Garrett’s Hayden Lee, East Noble’s Connor Knapp, Carroll’s Riley Lefever and Bellmont’s Brad Busse all cited knowledge of their foes for the key to victories.
In the team standings, Yorktown with five individual champions won with team title with 148.5 points. East Noble (99.5) was second and Carroll (70.5) was third.
Lee moved to 36-1 with his victory over East Noble’s Garrett Pepple in the 106-pound final. Although Lee had never faced Pepple in a regulation match, it was a given that he knew his opponent well.
“He’s my cousin so nothing he does was going to surprise me,” Lee said of Pepple, now 40-1. “We train together all summer, so I knew what he was going to do down on the mat.”
So the key for Lee was to be cautious in the neutral position.
“I just needed to get that first take down and then ride it out from there,” Lee said.
Lee was able to earn his 2-0 victory precisely in that manner: he took Pepple down midway through the first. Lee then rode out Pepple for the second period and the roles were reversed for the third.
“I knew he was going to ride legs,” Lee said. “I just had to stay controlled.”
Although Pepple suffered his first loss of the season, his teammate and practice partner Knapp remained unbeaten with his title at 113. Knapp improved to 40-0 with a 6-2 victory over Concord’s DeLawerence Gayfield in the title match. It was Knapp’s third victory over Gayfield this season and the fifth over the past two years.
“I know (Garfield) is aggressive so I knew I had to set the tempo and be more aggressive than him,” Knapp said.
Knapp set the tone with a first period take down and then, from the top, earned two back-points in the second period. The two traded reversals in the third period.
For Lefever, who also remained unbeaten on the year (43-0), beat Anthony Linnear 23-5 in the 170-pound final. Linnear fell to 32-4 with all four losses coming to Lefever. The two had also met in the finals of the Carroll Sectional and Regional.
Lefever called Linnear a “dangerous” wrestler.
“I just needed to get him down and then keep the pressure on him, wear him down,” Lefever said.
After an early first period takedown, Lefever chose the down position to start the second period and led just 2-0. After a quick escape, the two scrapped for a minute when Lefever finally broke through.
“Once I wore him down, and figured him out, I could get the points,” Lefever said.
Despite leading only 3-0 three minutes into the match and 8-1 after two periods, Lefever was in control. The third period was a takedown clinic which ended with Lefever taking Linnear down to his back.
Lefever was one of four Carroll wrestlers to advance to this Friday and Saturday’s state meet in Indianapolis.
The only other area wrestler win Saturday was Busse, who took the 182-pound title with a second-period pin of neighbor Benjamin Pfister of Adams Central. It was third straight week that Busse has beaten Pfister for the title. Ironically, there was some level of unfamiliarity for Busse in his victory over Pfister (39-5).
“I didn’t expect to pin him,” Busse said of Pfister. “He’s a hard guy to pin. I was just able to catch him.”<
Other area wrestlers advancing to the IHSAA finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse are Carroll’s Steven Cardenas (126), Tristan Wilson (152) and Brad Sadilek (220), DeKalb’s Zach Krumlauf (132) and Conner Brumett (152), New Haven’s Reese Sieger (138) and Rashad Jackson-Tatum (160), Woodlan’s Brian Salmon (195), East Noble’s Jacob Weimer (138), Tyler Housholder (145) and Drake DeMuyt (285), East Noble’s Brandon Joest and Churubusco’s Jason Nicodemus (both at 220).