Hammer wins regional, joins 5 other Valley wrestlers to semistate
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Tippecanoe Valley senior Brandon Hammer won the 182-pound title at the Penn regional Saturday and will join five teammates at the East Chicago semistate.
Hammer began his day with a first-period fall over South Bend Washington’s Xavier Stewart in his ticket match and then followed with a 22-12 win over Wawasee senior Tim Shortt and a 7-3 win over Plymouth junior Matt McCrum in the final.
The semistate berth is Hammer’s third and the regional title is his first. He was fourth at 160 at the 2020 regional and third at 182 in 2021.
Other Valley semistate qualifiers included Bazle Owens, who was second at 195; Galvin Shambaugh, who was third at 120; Drake Montelongo, who was third at 132; Dalton Alber, who was third at 220; and Barrett Heller, who lost his regional ticket match but advanced as an alternate.
Owens, a junior, won his ticket match when he pinned South Bend Riley’s Jeirmi Sclaes 16 seconds into the third period. He then beat LaVille’s Paul DeWitt 8-2 in the semifinals before losing 11-2 to Mishawaka’s Christian Chavez in the final.
Owens will carry a 34-4 record into his first-round semistate match against Wheeler’s Jake Serafin. He will be attempting to advance to state for the second straight year.
Shambaugh, the Plymouth sectional champion, earned his semistate spot with a fall in 1:46 over South Bend Adams’ Rajiya Weaver. He then lost by fall to Penn’s Jake Petras in the semifinals before bouncing back to beat Warsaw’s Elias Garza 4-0 in the third-place match.
Montelongo, a senior who is ranked No. 15 in the state, punched his semistate ticket with a first-period fall over Mishawaka Marian freshman Harryson Givens. He then lost to Penn’s Bryce Denton in the semifinals before recovering to beat Wawasee’s Logan Stuckman in a rematch of their sectional final.
Alber, a sophomore, will be going to the semistate for the first time. He pinned South Bend St. Joe senior Zack Kennedy in 3:53 in his ticket match before he lost by fall to LaVille freshman Jonathan Neese in the semifinals. He then pinned Warsaw’s Isaac Beam in 2:36 in his third-place match.
Alber drew Hammond Central’s Victor Rodriquez in his first-round semistate match. A potential matchup with top-ranked Christian Carroll of New Prairie would occur in the ticket round.
Heller lost by fall in 28 seconds to Penn’s Matteo Vargo in his ticket match but advanced because the fourth-place finisher, Wawasee’s Dylan Tom, will not compete at semistate.
Freshman Joseph Lybarger (113) and junior Zack Burke (HWT) did not advance. Lybarger lost to South Bend Adams’ Robert Poe by fall in 1:11 in his ticket match, and Burke lost to Mishawaka’s Zander Paden by fall in 27 seconds in his ticket match.
Valley scored 72 points and finished sixth out of 17 competing teams at the regional. Penn won with 214.5 points. Penn has won back-to-back regionals and 11 regionals in the last 12 years.
The semistate will start at 10 a.m. Eastern Saturday at East Chicago Central High School.
Landon Kuykendoll, a 145-pound junior, lost in 1:11 by fall in his ticket match against Penn’s Zymarion Hollyfield and was eliminated.
Kuykendoll was competing in his second career regional.
Penn wrestling regional results: Penn 214.5, Mishawaka 176.5, Wawasee 106.5, Plymouth 78, Warsaw 73, Valley 72, LaVille 34, South Bend Riley 28.5, South Bend St. Joe 9, South Bend Adams 8, Triton 8, Bremen 6, Culver 0, Culver Academy 0, Mishawaka Marian 0, South Bend Clay 0, South Bend Washington 0
Penn regional individual champions
106 – Kaleb Salazar (Wawasee), 113 – Dylan Bennett (Penn), 120 – Gunnar Sandefur (Mishawaka), 126 – Matteo Vargo (Penn), 132 – Zar Walker (Mishawaka), 138 – Wesley Harper (Penn), 145 – Zymarion Hollyfield (Penn), 152 – Keagen Mabie (Mishawaka), 160 – A.J. Steenbeke (Penn), 170 – Isaac Valdez (Mishawaka), 182 – Brandon Hammer (Valley), 195 – Christian Chavez (Mishawaka), 220 – Juan Grange (Penn), HWT – Anthony Popi (Plymouth)
Tippecanoe Valley individual results
113 – Joseph Lybarger – DNP, 120 – Galvin Shambaugh – third, 126 – Barrett Heller – DNP (advances as alternate), 132 – Drake Montelongo – third, 182 – Brandon Hammer – champion, 195 – Bazle Owens – second, 220 – Dalton Alber – third, HWT – Zack Burke – DNP
Culver individual results
145 – Landon Kuykendoll – DNP
Tippecanoe Valley semistate qualifiers and first-round semistate matchups
120 – Galvin Shambaugh vs. Daniel Mata (Hobart)
126 – Barrett Heller vs. David Maldonado (Merrillville)
132 – Drake Montelongo vs. Hayden Fritz (West Central)
182 – Brandon Hammer vs. Jacob Stepek (Hammond Morton)
195 – Bazle Owens vs. Jake Serafin (Wheeler)
220 – Dalton Alber vs. Victor Rodriquez (Hammond Central)
Dalton Alber Brandon Hammer