FORT WAYNE – Snider senior Erique Early got his first semistate championship Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
And it couldn’t have been sweeter after coming up short at the semistate in the past and missing the postseason altogether last season.
The past years I wanted to win it, and it just didn’t happen, Early said. I felt like this year coming in it was my time to win it all.
Early missed last year’s postseason because of an injury suffered during the week of the sectionals.
I wanted to come in with the mindset that this was my tournament, and I was going to win it, he said. I feel like my wrestling proved that.
Early (26-0) beat Elkhart Memorial’s Tony Vaughn 8-2 in the finals at 126 pounds.
Early showed off his aggressiveness throughout the match.
That’s what I am best at, so I went out there and kept attacking, Early said.
East Noble had a pair of champions in Garrett Pepple (113) and Connor Knapp (120).
Knapp, ranked fifth in the state, beat Fairfield’s Forrest Glogouski, ranked third, in the finals at 120 on a buzzer-beating reversal. He trailed Glogouski, who got a late takedown, 8-7 before having time for one final move.
He got that final takedown, but I still had time so I had to make one final move, and it worked, Knapp said.
Knapp, who won the semistate title last year, beat South Adams’ Sawyer Miller in the quarterfinals. Miller beat Knapp for third place at the state finals in 2013.
Coming into the finals, it was one more match and I had six minutes left, and I used them and came out victorious, said Knapp, who had sprained his knee and ankle in practice during the week.
You just have to forget about the rankings and forget about the records, and when it comes down to it, all you have to do is wrestle.
Pepple’s win came in a lot less exciting fashion with a pin over Leo’s Eddie Lorraine in 45 seconds.
I stayed on my plan of attack and got on top and pinned him, Pepple said. My top game is what I am best at, so I stayed in that position and made my turns.
It was Pepple’s first semistate title.
It means a lot to me, Pepple said. It was one of the things on my list to achieve this season.
Also winning a semistate title from northeast Indiana was DeKalb’s Zach Krumlauf (138).
Wayne senior Kamez Omar (43-1) suffered his first loss of the season in the finals at 195. He lost 6-5 to Elkhart Memorial’s Tieshawn Johnson.
Despite the loss, Omar and third-place finisher Shaun Johnson are Wayne’s first state qualifiers in 12 years.
Yorktown won the team title 110. East Noble was second with 66, Carroll fourth with 34 and Bellmont eighth with 31.
Other semistate titles went to Lakeland’s Lucas Long (106), Yorktown’s Logan Campbell (132), Peru’s Evan Loe (145), Yorktown’s Chandler Carroll (152), Yorktown’s Rhett Hiestad (160), Yorktown’s Dillon Jackson (170), Western’s Corey Hinkle (182), Kokomo’s Fletcher Miller (220) and Jay County’s Eric Hemmelgarn (285).