Three local wrestlers win sectional titlesJanuary 30, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG — Ashton Schuetter successfully his sectional championship in the 195-pound class. He pinned Tell City’s Ross Wilgus to claim the repeat, but his coach, Jace Brescher, was hoping that Schuetter wouldn’t be Jasper’s only sectional champion for the second year in a row.
Brescher had one more championship match to coach on Saturday, with Quade Popp once again making it to the finals of the 285-pound class at Huntingburg Memorial Gym. He squared off against Tell City’s Chance Bolin — with Popp getting two points early in the match and holding strong until the waning part of the third period. Then, Bolin got a point.
However, Popp held strong, taking Bolin down to the mat and holding him there for the final seconds and Brescher cheered with both his arms in the air — and Popp having raised one of his to signify victory.
“I worked hard for it, but I just had to wrestle smart — know the score in my head, know the clock, but just do the right things and don’t put myself in bad situations,” Popp said.
He finally got to take the top of the podium after previously falling short a few times.
“He’s also come runner-up in the SIAC, runner-up in the Big Eight Conference, both to guys that he beat during the season, I believe,” Brescher said. “So, we are excited for him to come out on top.”
Popp’s breakthrough came not long after Schuetter added yet another accolade to his wrestling resume. He won both the sectional and regional championships in the 195-pound class in 2020 and won the 195 in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference Jan. 23 before he got the repeat Saturday afternoon.
Schuetter credited his domination in the sectional championship match to how hard he’s worked in the weight room with Wildcats football coach Tony Lewis, and also the work he’s done with his conditioning.
“I know I can go hard every single period and not get tired,” Schuetter said.
Yet, neither Schuetter nor Brescher necessarily thought it’s harder to repeat as a sectional champion than it is to win one in the first place. Schuetter thought it was harder to win one, and then upon winning one, he wants to keep working. Brescher noted that every year is different, and the addition of Tell City to the Southridge sectional also made a difference. He knew the Marksmen made for more competition, but he saw it as helping to make sure the strongest wrestlers advanced to regionals.
The Wildcats finished the day by producing a pair of individual champions, but the championship matches weren’t kind to the local wrestlers at first. Jainier Milanes made it to the title match of the 113-pound class, and Jeb Prechtel did the same in the 152. However, Milanes bowed out to Tell City’s Coy Hammack, and Prechtel to Floyd Central’s J. Conway.
Southridge fielded three wrestlers in championship matches. Cameron Fogle fell to Floyd Central’s Rollin Douglas in the championship of the 106-pound class.
It looked like the Dubois County schools were going to break through earlier than they did when Cayden Andrews of the Raiders wrestlers Jake Happel of the Highlanders in the championship match of the 132-pound class. Andrews had a lot of time on offense, but had a tough time bringing Happel to the mat. The two wrestlers were tied at a point a piece after three periods, and extra time was needed.
Yet, Happel managed to squeak out a point during the added time to snatch the 132 championship.
“Cayden Andrews is a great wrestler and he’s still going to do a lot of big things before he leaves Southridge,” Raiders coach Kurt Collins said. “I couldn’t be more proud of a kid who has, just in the last week, had the ability to make the adjustments necessary to beat someone that has beat him previously two times in the last two weeks (Tell City’s Gage Meunier, whom Andrews knocked off, 3-2, in the semifinals).”
The Raiders did get representation atop of the podium, though, and it came from a grappler with a familiar last name. Reid Schroeder, brother of 2020 sectional champion and state qualifier Sam Schroeder, got the local schools in the championship column when he stood his ground for a 12-4 win in the championship match against Floyd Central’s Jase Robinson in the 182.
“You can’t help but see some of the similarities,” Collins said of the Schroeder brothers. “Those two have been partners with one another for years, and as Reid evolves, yeah, of course he’s going to take on some of big brother’s style and stuff. But he also has some of his own unique things that he does as well that aren’t his brother’s style.
“Reid’s more of what I would classify as a brawler, where Sam was more of a scientist,” he added. “He was a scientist of the sport, and Reid likes to get out there and bang and brawl with people.”
Those three champions helped their respective schools finish in the top four as a team. Southridge came in fourth with 194 points, and Jasper third at 210.5. Tell City came in second place with a score of 217, while the Highlanders repeated as champions with 262 team points.
“We weren’t a half a point away from a championship, but we felt like we finished strong, we wrestled well and we’re ready for next week,” Brescher said.
The seven local wrestlers who wrestled in championship matches advanced to the Feb. 6 Bloomington South regional. Forest Park, who came in sixth with 73 points, didn’t have any championship qualifiers, but did send wrestlers who made it in the top four in their class to regionals.
Cody Brames finished third in the 106, Travis Haug third in the 120, Isaac Fuhrman fourth in the 126 and Dylan Niehaus third in the 132 to make all four regional qualifiers.
Other Wildcats who will be going to regionals are Gabe Verkamp, who finished fourth in the 106, Xavier Lopez, who finished fourth in the 120, Cale Schmitt, who took fourth in the 138, Ian Giesler, who placed third in the 145, Victor Peter, who took third in the 160, Cameron Weisheit, who finished third in the 170, Luke Ruckriegel, who came in fourth in the 182 and third place finisher Will Collon of the 220.
Southridge will also send some other top four wrestlers to regionals. Jayden Fogle got fourth in the 113, Cole Wirthwein third in the 126, Tanner Kane third in 138, fourth place Carson Niehaus in the 145, fourth place Maddox Vernon in the 160 and fourth place Luke Meyer in the 170.
Collins made it a point that he wants to work on the basic things, because the Raiders still need help with them.
“My guys are in great condition, and we will continue to condition, but we have to continue to work on those core, basic fundamentals,” he said.
Brescher, meanwhile, is looking to refresh some things.
“We really need to go back and review videos again,” Brescher said. “Just reviewing videos I think helps makes yourself more of aware of different situations that maybe you don’t see on the mat, but you could see it on video — and then to continue to fine tune all the techniques that have gotten us this far.”
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