Valley’s Montelongo, Hammer, Owens eliminated in ticket round
No area wrestlers qualify for state from East Chicago semistate
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
None of the 12 RTC area participants advanced to the state finals from the East Chicago Central semistate at the John A. Baratto Center Saturday.
Tippecanoe Valley scored 9.5 points and finished in 25th place. Winamac’s five wrestlers and Pioneer’s two wrestlers did not score.
Crown Point scored 253 points to win the semistate. Crown Point had 11 state qualifiers, including seven semistate champions.
Drake Montelongo (132), Brandon Hammer (182) and Bazle Owens (195) each won their first-round match but lost in the ticket round.
Montelongo pinned West Central’s Hayden Fritz in 2:31 but eventually lost by fall in 1:25 to eventual semistate champion Anthony Bahl from Crown Point in 1:25.
Montelongo, a Lindsey Wilson College recruit, finished his senior season 36-5. He was a three-time sectional champion and three-time semistate qualifier in his career.
Hammer won by technical fall over Hammond Morton’s Jacob Stepek in the first round, winning 19-4 in 3:22. He then lost to Lake Central’s Jake Sues 4-2 in overtime in his ticket match.
Hammer finished his prep career as a three-time semistate qualifier.
Owens, a state qualifier in 2021 and a sectional champion this year, started his day with a 5-3 win over Wheeler’s Jake Serafin, but he lost to third-ranked and undefeated Connor Barket from West Lafayette by technical fall (17-1) in 5:37 in the ticket round.
Galvin Shambaugh (120), Barrett Heller (126) and Dalton Alber (220) all lost in the first round.
Shambaugh lost 2-0 to Hobart freshman Daniel Mata. Heller lost by fall in 41 seconds to Merrillville’s David Maldonado. Alber dropped a 5-2 decision to Hammond Central’s Victor Rodriquez.
The Warriors qualified five wrestlers for semistate. All lost in the first round.
Austin Attinger (113), a freshman, lost his first career semistate match by fall in 1:50 to Merrillville’s Matthew Maldonado.
Shaun Pratt (120) ran into fifth-ranked Hayden DeMarco of Chesterton and lost by fall in 1:22. A senior, Pratt finished his prep career with two semistate appearances.
Phillip Crippin (152) lost in 10-5 to LaPorte’s Noah Salary in the first round. Crippin, a senior, was participating in his first career semistate.
Senior Caleb Good (170) lost 8-6 to Warsaw’s Jaxson Cooper Walters in the first round. A Hoosier North and sectional champion, Good was competing in his first semistate.
Dakota Smith (195) faced Hobart’s Justin Sawyer in a battle of seniors and lost 7-1.
“We had some good matchups and scored points in the matches,” Winamac coach Kullen Day said in an emailed statement. “Many of the matches were close going into the final period. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of young men. I believe the last time we took this many to semistate was over 20 years ago. This is a great step in the right direction for the program.”
Both of Pioneer’s semistate qualifiers were eliminated in the first round.
Peyton Schnurpel (170) lost by fall in 3:17 to Wawasee’s Cameron Zimmerman. Schnurpel, who was making his first career semistate appearance, had his season end at 22-8.
Meanwhile, Logan Smith’s (182) senior season ended with a 23-3 record. Smith lost 12-5 to Crown Point’s second-ranked Orlando Cruz in the first round. Cruz went on to win the semistate.
Smith was making his first semistate appearance. He was the Hoosier North and Twin Lakes sectional champ this year and was undefeated until the regional.