By Steven Kochersperger
Twelve Posey County wrestlers entered this past Saturday’s Regional at Castle High School needing just one win to secure their place in the semi-state match this week. And while twelve entered the Regional hopeful, only five ended their day with a spot in this week’s semi-state match at the Ford Center. All twelve wrestled well though and should be very proud of this year’s accomplishments.
The five who move on are Mount Vernon’s Paul Konrath, Austin Bethel, Dane Wilson, and Tristin Choate along with North Posey’s Shane Martin.
Mount Vernon’s Paul Konrath has been a force this season in the 106 pound weight class and many close to the sport were looking forward to seeing another matchup between Konrath and Mater Dei’s Will Egli. That would come soon enough. Before that though Konrath would make quick work of his Pike Central opponent Blake Carroll in Konrath’s opening match up. That win ensured Konrath a place in the semi state matches but Paul seemed to want much more than just a spot. Konrath beat Carroll and then Gibson Southern’s Logan Dillbeck before meeting up with Egli in the Championship round. Egli and Konrath sit atop the state rankings in the 106 pound weight class and met up earlier this season when Konrath was victorious. That loss to Konrath at the Mater Dei Classic was the only loss that Egli has had all season. Saturday the two locked up in the Regional Championship and did not disappoint. Konrath led most of the way but it was Egli who made a late move to win 2-1 and give Konrath second place at Castle.
Konrath was not the only second place finisher the Wildcats had at Regionals Saturday. Freshman Austin Bethel entered his day as the Sectional champion hoping to make some noise and set himself up for a run that would extend his season. Bethel took his near perfect record and began his run beating Josh Elpers of Evansville North before taking care of Conner Willis from Central in a close match. This set up a matchup with Mater Dei’s Nick Lee who remained undefeated by beating Bethel to win the Regional. Bethel and Konrath both had second place finishes Saturday to represent their Freshman class very well.
Mount Vernon’s Dane Wilson also had a good day Saturday as he ensured his place in the semi state with an opening victory over Justin Naylor of Evansville North. Wilson then had the opportunity to wrestle one of the best in the state at the 152 weight class in Central’s Brendon Kelley. Kelley pinned Wilson in the second matchup of the bracket and went on to win the Regional himself. Wilson ended his day by beating Gram Dougan of Princeton to finish third place overall in the weight class.
The last of the Mount Vernon wrestlers to ensure his place in the semi state match ups was Tristin Choate. Choate had a very exciting opening match with Adam Lytle of Tecumseh. Lytle had beaten Choate earlier this season and made the match up that much more exciting. Choate got two points late in the match to beat Lytle 3-1 and moved on. Overall Choate ended his day in fourth place at Castle High School.
North Posey’s Shane Martin also had a pretty nice day. Martin entered Saturday’s regional as the only Viking wrestler left standing and needed the opening match win to extend his season. He got that when he beat Castles’ Blake Jeffress 2-0. Martin would end his day by finishing fourth in the regional and now takes his 33-8 record to the Ford Center in hopes of making some more noise.
All in all the grapplers from Posey County had a good showing. Most all the other wrestlers who lost their opening Regional matches, thus ending their seasons, had good showings and should be proud.
All five that are moving on have a good chance this Saturday to continue what they have been doing all season. The key will be hard work. But hard work is not something that you need to preach much about to a semi state caliber wrestler, they already know that. Good luck to you five. Make us proud.
By Steven Kochersperger