Five regional champs head semistate qualifiers

From Herald Staff Reports

The Jasper wrestling team achieved plenty of history-making firsts in its sectional championship last weekend. The Wildcats weren’t finished rewriting the record books once they got to the regional.


Jasper will send a school-record eight wrestlers plus two alternates to the semistate after a strong showing in Saturday’s regional at Bloomington South. The Wildcats boasted two first-time regional champions in Grant Brescher and Nathan Schitter, and they’ll lead a large local contingent of local qualifiers into this Saturday’s semistate at the Ford Center in Evansville. Southridge will send four guys to semistate, Forest Park had two qualifiers and Heritage Hills has four, including a trio of individual regional champs in Gabe Konerding, Jake Rickenbaugh and Jared Boehm as the Patriots competed at the Castle regional.

At Bloomington, Schitter (120) and Brescher (145) each won their respective weight classes for Jasper, while Ruger Kerstiens (138) finished runner-up and Dillon Hurst (106), Edgar Chevez (126), Cole Kreilein (160) and Moises Valenciano (195) all placed third and Ian Songer (182) came in fourth for Jasper (156 1/2 points). The Cats followed Bloomington South (240 1/2) and finished ahead of Terre Haute (99 1/2), Southridge (77) and Northview (72) in the 15-team field. Forest Park (27) finished 13th.

“It was really a pretty good day,” Jasper coach Rick Stenftenagel said.

Tommy Brock (113) and Kirk Stenftenagel (152) each placed fifth to earn alternate spots for the semistate, where the Cats are eyeing more breakthroughs.

“It’s another rung on the ladder,” Stenftenagel said, referencing semistate. “We want to get to state, that’s our ultimate goal.


“In the school history, it’s probably one of the best teams, but they still have to prove themselves yet. We still have two weeks left.”

Southridge, which qualified 11 of its 13 wrestlers for regional, ended Saturday with four survivors for semistate. Jacob Mundy won his first two matches and finished runner-up at 152, while Ethan Schwoeppe (heavyweight) placed third after challenging eventual champ Guss Dajani of Bloomington South in a 4-3 loss in the semifinals. Juan Ramirez (120) and Andy Fischer (182) are also moving forward to semistat e after third-place finishes.

“Those four guys wrestled great, and I’m proud of them and all 11 for extending their seasons,” Raider coach Dave Schank said. “We think Ethan has a very good draw for the semistate and we have high hopes that we can send someone to the state finals. Jake, Andy and Juan also have the potential to win matches (this) Saturday and have had tremendous years.”

Forest Park will also be represented by two wrestlers who wiggled into the semistate via fourth-place finishes: junior Winston Glenn at 126 and senior Keith Hurst at 138.

For Heritage Hills, its big trio of Konerding (42-1), Rickenbaugh (42-1) and Boehm (44-0) all plowed through regional competition unscathed and teammate Nick Myers (120) also moved through with a fourth-place effort. Boehm, at 220 pounds, wrapped up his third straight regional title, while Konerding’s title arrived with a dose of redemption.

He avenged his only loss of the season by outlasting Evansville North’s Duvante Lane 3-2 in the championship of the 182 bracket. Locked in a 1-all tussle, Konerding achieved the only takedown of the match in the third period to seize control, and he found a way to penetrate the defense that Lane used to win the first match between the wrestlers this season.


“We were a lot more aggressive to the outside shots, and it really worked out well for Gabe. He wrestled to the gameplan almost perfectly,” Patriot coach Matt Thompson said. “We were pretty happy for him as a group, because it was a group effort to get him to the point where he was ready to beat Lane.”

Boehm and Rickenbaugh (170) doused any such dramatics, pinning their first two opponents before rolling through the finals. Rickenbaugh stopped Evansville Mater Dei’s Alex Schneider 7-3 to grab the title, and Boehm subdued Evansville Central’s Austen Pace by way of a 15-0 technical fall in the second period.

“Jared and Jake pretty much cruised all day,” Thompson said.

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