Junior Caleb Blake has reached the pinnacle of what every high school wrestler dreams of, and now he is ready to shine on biggest stage.
Blake was the lone Tippecanoe wrestler to advance through a very tough district tournament last weekend, and finished third overall at Wilmington High School. The top four wrestlers in each weight class moves onto the state tournament this weekend in Columbus.
As a team, three members of the Tipp squad competed at districts, and they accumulated 17 points as a team placing the Red Devils 30th overall in a district that was dominated by Graham’s 321.5 points, nearly double the second-place team from Western Brown.
Weighing in at 138 pounds, Blake won his opening match of the districts with a pin in the third period against Issia Johnson from Reading High School, as Blake finished off the match in 4:59.
Blake moved into the quarterfinals where he earned a major decision against Keegan Rawlins of McClain 10-1 and advanced into the semifinal round.
At that point, Blake ran into J.D. Stickley from Graham, who was too much for the Red Devils junior grappler, shutting out the Tipp wrestler 15-0 via tech fall, dropping the Red Devils junior into the consolation round.
In the consolation semifinal round, Blake needed to get a win to move him into the third place match, and automatically qualify him for the state meet. Blake fought through a tough match against Chance Daisy of Indian Lake before earning a 2-0 victory, moving him into the third-place match, and sending him to the state meet this weekend in Columbus.
Blake then needed to get the win in his final match to assure a better seed at the state meet, and the Tippecanoe wrestler pitched another shutout, defeating Ryan Wolf of New Richmond 3-0 and making him a #3 seed at the state meet.
Also for Tippecanoe, Blake Ballard lost his opening match at 113, as the Red Devil wrestler lost 16-0 by tech fall to Dawson Show of Graham dropping him into the consolation round and forced him to right through a long road to attempt to qualify for state.
In the first consolation round, Ballard again ran into a skilled opponent as he lost 15-0 to Matt Asher of Clinton Massie to end Ballard’s season as a district qualifier.
Tipp’s Grant Carlson also qualified for districts at 220, and he lost his opening round match in 3:51 to Terrell Sparks of Hughes to drop into the consolation round. In the first conso match, Carlson saw his season come to an end with a tough 6-4 loss to Nathaniel Clayton of Alter.
Blake (35-5 on the season) will now compete in Columbus this weekend as his first match will be against #2 seed Dakota Bunting (24-8) of Uhrichsville Claymont. A win by Blake in the opener would match him in the second round against either #4 Parkar Utler of Alliance or #1 Timothy Gage Grunden of Defiance. Blake is one of four #3 seeded wrestlers, as there are 16 total competitors at state in each weight class.