Several of the wrestlers were vying for a return trip to Indianapolis, for their shot at the coveted State title. But first they had to get out of the always tough Semi-State held at Allen County’s War Memorial Coliseum. As the tournament rolls on the venues keep getting bigger and bring with it the best competition in the State. Two undefeated wrestlers, Concordia’s Korey Eck (43-1) and South Adams’ Josh Ehr (41-1), saw their seasons come to a close in the “Ticket” round. It is called the ticket round because if you win your second match in the Semi-State you advance to the State finals. There were several upsets throughout the day and a lot of exciting wrestling.
Hamilton traveled that road last season after winning Sectional and Regional and then after placing second at Semi-State he made the trip to Conseco Fieldhouse.
It was there after the fanfare opening where all the wrestlers are introduced and parade through the fieldhouse. Then the long wait, watching half of the wrestlers that went before him lose their matches and were on their way home. Finally time to warm up and get ready for his match. Then came the introduction and the walk to his assigned mat. The site from the floor in Conseco during this event is something to see. Here you are looking up into the stands with very few empty seats, and the bright lights. It was then that it hit him, “Wow I’m at Conseco Fieldhouse, wrestling for the State title,” recalls Hamilton. “It was quite overwhelming for me at that point, That was the same as my sophomore year when I reached the Semi-State, here at the Coliseum. I got caught up in the emotion of being at a big time competition, looking at the lights and all the people, it just kind of got me out of the state of mind that I needed to win my matches and to go on to the next round.”
Hamilton began Saturday with a second round pin over Ben Pfister from Bluffton. Next was Alex Hostetler of Fairfield, a rematch of the Conference Championship. Hamilton took care of business as he defeated Hostetler by a decision 9-1. In the Semi-Finals Hamilton faced Trent Castner of Yorktown. With just over one minute remaining in the last round Castner was up 5-1. Hamilton had to get something done to move on to the finals. He made a reversal and got Castner on his back. Hamilton quickly secured his hold on Castner and was able to get the pin with 53 seconds remaining.
“I tried to switch on him and he was on his heels,” recalls Hamilton. “With my momentum I was able to get him on his back and get the pin.”
That advanced him to the finals against Jackson Bratcher (34-0) of Eastbrook. The first round ended with both wrestlers at two points each. Hamilton was able to get an escape to take the lead 3-2 after two rounds. In the final round Bratcher escaped and took down Hamilton to take the lead 5-3 with 1:13 remaining in the match. Hamilton was running out of time, but he was able to get an escape. Bratcher gained control and got a takedown as time was running out for the 7-4 win over Hamilton.
“I just got to stay focused and stay calm. I have to come in with a little bit of swagger and confidence letting the other wrestlers know that I am going to take the State Championship or if not the title at least place high in the rankings,” said a confident Hamilton.
The season ended for two other Eagle wrestlers. Jordan Nicodemus (26-10) was defeated by decision 10-6 to Nick Duke (39-3) of Marion. Nicodemus fell behind early but fought back to make it a closer match. In the 189 pound weight class Braxton Siddons (29-8) lost to Yorktown’s Grant Brown by a major decision 13-2. It was Siddons’ first season on varsity this year and to make it to Semi-State is a great accomplishment.
“I thought that Braxton Siddons and Jordan Nicodemus wrestled good matches today even though they came out on the short side of the scoring,” stated Coach Sam Reisen. “Our main goal this week is to get Hamilton healthy. He has been battling through some injuries the past few weeks. Jordan is a top-level wrestler and he wrestled like that today. We are looking forward to seeing him place high at the State tournament next Saturday.”
The State tourney starts on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. in the Conseco Fieldhouse. Resuming Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with the quarterfinals, the consolation round begins at 5:00 p.m. and the finals starting at 7:30 p.m.
(Jordan Nicodemus was defeated by Marion’s Nick Duke by decision 10-6 in the opening round of the Fort Wayne Semi-State last Saturday.) photo by hiatt
(Braxton Siddons lost in the opening round to Yorktown’s Grant Brown by a major decision, 13-2, last Saturday at the Fort Wayne Semi-State.) photo by hiatt