For the wrestlers who advanced into the sectional finals last weekend, it was a sure bet that it was going to be a tough road to advance at champion.
Of the 14 weight classes, 11 of the championship matches were decided by three points or less including both of Tippecanoe’s wrestlers as the Red Devils competed for a chance to advance to the district.
While three of the Tipp grapplers have advanced to this weekend, both Grant Carlson and Caleb Blake were involved in the tightest matches of everyone in the finals.
Carlson earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Jamen Hill of Carroll at 220 pounds, to claim the sectional championship and advance to the district this weekend at Wilmington High School.
On the other end of the spectrum, Blake fell short of his bid to bring home the sectional gold, as he lost 3-2 against Micah Marshall of Chaminade Julienne at 138 pounds.
Both will get their chance at redemption, along with a third Tipp qualifier Blake Ballard at 113, as the three of them will compete starting at 3:15 on Friday, and continuing at 10:30 on Saturday morning.
Carlson began his quest for a championship with an opening round victory against Landin Brown of Greenville, a match that lasted 50 seconds before Carlson earned the pin.
The Tipp wrestler then recorded another pin in his semi-final match against Austin Fisher of Urbana in 1:51 to send him to the championship match against Hill.
Blake also was in control of his two matches leading to the finals. He opened the sectionals with a 2:54 pin against Byron Uzhca of Carroll to advance into the semis, where he picked up another pin, this time in 3:15 against Joel Abbott of Ben Logan to advance into the championship match.
With the top four finishers in the sectionals advancing to the distircts, Ballard had his back against the wall early, as he lost his opening round match to AJ Lewandowski of Oakwood in a 12-0 major decision loss, forcing the Tipp wrestler to battle his way through the consolation bracket.
In the third consolation, Ballard received a bye which sent him to the conso semis, where he had no trouble with Lance Roberts of Chaminade Julienne with a 10-2 win.
That win put him in the third-place match which automatically qualified him for the districts, as he lost to Austin Lacey of Greenville in 2:42 to place fourth but advance.
Tipp’s Lucas Moore placed fifth at 145, earning him an alternate spot should one of the four who advance not be able to wrestle next weekend.
*Bethel’s Kellen Calhoun placed fifth in the Division Three sectionals, earning him an alternate spot also in the districts.