four local wrestlers, Jasper’s Nathan Schitter and Grant Brescher, and Heritage Hills’ Jake Rickenbaugh and Jared Boehm advanced to the state finals with strong runs through Saturday’s semistate at the Ford Center in Evansville.

Rickenbaugh

Rickenbaugh claimed the semistate championship in the 170-pound, pinning Brownsburg’s Stone Neese and Bloomington North’s Dominique Davis before collecting a 4-3 decision against Franklin’s Garett Fentz. Rickenbaugh then earned a 6-5 decision in the final against Bloomington South’s Conor Galvin. Rickenbaugh, who has 34 pins on the season, became the Patriots’ first individual semistate champ since Jon Goldsberry in 2000.

Boehm won his first two matches at 220 pounds, pinning Brian Arnold of Eastern (Pekin) and stopping Paoli’s C.J. Andry 7-4. He then lost 3-2 to Franklin’s Connor Tolley, ranked sixth in the state. It was the first defeat of the season for Boehm, who has 32 pins on the year.

Jasper will give the Patriots local company at the state finals with two more qualifiers, as Schitter (120) and Brescher (145) advanced for the first time.

“To get to state to go through that semistate is excruciating, there’s a lot of pressure on the mind, emotionally and physically. There’s a lot of split-second decisions on your matches,” said Jasper coach Rick Stenftenagel, whose coaching career was extended one more week before the 25th-year coach retires. “We’re very happy. We’re going to enjoy this a couple days and get ready for the state finals.”

Schitter cemented his state finals berth by starting the day with two wins by decision, an 8-2 triumph over Nick Myers from Heritage Hills and a 3-2 squeaker over Avon’s Nick Etienne as Schitter executed a takedown in the third period. Schitter dropped his final two matches by decision but still advanced, and Brescher followed the same blueprint by beginning the day with two wins before dropping his final two.

Brescher pinned New Albany’s Benjamin Castleberry, then assembled an 8-3 victory over Mooresvile’s Brent McCreary, a state finalist from last season. In the semifinals, Brescher was locked at 6-all with Martinsville’s Seth Ferguson before Ferguson slipped away with a late takedown.

Two more Jasper wrestlers landed first-round wins before coming up short in the push to grab state-qualifying victories. At 126, Edgar Chevez nipped James Bray of Evansville North 2-1 before accepting a 3-1 setback to Bailey Schober of Greenwood. At 195, Moises Valenciano pinned Columbus North’s Luis Cambron late in the second period before falling 7-4 to South Putnam’s Rudy Harris 7-4 in the next round.

Dillon Hurst (106), Ruger Kerstiens (138), Cole Kreilein (160) and Ian Songer (182) also competed for the Wildcats, dropping their opening-round matches.

For Southridge, Andy Fischer (182) pinned Dakota Bott of Jennings County at the 55-second mark of the opening period before falling 12-0 to Jonah Zorninger of Avon. Ethan Schwoeppe (heavyweight) edged Dalton Miller of Pike Central 1-0 before losing 3-2 to Gavan Jolley-Little of Jeffersonville.

Other local wrestlers who competed but lost their first match were Southridge’s Juan Ramirez (120) and Jake Mundy (152), Forest Park’s Winston Glenn (126) and Keith Hurst (138) and Heritage Hills’ Gabe Konerding (182), who finished the season 42-2 after losing a scramble and allowing a takedown late in the third period.




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