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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 18, 2017 7:54 pm

Dream dashed, but Warsaw senior grabs 3rd place

MARK AMBROGI | For The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS — Although his dream was to walk off the wrestling mat Saturday night with a state title, Warsaw senior Kyle Hatch didn’t want to mope about placing third.

“I wouldn’t say I’m not happy with it,” Hatch said. “To get third is an accomplishment. I’m disappointed in how I wrestled in the semis, but I’ll learn from it.”

Brownsburg captured the state team title title with 100 points, followed by Chesterton in second with 80 and Indianapolis Cathedral in third with 67.5. Bellmont finished in a three-way tie for 26th with 17 points. Warsaw placed 32nd with 14.

Hatch captured third place by rallying from a 6-1 deficit to down Jimtown senior Kenny Kerrn 12-7 in the 152-pound third place match at the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Hatch, who finished 50-1, was the only area wrestler to reach the semifinals. In the semi, Evansville Mater Dei’s Joe Lee downed Hatch by technical fall as Lee held a 15-0 advantage at 4:42. Lee went on to win his second consecutive state title.

“Kyle ran into a buzzsaw,” Warsaw coach Kris Hueber said. “He was down 7-0 before he knew it. He tried a couple of things outside of his normal game, trying to make something happen. You get in a situation like that, there’s no sense of leaving something behind and wondering what if. He went for it and got caught in a couple of things. You’re going to have that with a kid (Lee) at that level.”

Against Kerrn, Hatch hurt his leg early in the match and needed an injury timeout.

“My left leg got caught, it popped and it really hurt,” said Hatch, who will wrestle at Wabash College next season. “I had to shake it off a little bit. I can feel it right now just throbbing. I’m sure once the adrenaline leaves, it’s going to hurt and it’s going to get worse.”

Hueber said he was proud of the way Hatch fought through it.

“He was kind of hobbling around out there at times,” Hueber said. “It’s not the start we were looking for. The call at the edge put him off his game early on. We’re not used to wrestling from behind like that. But he did a heck of a job getting the escape and getting right back into it.”

Hatch said the key was not to think about the injury too much.

“I have much respect for that kid (Kerrn), I’ve wrestled with him for a long time,” Hatch said. “We’ve drilled a lot but only wrestled him twice in matches (winning one earlier this season). We’re always wrestling together trying to make each other better."

In quarterfinals, Hatch won a 12-3 major decision over Columbia City junior Hunter Reed in the quarterfinals. Reed (38-5) ended up eighth, losing a 9-7 decision to South Bend Riley senior Kassius Breathitt.

Bellmont senior Caleb Hankenson was pleased that he closed out his wrestling career with a 7-2 decision over Westfield’s Liam Jagow in the 195-pound division.

“The last match of your career, you don’t want to hold anything back,” Hankenson said. “If you do you’ll regret it the rest of your life. I looked at the clock with 30 seconds left, I knew I was going to win it. It’s my last high school sport, I’m a little sad.”

Hankenson previously pinned West Noble junior Draven Rasler in 1:36 to advance to the fifth place match. Rasler (29-9) placing eighth, losing by Elkhart Memorial’s David Eli by fall at 2:55.

Hankenson (42-3) signed to play football at Saint Francis next season and will likely play linebacker.

Bellmont senior Tony Busse (31-7) took seventh place, beating Shenandoah’s Josh Gee 4-1 in the 160-pound division.

“Busse wrestled a strong match,” Bellmont coach Paul Gunsett said. “He had a couple solid takedowns.”

Prior to Saturday, Tony’s brother Brad was the last Bellmont wrestler to finish in the top eight in state, placing seventh at 182 pounds in 2012.

Braves senior Bryce Baumgartner finished 33-4, losing all three matches Saturday at 170 pounds. He finished eighth, losing to Lawrenceburg senior Jake Ruberg 4-2 in overtime

“Bryce is not 100 percent, he gave the best that he had,” Gunsett said. “It’s amazing that he even made it to state with the injuries that he had. He has a torn labrum and something is wrong with his bicep. He’s having surgery Tuesday. He had a phenomenal career. We brought four wrestlers down here and three got medals, you have to be happy with that.”

In the 120-pound class, Wawasee sophomore Braxton Alexander (42-6) placed sixth, losing to Elkhart Memorial’s Christian Mejia 5-2 in the fifth place match.