By Brice Vance
HUNTERTOWN — Ten area wrestlers advanced out of the Carroll Regional on Saturday to the semistate round of the 80th annual IHSAA wrestling state tournament.
Garrett’s Brayden Shearer (113 pounds) and Churubusco’s Joe Leazier (145) were the lone wrestlers to win individual regional championships on Saturday.
The Railroaders finished in second place as a team with 92 points, 12 points behind host Carroll. Eastside came in eighth as team with 44.5 points, and Churubusco finished in 12th with 22 points.
For Shearer, it’s all about getting down to the state finals, and Saturday was just another step in the process.
“It gives me good confidence going into semistate, because I got the higher seed,” Shearer said. “It feels good to finish out my career out with another sectional and regional win.”
It’s the second year in a row Shearer has won a sectional and regional title. Last year, he won both in the 106-pound weight class.
Shearer punched his ticket to semistate with a win in the first round. He pinned Snider’s Camron Habegger in the first period. Then, he won in an 8-3 decision to set up a rematch with Carroll’s Joe Just, who Shearer beat last week for the sectional title.
In the finals, Shearer grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period, and earned another two points with a near fall. In the second period, he got a reversal to take a 6-0 lead. Shearer held that margin the rest of the match.
The 6-0 decision was good in Shearer’s mind, but he knows he has to keep trying moves late in matches for more points next week.
“Making sure on scoring more points, because I wanted to get that major there, because that will keep me actively moving,” Shearer said.
At semistate last year, Shearer came in third at 106, but has a lot of confidence going into next week.
“Got to be confident. I think I’m going to win it, so if I have that mindset, I feel like I’ll wrestle just fine,” Shearer said.
Leazier was also coming into Saturday with a sectional title already in hand, but he wanted to take back what was lost last year in the regional.
“It was good,” Leazier said on winning two titles in two weeks. “Last year, I won sectionals, then came back and lost a heartbreaker in regionals, so it’s nice to finally come in and get the regional title and move onto next week with it.”
The senior won by a fall in the first period of his first-round match. Then, he won a close 3-1 decision in the semifinals to advance to the finals. There, the title was almost quickly taken away from Leazier again.
“It was alright. I started off my first match kind of rough. Second match the whole match was kind of sloppy,” Leazier said on his day. “The beginning of my championship match was a little rough, but I was able to turn it on and turn things around real quick and get the job done.”
South Side’s Ben Macias took down Leazier and almost pinned him in the first minute of the match. But Leazier was able to escape.
“After he threw me, I was like, ‘Okay, we’re not doing this. We got to pick it up Joe,’” Leazier said. “I just picked things back up, like I knew I could and started scoring points.”
Leazier was able to take down Macias late in the first period and earn three points with a near fall for a 7-5 lead.
He escaped out of the gates in the second period, then took down Macias again and grabbed another three-point near fall. Finally, Leazier pinned Macias with 38 seconds left in the second period.
Garrett’s Clayton Fielden (152) and Doler Bevis (182), and Eastside’s Chase Leeper (285) and Laik Minnick (170) advanced to semistate and were all in championship matches. However, they were all defeated for second place.
Other grapplers advancing to next week’s semistate at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum are: Garrett’s Chandler Shearer (106), Andrew Wertman (120), Beck Davis (195) and Cam Smith (220), and Eastside’s Seth Burns (138) also punched his ticket to semistate.
At the Goshen Regional, Jackson Lee (113) was unable to compete due to illness. Dominic Blevins (195) was defeated by fall in the second period of his first-round match.