Senior staff writer
A reigning state champion and two No. 1-ranked wrestlers are among 15 grapplers from four Southside high schools competing in the 80th state finals Friday and Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Roncalli’s Brayden Lowery (113 pounds), Perry Meridian’s Sam Fair (120), Noah Warren (170) and Beech Grove’s Ethan Smiley (126) won semistate championships Saturday at New Castle.
Lowery (38-0) pinned Carson Eldred of Westfield in 2 minutes, 59 seconds in the title match. Lowery, who was third in the 106 state finals last year, swept through three opponents. The No. 3-ranked Lowery is in the same bracket as No. 1 Brayden Curtis of Yorktown, last year’s 106-pound state champ.
Fair (43-1) was dominant in all three matches, winning the title with an 8-2 decision over Cathedral’s Lukasz Walendzak. No. 2-ranked Fair and No. 1 Hunter Watts (40-1) of Jimtown are in opposite brackets for the state finals.
Warren (42-1) rolled through the 170 class and pinned Brad Lowe (40-4) in 5:05 in the finale. Warren, ranked No. 1 this season, was the state runner-up in the 152-pound class last year. He and No. 2 Nick Fattore (39-0) of Hobart are in opposite brackets.
Smiley (31-3), a senior, dominated freshman Bryar Hall of South Dearborn 11-2 in the semistate finale. Hall upended Alec Viduya 11-6 in the semifinal round. Viduya, who defeated Smiley for a regional title, recovered for third place to advance to the state finals again.
This is Smiley’s fourth year to qualify for the state finals. He suffered an upset loss in the first round last year in the 132-pound class. He was eighth in 120 in 2016.
The 126-pound class is loaded. Smiley and Viduya, last year’s 113-pound champ, are in the same bracket as No. 1 Asa Garcia (35-4) of Avon. Smiley and Viduya have split their two matches this season. No. 2 Columbus East’s Cayden Brooks (42-1) looms in the opposite bracket.
Center Grove senior Gleason Mappes (No. 1 in 160) returns to the finals for the fourth time. He suffered his first loss of the season Saturday against Columbus East’s Nick South (44-1) in a 3-2 decision in Evansville.
Mappes, who meets Hunter Reed (42-1) of Columbia City in the first round Friday night, is in the same bracket as No. 2 Jack Eiteljorge of Carmel. Mappes defeated the Northsider 3-1 earlier this season.
Mappes is following in the family tradition. His father, Don, was a 1976 state champion at Roncalli. Gleason’s three brothers, Shelby, Sean and Rhett, also wrestled in high school. Sean was a state finalist in 2012, and Rhett wrestles for the University of Indianapolis.
Perry Meridian, 113 points, was runner-up to New Castle Semistate team champion Cathedral, 192.5 points; Roncalli, 80.5 points, was third.
Looking forward to the state finals, Roncalli coach Wade McClurg commented, “We are greedy and we always want more, but we are excited for the four guys we have advancing to next week’s state finals. We doubled our number of state qualifiers from a year ago, which is another step in the right direction.”
First-round action begins Friday at 6 p.m.; wrestling resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with consolation rounds at 5 p.m., followed by state championship matches at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $8 per session.
Qualifiers from the Southside:
• Beech Grove – Ethan Smiley, 126; Bailey Moore, 138.
• Center Grove – Alex Petro, 113; Gleason Mappes, 160; Shane Stits, 195.
• Perry Meridian – Alex Cottey, 106; Sam Fair, 120; Aiden Warren, 152; Brooks Davis, 160; Noah Warren, 170; Daniel Below, 182.
• Roncalli – Brayden Lowery, 113; Alec Viduya, 126; Elijah Mahan, 170; Sam Hansen, 195.
(Note: Indiana Mat rankings and Roncalli sports information director Rob Brown contributed to story.)