Semistate survivors include champs for Cats, Pats

From Herald Staff Reports

It was a day of firsts for local teams at Saturday’s wrestling regionals.

First-time regional champions, first-time semistate qualifiers, and for some, the first loss of the season. But for three wrestlers, it was more of the same.

Jasper senior Nathan Schitter earned his second regional title in as many years at Bloomington South, and Heritage Hills seniors Jake Rickenbaugh and Gabe Konerding earned repeat regional championships at the Castle regional. Jasper junior Dillon Hurst was the other regional champ with his first title at 106 pounds.

A week after edging Southridge for the sectional crown, Jasper (78) finished second behind Bloomington South (1981⁄2) in the regional team standings. Southridge (66) placed fifth behind Washington (71) and Terre Haute South (67) and Forest Park (9) placed 14th of 17 teams.

The Patriots (55) placed fifth at Castle behind second-ranked Evansville Mater Dei (227), Evansville Memorial (741⁄2), Castle (68) and Evansville Central (621⁄2). Mater Dei leads the state with 34 total regional championships.

Schitter (126), a regional titlist and state qualifier at 120 last season, rolled through his first two matches before securing a first-period pin against Washington’s Ryan Koerner in the title bout. Hurst landed his first regional title with a 7-1 decision over Caleb Gosney of Bedford North Lawrence. Ruger Kerstiens (152) lost a tight 4-3 decision in the championship match to sixth-ranked Phoenix Adams of Terre Haute South, and Cole Kreilein (170) and Moises Valenciano (heavyweight) are the other Wildcats who moved on with fourth-place finishes; the top four in each weight class advance to Saturday’s semistate at the Ford Center in Evansville.

Southridge coach Dave Schank said the Raiders “had a good, but definitely not great day,” as five wrestlers advanced to semistate, but none as regional champs. Two previously undefeated wrestlers in Andy Fischer (182) and Ethan Schwoeppe (heavyweight) lost in their respective championship bouts but still marched on to semistate for the second straight year. Bryce Harter was runner-up at 170, Mitchell Mundy placed third at 145 and Alex Merkel finished fourth at 220 as the other Raider semistate qualifiers.

For Forest Park, senior Cody Flamion was the lone semistate qualifier with a third-place finish at 126.

At Newburgh, Rickenbaugh ripped through the competition with wins by pin in all three of his matches. Konerding earned a 7-3 decision over Castle’s Evan Dowell for his title and senior Ryan Baker, a sixth-place finisher at sectional a year ago, advanced to his first semistate via a third-place finish at heavyweight.

For a host of other local wrestlers, Saturday was the end of the line as they accepted first-round losses.

Jasper’s Geordon Terwiske (113), Tommy Brock (120), Eric Gehlhausen (138), Brandon Hernandez (145), Ian Songer (182), Trent Smith (195) and Carson Popp (220) competed but did not advance, as did Logan Meyerholtz (106), Drew Dearing (113), Michael Boyd (138), Brandon Oxley (152) and Jacob Mundy (160) for Southridge.

Forest Park’s Luke Fleck (106), Zach Brosmer (113), Winston Glenn (132), Landon Fleck (138), Phillip Rogier (145), Leighton Fleck (152) and Tyler Recker (160) ended their seasons, as well. Heritage Hills wrestlers Levi Schulz (138), Davis Jochim (145), Cordell Miller (152) and Ryan Fisher (195) also concluded their seasons with first-round setbacks.

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