- Val T.
Rochester wins back-to-back wrestling regionals, sends 10 to semistate
Horn, Deming, Brady Beck maintain unbeaten seasons; Swango also wins at 126
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
PERU — At one point during the wrestling regional at Tig-Arena Saturday, there were Rochester wrestlers grappling on all three mats.
It might have been the day in a nutshell: The Rochester wrestling team is always there and cannot be avoided.
The Zebras won their second consecutive regional title at Peru Saturday, scoring 176.5 points to top an 18-team field. In the process, they qualified 10 individuals for the semistate, a new school record.
Four of the 10 semistate qualifiers won their weight class, including freshman Layne Horn (106), senior Aaron Swango (126), junior Alex Deming (195) and junior Brady Beck (220).
Ethan Holloway (120), Greyson Gard (152), Brant Beck (160) and Gavin McKee (182) finished second and advanced.
“Obviously, four (regional champions) is great, but we thought maybe we could get a couple more,” Rochester coach Clint Gard said. “But we’ll take our four, and it was a good day.”
Third-place finishers included Colin Weiand (170) and Carlos Orduňo (HWT).
The top four in each weight class advanced to semistate, which will be held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne at 8 a.m. this Saturday.
Western was second with 117 points.
Rochester won their first regional title last year. They won the 13th sectional title in school history on Jan. 28. Now they seek their second consecutive semistate title.
Horn is a freshman. Swango, Deming and Brady Beck repeated their regional titles from last year. Brady Beck won his third straight regional.
There were 34 wrestlers in the state who are currently unbeaten through regionals, according to IndianaMat.com. Horn (36-0), Deming (39-0) and Brady Beck (38-0) are three of them.
Horn did not yield a point in his three matches, which he capped with a 12-0 win over Manchester’s Rex Moore in the final. Horn also beat Moore in the Three Rivers Conference and sectional finals.
“I’ve been challenging Layne in practice a little bit, and I got on him (Saturday) at the tournament,” Gard said. “I feel like he’s been holding back. He’s got more wrestling to give. Not holding back in his effort but in what he’s able to do. I challenged him to rise to the occasion a little bit and show what he’s able to do. He did a good job. I like the way he wrestled this week. Much more aggressive. He tends to get in a rut where he likes to rely on just a few things. He knows a lot of wrestling. He’s got a ton of mat time and mat experience, so I just challenged him to use that and start opening up a little bit more, and he did a good job.”
Swango started with a technical fall over Marion’s Nathaniel Beck before pinning North Miami’s Spencer Flood in the semifinals and beating Maconaquah’s Alex Ousley 9-1 in the final.
Deming won a 10-7 decision over Kokomo’s Chad Washburn in a rematch of last year’s regional final, which Deming won in overtime. Washburn, a junior, was the 2021 regional champ at 195.
Gard credited Deming’s conditioning for the win over Washburn.
“I thought he wrestled well,” Gard said of Deming. “He was a little hesitant, I think, at first. Washburn got the first takedown there, and I felt like that put Alex on his heels a little bit, and there was a break – I think it was blood or something – and I got on him a little bit and just challenged him. He just kept pushing the pace on him, and we have a much better gas tank on him than Washburn does. … Once we got him tired, we were able to just roll it on him a little bit.”
Brady Beck needed only 3:39 of mat time to record three falls and claim the title. He capped his day with a pin in 1:32 over Wabash’s Elias Cressell in the final. In addition to being undefeated, Brady Beck has not allowed a takedown since December.
“He’s better on his feet than what he was a year ago, and obviously, he was pretty good on his feet then,” coach Gard said of Brady Beck, who finished sixth in the state last year at 220. “He’s better on his feet. His defense is better. His mat wrestling is really, really improved, and I would say that’s probably more than anything. … He really hand-fights well. He knows what he likes to do, and he sticks to do those positions. … His mat awareness and his positioning is way better than what it was as a sophomore.”
Holloway, Gard, Brant Beck and McKee lost to familiar, formidable rivals. Holloway won by two first-period falls to reach the final before a 10-1 loss to Western’s Tanner Tishner. Holloway is 36-2 on the season with both losses to Tishner.
Greyson Gard won his first two matches before losing to Western’s Mitchell Betz in the final on a fall with 23 seconds left in the match. He is 33-3 with two of his losses to Betz.
Brant Beck, a freshman, lost a 6-5 decision to Maconaquah senior Logan Farnell in the final in their third meeting in as many weeks. Farnell had beaten Beck 10-6 in the TRC final on Jan. 21 before Beck edged Farnell 8-6 in the sectional final at Peru one week later.
McKee ensured himself his first career trip to semistate with a fall in 1:23 over Western’s Brody Burns in the first round. He then beat Oak Hill’s R.J. Treviňo 6-3 to reach the final before losing by fall in 3:49 to Maconaquah’s Austin Ringeisen in the final. McKee is 10-4 with three of his losses to Ringeisen.
“Gavin just really made a really big mistake wrestling-wise, trying to step over and throw a leg in when he was really just in a bad position to do that,” coach Gard explained. “It wasn’t a smart effort on his part and obviously just put himself in a really bad spot, and the Maconaquah kid just capitalized on it. I thought Gavin was wrestling pretty well. We took him down first, and we weren’t wrestling poorly. We just made a big mistake.”
Weiand, a junior, and Orduňo, a senior, join Horn, Brant Beck and McKee as first-time semistate qualifiers. Weiand had perhaps the most thrilling first-round match of the day when he edged Oak Hill’s Evan Miller 4-3 on a takedown with less than 20 seconds left in the match to keep his season going.
“Honestly, it was a 50-50 match,” Weiand said. “I went out there and just tried to stick with my own stuff. I really like my underhooks and to just dig a win and keep working. He eventually got a stalling call, which really helped me out. … He tried to throw a headlock, and I knew. I watched him on film a couple times, and he throws two or three headlocks in each match, so I knew it was coming, but I jacked it up. So I just stuck to it a little bit and circled around the backside and that was huge. Really exciting.”
Weiand credits assistant coaches Bryce Roberts and Tristan Wilson for getting him involved in wrestling. He said he wrestled when he was younger but then stopped and focused on baseball and other sports. Roberts got him to try it again as an eighth-grader. He said he fell in love with the sport again. He said his goal is to make it to state.
“I went to Wabash (College) camp and a couple other ones,” Weiand said of his offseason preparation for this season. “And a lot of time in the weight room and on the mat. The more mat time, the better.”
Looking ahead to semistate
The brackets for the Fort Wayne semistate were released Sunday. Among the possibilitites:
Horn could face Delta sophomore Ayden Bollinger in the semifinals. Bollinger, like Horn, is undefeated.
Holloway could face Delta junior Neal Mosier in the ticket round. Mosier beat Holloway in last year’s ticket round at 113. Mosier is 35-0 on the season.
Swango drew another TRC wrestler in Whitko’s Jonathan Courter. A ticket round matchup with Jay County junior Cody Rowles, who lost his first match of the season at the regional, is possible.
Greyson Gard is ranked No. 2 at 152 among wrestlers at the Fort Wayne semistate. Belmont sophomore Gavin Davis is No. 3. They could meet in the ticket round.
Brant Beck could face Garrett’s Chase Leech in the ticket round. Leech is ranked No. 4 in the state, and Brant Beck is No. 10.
Weiand could face Columbia City’s Tanner Reed in the ticket round. Reed is ranked No. 9.
If McKee beats Fort Wayne Dwenger’s Lukas Alderdice in the first round, he could face NorthWood’s Kaden Lone in the ticket round. Lone was seventh at last year’s state finals at 160.
A rematch of Deming’s sudden victory thriller over Concord’s Armen Koltookian from the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational would occur in the semifinals. Koltookian beat Deming at last year’s semistate.
Brady Beck could face Fort Wayne Concordia’s Chance Harris in the ticket round. Brady Beck beat Harris twice last year, including in the consolation round at the state finals.
Orduňo drew Heritage’s Parker Hennessey and could potentially face Elkhart’s Brayden Jellison in the ticket round. Jellison (No. 8) and Muncie Central’s Titus Waters (No. 7) are two potential obstacles prior to the final.
“I like our guys’ chances coming up this week,” coach Gard said. “I haven’t talked to the kids yet, but I know as a coaching staff we’re excited. There are some matches we’re going to see that are going to be some rematches or guys that we’ve wrestled before that maybe have beat us or we beat them over the summer. It will give us a chance to get some of those matches back. We’re looking at it as a really good opportunity for those guys. We think we’ve got 10 guys who can really perform well. They’ve wrestled better every week so far this postseason. You start at conference and work your way to now, and our guys are wrestling really well.
“We’re rolling. Do what we can do, and look forward to some of those matchups.”
Peru wrestling regional results: Rochester 176.5, Western 117, Maconaquah 116m Kokomo 79, Peru 63, North Miami 58, Manchester 44, Oak Hill 36, Madison-Grant 31, Wabash 29, Eastern (Greentown) 22, Lewis Cass 12.5, Marion 11, Northwestern 7, Eastbrook 0, Mississinewa 0, Northfield 0, Taylor 0, Tri-Central 0
106 – Layne Horn – champion
def. McVicker (MISS), fall, 0:46
def. Korreckt (NM), 6-0
def. Moore (MAN), 12-0
120 – Ethan Holloway – second
def. Ford (KOK), fall, 0:30
def. Gibson (PERU), fall, 1:45
lost to Tishner (WEST), 10-1
126 – Aaron Swango – champion
def. Beck (MAR), 16-1, tech fall, 5:24
def. Flood (NM), fall, 3:01
def. Ousley (MAC), 9-1
132 – Joey Spencer – did not place
lost to Linser (WEST), fall, 1:22
138 – D.J. Basham – did not place
lost to Kendall (OH), fall, 2:30
152 – Greyson Gard – second
def. Conner (KOK), fall, 3:55
def. Lawrence (OH), 8-0
lost to Betz (WEST), fall, 5:37
160 – Brant Beck – second
def. Smithley (MAR), fall, 3:23
def. Warnock (OH), 10-3
lost to L. Farnell (MAC), 6-5
170 – Colin Weiand – third
def. Miller (OH), 4-3
lost to E. Farnell (MAC), fall, 0:30
def. France (MAN), 5-3 (SV)
182 – Gavin McKee – second
def. Burns (WEST), fall, 1:23
def. Treviňo (OH), 6-3
lost to Ringeisen (MAC), fall, 3:49
195 – Alex Deming – champion
def. McCoy (MISS), fall, 0:42
def. Norman (WEST), 7-3
def. Washburn (KOK), 10-7
220 – Brady Beck – champion
def. Hale (T-C), fall, 1:22
def. Ousley (PERU), fall, 0:45
def. Cressell (WAB), fall, 1:32
HWT – Carlos Orduňo – third
def. Kinney (T-C), fall, 2:43
lost to Wright (EAST), 3-1
def. Montgomery (MAC), injury default
Peru regional champions
106 – Layne Horn (Rochester), 113 – Jalen May (Kokomo), 120 – Tanner Tishner (Western), 126 – Aaron Swango (Rochester), 132 – Tye Linser (Western), 138 – Cooper Baldwin (Peru), 145 – Wyatt Price (Maconaquah), 152 – Mitchell Betz (Western), 160 – Logan Farnell (Maconaquah), 170 – Jaquan East (Kokomo), 182 – Austin Ringeisen (Maconaquah), 195 – Alex Deming (Rochester), 220 – Brady Beck (Rochester), HWT – Tyler Wright (Eastern (Greentown)) Rochester semistate first-round matchups
106 – Layne Horn vs. Quentin Keen (Winchester)
120 – Ethan Holloway vs. Timmy Rocha (New Haven)
126 – Aaron Swango vs. Jonathan Courter (Whitko)
152 – Greyson Gard vs. Elijah Knepper (Dekalb)
160 – Brant Beck vs. Reazon Davenport (Daleville)
170 – Colin Weiand vs. Dominic Dunn (Dekalb)
182 – Gavin McKee vs. Lukas Alderdice (Fort Wayne Dwenger)
195 – Alex Deming vs. Noah Owsley (Lakeland)
220 – Brady Beck vs. Luke Powers (Wes-Del)
HWT – Carlos Orduňo vs. Parker Hennessey (Heritage)