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HUNTERTOWN â€” Twenty Whitley County wrestlers embarked on the second leg of the IHSAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at Saturdayâ€™s Carrroll Regional tournament.
Eleven of those, including two weight-class champions, will advance to next Saturdayâ€™s Fort Wayne Semi-State at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Although wrestlers advance on an individual basis, a team score was also kept, with Churubusco taking second with 92.5 points behind Carrollâ€™s 180.
Churubusco was followed by New Haven, Leo and Huntington North, with Columbia City placing sixth and Whitko seventh out of the 20 teams represented.
â€™Busco and Whitko both advanced four wrestlers and Columbia City had three. Both Columbia City and Churubusco boasted weight-class winners among their advancers.
Columbia City picked up its win at 182 pounds in a rematch of last weekâ€™s sectional final, when senior Russell Hazelet squared off against Bishop Dwenger senior Ben Evans.
Last week, Evans won by a 7-1 decision. This week, Hazelet came out more aggressive against Evans and took a 5-1 lead before Evans came back to knot the score at 5 in the third period. Hazelet scored a reversal to take a 7-5 lead late in the period and held on for the 7-6 win.
Churubusco got a repeat winner from last week in Jason Nicodemus, who took the title at 220 pounds. Nicodemus scored a hard-fought 8-3 decision over state-ranked and only once-beaten Nolan Wilson of Leo. Nicodemus maintained his unbeaten status, finishing the day at 28-0.
â€śThat was a really exciting match with two top kids going at each other. At this point that could make the difference between being a state qualifier or not,â€ť said Churubusco Head Coach Sam Reisen. â€śWinning the regional is a big step. Jason has made it to the regionals every year but this is his first year to make it out.â€ť
In the finals at 113 pounds, Whitkoâ€™s Greg Newman took second to Northropâ€™s Logan Aldrich in a rematch of the Sectional finals. Newman fell 5-2 in the finals, after advancing with a 16-5 major decision over Homesteadâ€™s Drake Rhodes and a 6-3 decision over New Havenâ€™s Owen Doster.
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