By PEDRO VELAZCO
INDIANAPOLIS — Peru’s Evan Loe took fourth place in the 145-pound class in the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Loe moved up four spots from taking eighth a year ago in at 138 pounds.
In Friday's opening round, Loe had little trouble with West Central’s Parker Fritz. Loe scored a 9-3 victory.
“He’s obviously an experienced operator,” Peru coach Andy Hobbs said of Loe. “We knew this opponent and the next one, they’re very similar, they’re big, physical kids. That kind of changes style up a little bit and you have to go at it a certain way. He had to work hard, but his finishes are really good. he was able to finish about half his shots and keep the guy busy.”
“That kid was real strong,” Loe said. “When I got in on a leg, I finished. He’s real good at blocking off and he was a pretty good match.”
Loe opened Saturday with a 14-1 quarterfinal victory over Fishers’ Jordan Lile. In the semis, Loe dropped a 7-3 decision to Mishawaka’s Tommy Forte. Lake Central’s Jake Sebahar beat Loe 8-4 in the third-place match.
“My first match [Saturday] I wrestled really tough, probably the best I’ve wrestled all year,” Loe said.
A couple hours after his last match, Loe was grateful to his parents and coaches for their help, and had mixed emotions about the end of his season.
“I am [satisfied to improve on last year] but being a senior and losing the last match of my high school career hit me pretty hard.”
Loe closed the season with a 48-4 record.
Peru's other state qualifiers were eliminated in Friday's opening round.
Peru’s Kegan Kern lost 7-3 to McCutcheon’s Seth Carithers at 132 pounds. The Bengal Tiger senior finished the season 39-7.
Classmate Nick Cress (40-11) was pinned with one second left in the first period by New Palestine’s Brian Wagner at 195 pounds.
“They both had kids that were semistate champs, both wrestled really hard, wrestled some talented kids,” Hobbs said. “They were just kind of overmatched a little bit in certain situations. [Kern and Cress had] great careers. They’re going to leave their mark on the program, a real good one.”