BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Bazle Owens qualified for the IHSAA state wrestling finals at 195 pounds after finishing fourth at the East Chicago semistate Saturday.
Owens joins Isaac Yoder as just the second wrestler in Valley history to qualify for state.
Owens drew Indianapolis Lutheran’s Hayden Filipovich for his first-round match at state. Owens and Filipovich will wrestle in the second session at the IHSAA state finals, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday. That session will cover all wrestlers between 152 and 285 pounds.
The first session, which covers all wrestlers between 106 and 145, starts at 11 a.m. Friday.
Owens had reached semistate by finishing second at the Plymouth sectional and fourth at the Penn regional.
In his first round match at semistate, Owens defeated Hobart sophomore Justin Sawyer 4-2. Sawyer had won the Hobart regional the week before.
Then, in his semistate ticket match, Owens beat Lafayette Jeff’s Daeveon Cheeks 9-5 to secure his state spot.
Owens then lost his semifinal match to Culver Academy’s Eli Pack by fall in 2:49. He then lost the third-place match to Chesterton’s Gage DeMarco by technical fall in 3:41. DeMarco was leading the match 21-6 when it was stopped.
Filipovich won all four of his matches at the New Castle semistate by fall to improve to 40-0. He is ranked No. 2 in the state behind Pack. Only one of his four semistate matches even reached the second period.
Filipovich finished eighth at 182 last year. He was the first wrestler from his school to ever qualify for the state finals.
Other Valley wrestlers
Two other Valley wrestlers competed at semistate.
Galvin Shambaugh, wrestling in his first semistate, lost in the first round at 106 to LaPorte’s Ashton Jackson by fall in 3:07. Jackson would go on to win the semistate title.
Junior Brandon Hammer, the Three Rivers Conference and sectional champion at 182, lost his first-round match to Twin Lakes’ Dalian Reece by fall in 23 seconds.
Branson McBrier did not compete at 152 pounds due to coronavirus-related contact tracing.
Valley scored eight points and finished in 26th place out of 55 teams that had at least one wrestle participate.
Chesterton won the semistate with 197.5 points.
Winamac senior Isaiah Wilson’s prep career ended with a loss to Kankakee Valley’s Aiden Sneed in 3:00 in his first-round match at 170.
Wilson was competing at his first semistate.