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  • Val T.

The holdovers: Rochester to host girls wrestling semistate, boys team state duals

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


Rochester wrestlers prepare the RHS gym for the girls semistate today and the boys Class 1A team state duals Saturday following the Whitko-Rochester boys basketball game Thursday. It is believed that the auxiliary gym will be used as a warm-up gym. Admission is $10 for the girls semistate and $15 for the boys duals.


Rochester freshman wrestlers Rilyn Strasser, left, and Lexi Haughs show off a shirt listing Lady Z wrestlers that qualified for today’s semistate. Strasser finished third at 110 at the Western regional Saturday, and Haughs was second at 140.

As wrestling schools go, Rochester is where it’s at this weekend. Or more appropriately, where it’s mat.

The Rochester High School gym will host the girls wrestling semistate beginning at 11 a.m. today and the Class 1A boys wrestling team state duals at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Neither event is under IHSAA auspices. The IHSAA has declared girls wrestling an “emerging sport,” but an organization called Indiana High School Girls Wrestling still runs the state tournament.

The Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association runs the team state duals. The IHSAA does not acknowledge classes in wrestling, and the state tournament, which begins with sectionals statewide on Jan. 27, is a series of events in which an individual advances through a bracket.

Girls

Of the nine girls on the Rochester wrestling team, eight advanced from the regional at Western Saturday and will wrestle on their home mats.

Those who did advance include regional champions Laine Peppler at 145 and Grace Hiroms at 155. The other semistate qualifiers included Kyra Doran, who was second at 120; Lexi Haughs, who was second at 140; Rilyn Strasser, who was third at 110; Makenna McKee, who was third at 125; Amber Blackburn, who was third at 130; and Lakodah Clevenger, who was fourth at 135.

The only one not to advance was sophomore Lilly Gerald, a top-five wrestler at 105 who suffered a season-ending elbow injury at a tournament at Rensselaer the weekend before Christmas.

Rochester scored 139 points to win the regional, which consisted of 22 teams. Host Western was second with 111.

Caston was 10th with 31 points. Lillian Wilburn will represent Caston at the semistate after she finished third at 115.

The other semistate in the northern half of the state will occur at Penn today. Eriahna Vela, a 125-pound senior from Culver, finished second at last week’s Mishawaka regional and will wrestle at Penn.

Wrestling starts at 11 a.m. Admission is $10. All-sport passes and employee badges will not be honored.

Kokomo will host the girls state finals at 11 a.m. Jan. 12.

Boys

Rochester won the Rensselaer team duals Dec. 21-22. They went 7-1 in eight dual matches but won the head-to-head tiebreaker over Rensselaer, who also went 7-1, by beating Rensselaer head to head 39-34.

Rochester also beat Knox, Highland, South Dearborn, Kokomo, Frankfort and Southport.

Their only loss was a 42-39 loss to West Central in their fifth match.

Adams Central will be the No. 1 seed, West Central is No. 2, Rochester is No. 3, and Tell City is No. 4. The top four seeds receive byes in the 12-team event.

Rochester will face the winner of the dual between Faith Christian and Prairie Heights. A potential rematch with West Central could occur in the semifinals.

Rochester finished second at team state duals in 2022 and third last year. Both times, they lost to Tell City.

Layne Horn (126), Brant Beck (165), Alex Deming (215) and Brady Beck (HWT) maintain undefeated season records.

Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $15, cash only. All-sport passes and employee badges will not be honored.


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