By Brice Vance
FORT WAYNE — Ten area wrestlers continued their season to the semi-state round after they advanced at the Carroll regional on Saturday.
Garrett has a school-record, seven individuals, who advanced to next weekend’s semi-state at the Memorial Coliseum, Churubusco has two wrestlers, Joe Leazier and J.T. Kilgore moving on and Eastside’s Laik Minnick advanced as well.
The Railroaders’ Brayden Shearer, Dylan Demarco, Carlos Aguirre, Clayton Fielden, Drake Baker, Beck Davis and Cordell Camp all advanced after placing in the top-four on Saturday.
Shearer (106 pounds) and Demarco (126) were individual regional champions for Garrett.
Railroaders head coach Nick Kraus had his team watch film this past week on some of the possible opponents they would face at Carroll.
“Couple of the matches we had just to advance to semi-state, were based on watching film too,” Kraus said. “The kids followed the game plans for the most part.”
Shearer pinned his semifinal opponent and his opponent in the championship match to win the 106-pound bracket.
“He’s being aggressive right now and staying on his offense, which is something we talked about earlier,” Kraus said.
Demarco beat Bishop Dwenger’s Jacob Robinson, who was the 126-pound sectional champion last week at Carroll, in the semifinal round. Then, the senior battled into the third round of the championship match before he got the pin.
Kraus told Demarco how to attack his opponent while watching film last week during practice.
“This difference you put your hands on him first, you do that and you’re going to win,” Kraus said. “We were confident and it’s like we played the perfect cards, like the script was laid out just like we thought it would be. That was awesome.”
For Eastside’s Laik Minnick (170), he got revenge from a match earlier in the season.
“(He) comes back for third and beats the guy who he lost to by a point earlier in the season,” Eastside head coach Joel Richman said. “So he gets that for a little bit better seeding come next Saturday.”
Richman has a few things for Minnick to work on this week as the Blazers’ lone qualifier.
“Continue setting up his takedowns and working on his feet and keep that speed going,” Richman said. “Just making sure he’s in the best condition possible come next Saturday.”
Leazier and Kilgore both worked their way into the championship matches on Saturday and Churubusco head coach Sam Riesen knew all season they had the potential to get to this point.
“Those two were two that we thought at the start of the year that really had a good shot at wrestling at this level and they came through today,” Riesen said.
Kilgore was matched up with the same opponent who defeated him in the championship match in the sectionals. This time Kilgore got revenge.
“We were more offensive this week, we controlled the ties better,” Riesen said.
Leazier was also pitted against the same opponent who he faced in the sectional championship match last Saturday. Leazier won by a 4-1 decision in the sectionals, but this time he was pinned.
“Joe had that hiccup there in the finals, but before that he was wrestling fantastic,” Riesen said.
All 10 of the qualifiers advanced to the semi-state stage at the Memorial Coliseum next Saturday.