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The Journal Gazette

  • File photos Bellmont’s Jon Becker is ranked No. 11 in the 132-pound weight class by IndianaMat. He is one of four returning state qualifiers for the Braves.

  • East Nobel senior Nate Weimer, right, is ranked No. 12 in the 145-pound class after finishing a win away from the state finals last season.

  • Carroll junior Zane Standridge, left, is one of seven returning semistate qualifiers for the Chargers.

Thursday, December 01, 2016 10:02 pm

5 TO WATCH season preview

Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette

All six returning area finalists at last year’s wrestling state championship meet fell in the first round of competition.

This year, though, with more experience, the goals and expectations are undoubtedly higher.

Twelve area wrestlers are ranked in the IndianaMat individual polls, with three teams ranked in the class dual rankings.

Five individuals

1. Fernando Luvano, West Noble: The junior qualified for last year’s state finals in the 132-pound weight class, where he fell in the first round. As of Nov. 22, he’s ranked No. 6 at 138 by Indiana Mat.

2. Beck Davis, Garrett: The junior qualified for state last year at 195, where he fell in the first round to eventual state champion Jake Kleimola of Lake Central. Davis is ranked at No. 12 at 195.

3. Kyle Hatch, Warsaw: The senior is ranked No. 4 at 152 after finishing 40-1 last season. He was one win away from qualifying for state in the 138 class at the East Chicago Semistate.

4. Bryce Baumgartner, Bellmont: The senior is ranked No. 4 at 182 after finishing his junior season with a first-round loss at 170 at the state finals.

5. Nate Weimer, East Noble: The senior is ranked No. 12 in the 145 class after finishing his junior season one win away from the state finals after falling to Yorktown’s Brad Laughlin in the second round of the New Haven Semistate.

Five teams

1. Bellmont: The Braves return four state qualifiers, seniors Jon Becker, Tony Busse, Baumgartner and Caleb Hankenson, all of whom are ranked in their respective weight classes by IndianaMat. The team is also the defending champion in Class 2A for the coaches’ association team duals.

2. Carroll: The Chargers graduated their lone state qualifier in Josh Garman but return seven semistate qualifiers: Joe Just, Owen Krider, Joel Byman, Zane Standridge, Ethan Hicks, Joel Arney and Jessie Lawson.

3. Adams Central: The Flying Jets return five semistate qualifiers: Logan Mosser, Anthony Mosser, Logan Macklin, Chandler Schumm and Nash Brunner. The team is No. 3 in IndianaMat’s 1A dual rankings.

4. Garrett: The Railroaders are ranked No. 7 in the first IndianaMat 2A dual rankings. In addition to Davis’ state-qualifying performance last year, the team returns Carlos Jimenez-Aguirre.

5. East Noble: The Knights return Nate Weimer, No. 12 in 145, and semistate qualifier Xavier Van Allen.

Five storylines

1. New coaches: John Johnson at Norwell, Tim Sloffer at Carroll, Ben Sprunger at Bluffton.

2. Family legacy: By the end of the season Bishop Dwenger senior Stephen Nix will finish in the top 10 for all-time victories. He is the last Nix brother to go through the program.

3. Rebuilding: Snider has just three seniors on its roster: Mitchell Parker (152), Jerred Freibruger (160) and Sam Mossburg (170). South Side, meanwhile, has no seniors on its varsity roster.

4. Continuous progress: Northrop returns two semistate participants as the entire team returns 12 wrestlers from last season’s rebuilding year in addition to six freshmen.

5. The Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Team State is scheduled for Dec. 23 at Memorial Coliseum.