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  • Val T.

Brady Beck breaks school wins record, wins 4th straight regional, leads Rochester to 2nd at Penn

Updated: Feb 8

Horn, Brant Beck, Deming remain undefeated, Basham also wins regional; Winamac’s Dennis also advances


Sports Editor, RTC

Photo Provided by Paul Deming

MISHAWAKA — What a difference a week makes for D.J. Basham.

132# Penn Regional Champion DJ Basham Photo Provided by Paul Deming

The Rochester senior had never won a tournament at any weight class during his varsity career until Saturday when he avenged a loss to Plymouth’s Seth Wright at the Plymouth sectional one week earlier to win the 132-pound title at the Penn regional Saturday.

Now Basham will share the spotlight with eight other teammates – four of whom also won regional titles – as qualifiers for this Saturday’s East Chicago Central semistate.

They include undefeated Brady Beck, who broke the school record for career wins in the semifinals with No. 155 and

126# Penn Regional Champion Layne Horn Photo Provided by Paul Deming

then won No. 156 and capped his fourth straight regional title with a fall over fifth-ranked Anthony Popi of Plymouth in the final.

They also include Layne Horn (126), who tacked on two more falls to his school single-season record before subduing Penn challenger Dylan Bennett 9-2 in the final; Brant Beck (165), who needed a takedown with five seconds left to edge Mishawaka senior Will Kennedy; and Alex

165# Penn Regional Champion Brant Beck Photo Provided by Paul Deming

Deming (215), who pinned rival and seventh-ranked Kameron Kauffman in the final one week after beating him by major decision at the Plymouth sectional.

The other semistate qualifiers included Declan Gard, who was second at 175 and earned his first career semistate ticket; Colin Weiand, who lost a bruising 190-pound final to Penn’s Vincent Freeman to take second after impressive wins over wrestlers from South Bend Adams and Mishawaka; Grant Holloway,

215# Penn Regional Champion Alex Deming Photo Provided by Paul Deming

who took third at 106 and is also headed to his first semistate; and Wyatt Davis, who was third at 150.

The other RTC area semistate qualifier was Winamac senior Willis Dennis, who finished third at 138.

Penn won the team title with 221 points. Rochester, who had won regionals at Maconaquah and Peru in 2022 and 2023, respectively, finished second this time with 164 points.

Winamac finished in a tie for 10th place with 13 points. Caston was held scoreless and had no advancing individuals.

285# Penn Wrestling Regional Champion Brady Beck Photo Provided by Paul Deming


Basham had lost to Wright 6-2 in the sectional final but was ahead the entire match in the regional final and prevailed 8-2.

Basham had also finished second at the Three Rivers Conference tournament behind Lewis Cass’ Eli Bowyer.

He dropped from 138 to 132 in the middle of the season.

Basham began his day by getting a takedown in each period and ousting Mishawaka Marian’s Preston Manzuk 7-2 in the ticket round. His semifinal against Penn freshman Angelo Vargo ended after only 22 seconds due to injury default after Vargo appeared to suffer a serious arm or elbow injury and writhed on the match in pain.

Meanwhile, Wright had to wrestle for 12 full minutes and endured a grueling 1-0 win over Mishawaka’s Colby Smith in his semifinal match.

“I don’t know if that really made that much of a difference as much as it got him really fired up,” Rochester coach Clint Gard said. “I mean, he’s in the finals of the regional tournament. It was three weeks in a row he was in the finals (after being) runner-up at conference and sectionals, and he got a chance to avenge a loss, and he wrestled really well. He wrestled well all day. D.J.’s a good athlete, and he’s strong as heck, and if you get into bad positions with him, he’ll catch you. He was able to do that against the Penn kid obviously and also with the Plymouth kid and avenge that loss. He had a good day. I was very proud of D.J. and very happy for him, and it just proves when you put your mind to something, you can accomplish it. When you’ve got some ability and some talent and you decide you want to go for it, good things can happen.”

Horn folded over South Bend Adams’ Kane Miller in 1:05 in his ticket match and then pinned Mishawaka Marian’s Caden Garza in 52 seconds to reach the final.

Bennett, a senior, lasted six minutes and finally scored against Horn in the third period, but Horn cruised to a 9-2 decision.

Coach Gard said Bennett has a “funky” style to which Horn had to adapt.

“I think it challenged him in that regard where he needed to game-plan for him a little bit and have some ideas of what he wanted to do in the match and obviously then also watching out for some of the things that that kid does and being aware of some of the crazy things he’s capable of doing,” coach Gard said. “I think it was good for him to get that match, and it will help him a lot for semistate this next week.”

Similar to his win over Cowan’s Levi Abbott at the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational, Brant Beck needed a late takedown to prevail. This time, the takedown got him an 8-7 win over Mishawaka’s Will Kennedy. Brant Beck had beaten Kennedy 11-4 earlier this year at the Bob Read Super Duals at Plymouth, but this match was closer.

Brant Beck had a fall over Mishawaka Marian’s Harryson Givens in 1:22 and a 16-5 major decision over South Bend Riley’s stocky senior Marques Young to reach the final.

“I think there was about 15 or 20 seconds left on the clock, but there wasn't much,” coach Gard said. “That’s still not a whole lot of time, and sometimes, you need all of it to win. Brant didn’t wrestle real well that match. We gave up three takedowns to the kid, and then I think his plan was to do his best to stall it out and slow Brant down, and it kind of backfired on him.”

Deming got three early takedowns and yielded two escapes to South Bend Adams senior Jaden Laurence before sticking him in 1:49 in his ticket match. He relied on his counterattacking skills to fend off Penn’s Malachi Evans and earn an 11-2 major decision in the semifinals. He then pinned Kauffman, ranked No. 7 in the state.

Gard pointed out Deming’s athleticism on his feet as one of his primary assets.

“I think a lot of kids, you look at Alex, and maybe they think he’s not that great of an athlete, but he’s kind of deceptive,” coach Gard said. “He’s an all-state football player and a two-time state qualifier and place-winner in wrestling. I think sometimes people underestimate him a little bit, but they shouldn’t, that’s for sure.”

Rochester’s Alex Deming celebrates after pinning Warsaw’s Kameron Kauffman in 5:39 in the 215-pound final of the Penn regional Saturday. Deming, ranked No. 5 in the state per, won his third straight regional title and will face Merrillville senior Terrelle Elmore in the first round of the East Chicago semistate at 10 a.m. Eastern this Saturday. (photo provided by Paul Deming)

Brady Beck spent less than six minutes on the mat on his historic day. He turned South Bend St. Joe’s Jesus Rodriguez in 1:02 in the ticket round, dominated Culver Academy sophomore Job Mavrick in 1:55 to break the wins record and then pinned Popi in 2:55 in the final to improve to 40-0 on the season.

Three of the 40 wins have been against No. 5 Popi, but this was the first pin. He also beat him 3-2 at the Bob Read Super Duals on Dec. 2 and 5-1 in the sectional final at Plymouth on Jan. 27.

In practice during the week, coach Gard had Brady Beck went “back to the drawing board” as he prepared for another rematch with Popi.

“We worked a lot this week, and we worked with all of our kids on it, on just attacking lead leg and what we call shot recognition and knowing what’s there and take what’s there instead of trying to force to a specific position,” coach Gard said. “In the match with Popi back at sectional, Brady got kinda caught up shooting to the back leg and getting extended, and then he gets frustrated by that, and so we just worked a lot this week on making sure we were attacking the lead leg, no matter which leg it was. I think he just did a real good job of sticking with that game plan and just had some real good attacks on Popi. I think he also picked up his pace a little bit against Popi this week and just wrestled much, much better. Popi probably wasn’t expecting that.”

Declan Gard was engaged in a scoreless battle for position with South Bend St. Joe sophomore Ron Addo through one period in the ticket round before getting an escape and a takedown in the second period and getting a 3-0 lead. He later pinned Addo at the 5:10 mark.

The semifinal match against Mishawaka senior Keith Szajko was another defensive struggle before Gard got a takedown in overtime to win 3-1.

Gard then lost by fall to Hollyfield in 2:41 in the final.

Weiand clinched his spot at semistate by pinning South Bend Adams’ Micah Jacobs in 1:53. In his rematch with Mishawaka’s Trey Dunning in the semifinals, he trailed 1-0 in the second period before getting a takedown and near-fall to take a 5-1 lead.

Dunning would get within 6-4 in the third period after a takedown before Weiand would escape and then add another takedown and win 9-4. Weiand had pinned Dunning at the Bob Read Super Duals in their earlier meeting.

Weiand then lost to Penn’s Vincent Freeman 7-5 in the final, giving up three takedowns in the third period.

“It would have also helped if the official would have given us the back points that he earned in the first period,” coach Gard said. “That’s frustrating because he should have at least had two back points and didn’t. That could have helped us a little bit. But in the third period, you can’t give up three takedowns, and it’s the same three takedowns, and that’s just not going to work. He’s going to have to be able to defend that and hold off the aggression.”

Holloway dominated South Bend St. Joe’s Saul Delarosa in the ticket round, working him from the top position after an early takedown and near-fall and finally pinning him in 1:38. He then dropped a 5-3 decision to Mishawaka’s Brody Blevins, whom he had beaten at the Bob Read Super Duals in their earlier meeting, in the semifinals before bouncing back to beat Penn’s Aidan Diaz 5-2 in the third-place match.

Davis pinned LaVille’s Brock Gest in 50 seconds in the first round but might have had the most heartbreaking loss of any Rochester wrestler on the day against Penn’s Wesley Harper in the semifinals. He gave up a five-point throw in the first period and trailed 5-0, somehow avoided getting pinned and came all the way back to lead 8-6 before Harper executed a spladle and pinned him in 5:11.

“We all just felt, and I think Wyatt felt and our coaching felt, if you get one more takedown, this match is going to be over,” coach Gard said of Davis’ strategy. “I think that would have sealed the deal, and so, we took him down twice after we got off our backs, and we felt good about it. Wyatt just shot with his head down, which he is very prone to do, and Harper, he’s got a lot of experience and a lot of things he can do, and he caught him in a spladle. So no shame in that. We certainly had him on the ropes, and Wyatt wrestled a ton better this time. So there’s a lot of good things that came out of that for him, and I think that gave him some good confidence.”

Davis then finished his day by blanking Warsaw’s Danny Moon 9-0 in the third-place match.

Freshman Kale Shotts and senior Ethan Amezquita lost in the ticket round at 144 and 157, respectively.

Shotts got the first takedown against Penn’s Aiden Whitten but eventually lost 7-3.

Amezquita lost by fall to fellow senior Isaiah Rivas of South Bend Riley.


Dennis added his third-place finish at the regional to a runner-up showing at the Hoosier North and sectional tournaments.

He pinned South Bend Riley’s Brock Beshires in 2:36 in his ticket match before losing by fall to fellow senior Jake Petras of Penn in 1:53 in the semifinals.

He then pinned conference rival Jonah Skiles of LaVille in 56 seconds in the third-place match.

Those losing in the ticket round included Rian Shell (126), Asher Jones (132), Austin Attinger (144), Ryan Bedwell (150), D.J. Depke (157), Tearson Wolford (165), Talen Garner (175), Cooper Kopka (215) and Eli Matthews (HWT).


Senior Pete DuVall (190) lost in the ticket round, losing by fall to Mishawaka’s Dunning in 3:15 in the final match of his prep career.

Freshman Jackson Robbins (106) lost a 10-4 decision to Penn’s Aidan Diaz in the ticket round.

Penn wrestling regional results: Penn 221, Rochester 164, Mishawaka 127, Plymouth 120.5, Warsaw 68, South Bend Riley 33, Mishawaka Marian 19, LaVille 16, Bremen 14, Winamac 13, Culver Academy 13, South Bend Washington 8, Caston 0, North Judson 0, South Bend Adams 0, South Bend St. Joe 0, Triton 0


106 – Grant Holloway – third, 126 – Layne Horn – champion, 132 – D.J. Basham – champion, 144 – Kale Shotts – did not place, 150 – Wyatt Davis – Third, 157 – Ethan Amezquita – did not place, 165 – Brant Beck – champion, 175 – Declan Gard – second, 190 – Colin Weiand – second, 215 – Alex Deming – champion, HWT – Brady Beck – champion


126 – Rian Shell – did not place, 132 – Asher Jones – did not place, 138 – Willis Dennis – third, 144 – Austin Attinger – did not place, 150 – Ryan Bedwell – did not place, 157 – D.J. Depke – did not place, 165 – Tearson Wolford – did not place, 175 – Talen Garner – did not place, 190 – Cooper Kopka – did not place, HWT – Eli Matthews – did not place


106 – Jackson Robbins – did not place, 190 – Pete DuVall – did not place


106 – Alonzo Chantea (Plymouth), 113 – Brady Harper (Penn), 120 – Ryann Schmidtendorff (Penn), 126 – Layne Horn (Rochester), 132 – D.J. Basham (Rochester), 138 – Wesley Smith (Plymouth), 144 – Zar Walker (Mishawaka), 150 – Wesley Harper (Penn), 157 – Beau Brabender (Mishawaka), 165 – Brant Beck (Rochester), 175 – Zymarion Hollyfield (Penn), 190 – Vincent Freeman (Penn), 215 – Alex Deming (Rochester), HWT – Brady Beck (Rochester)


106 – Grant Holloway vs. Julian Deluna (Hanover Central)

126 – Layne Horn vs. Josh Chapman (John Glenn)

132 – D.J. Basham vs. Michael Turner (River Forest)

150 – Wyatt Davis vs. Carter Heriges (Harrison (West Lafayette))

165 – Brant Beck vs. Hunter Sopkowski (Highland)

175 – Declan Gard vs. Griffin Prickel (Frontier)

190 – Colin Weiand vs. Aiden Ziegler (New Prairie)

215 – Alex Deming vs. Terrelle Elmore (Merrillville)

HWT – Brady Beck vs. Raymond James (Merrillville)


138 – Willis Dennis vs. Luke Reid (Valparaiso)

Colin Weiand Wyatt Davis Declan Gard

Photos Provided by Paul Deming

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