FORT WAYNE — Two Kokomo area wrestlers are going back to the IHSAA State Finals and two others will be making their first trips.
Western senior Dylan Goudy placed second at 138 pounds Saturday at the Fort Wayne Semistate and earned the right to return to the state meet. The first round is Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Goudy will be joined by two Panther teammates — classmate and three-time state qualifier Hunter Cottingham (third at 132) and freshman Hayden Shepherd (fourth at 126).
Eastern sophomore Bryce Buckley (fourth at 170) will represent the Comets at state. He became the program’s third 10th grader to do that following Chad Barrett and Evan Ellis.
Goudy earned an 8-0 major decision against Homestead junior Griffin Porter in the first round then scored four points in the last six seconds for a 8-7 win against Prairie Heights junior Nick Buchanan in the second round — aka “ticket” round. It takes two semistate wins for wrestlers to have their tickets stamped to the State Finals. The top four finishers in each weight class advance.
After an 8-1 semifinal win against Central Noble senior Tanner Schoeff, Goudy was pinned in 4:29 by Jimtown senior Conner Gimson in the finals.
“This is a big improvement for me and I’m real proud of myself and proud of Hunter and Hayden also,” said Goudy. “The middle of the third period [in the ticket round], I knew I had to do something. I was getting my butt kicked for about five minutes there. I kept the pace up and pulled it out at the end.”
Goudy scored a late takedown in the 2018 semistate ticket round and pulled out an overtime win in the decisive match at the 2019 Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Duals in Fort Wayne.
“I have that clutch gene, I guess,” said Goudy.
Cottingham was a 7-4 winner against East Noble senior Adam Ledesma in the first round then pinned Delta freshman Dillon Tuttle in 1:14 in the ticket round before losing 3-0 to Jimtown senior Matt Gimson in the semifinals and besting Fort Wayne Carroll senior Owen Krider 7-4 in the third-place match.
“It’s not where I wanted to finish by any means, but I wrestled a pretty good match in the semifinal round,” said Cottingham. “I’ve wrestled [Gimson] before. That’s the best I’ve wrestled against him so far.”
Shepherd edged Norwell junior Tonner Johnson 4-3 in the first round, topped West Noble junior Kyler Brown 12-4 in the ticket round then lost 5-3 to Yorktown senior Hayden Curtis and 5-3 to Leo sophomore Ian Heath. Curtis is a two-time defending state champion.
“I wrestled real good on my feet,” said Shepherd of his semistate day. “On the bottom, except for that last match, I did pretty good.”
Shepherd did what he could to not let the pressure to win his first two matches pile up on him.
“I just try to stay calm,” said Shepherd. “I try to focus on one match at a time and get the job done.”
All three advancing Western wrestlers were Peru Regional champions a week ago.
“You can’t say enough about Dylan and his work ethic and his attitude,” said Panthers coach Chad Shepherd of Goudy. “He just doesn’t stop wrestling. The [second-round win] was heart and the will to win.
“That was Dylan’s second loss to Gimson this year. We’re pretty familiar with him. We wrestled him better [Saturday] than we did the first time.”
The coach will get to coach his son at the state tournament next week after his semistate performance.
“Hayden knew he got a pretty good draw,” said Chad Shepherd of his son. That’s what happens when you win regional, you tend to get better [semistate] draws. He had a good day.”
Buckley pinned NorthWood junior Jaden Miller in 3:01 and Norwell junior Sam Walker in 1:27 to get his two state-qualifying wins then lost by 16-1 technical decision to Rochester senior Zane Gilbreath in the semifinals and was pinned in 3:58 by Manchester senior Delton Moore in the consolation match.
“I just didn’t give up and never quit,” said Buckley. “You’ve got to be mentally prepared to do it over and over again.
“I listen to music, walk around and just get focused in. I don’t try to get mad. In my opinion, that’s not a good way to wrestle a match.”
Three of the four 170-pound state qualifiers — Gilbreath, Moore and Buckley — came through the Peru Regional.
Thirty area wrestlers took part Saturday.
Western senior Luke Lechner (170) and sophomore Justin Brantley (113) went out in the second round and sophomore Anthony Martin (106) and junior Chandler Ciscell (120) lost in the first round for Western.
Seven other Eastern wrestlers competed. Sophomore Tallan Morrisett (132), senior Macaiah White (138), junior Tytus Morrisett (145), freshman Brodie Porter (152) and senior Garrett Hetzner (182) lost in the second round and freshman Bradie Porter (120) and senior Isaac Maurer (160) bowed out in the first round.
Kokomo sophomore Harvey Barr (106) lost in the second round and freshman Nate Conner (113) and seniors Zane Hall (145) and Austin Johnson (152) were downed in the first round.
All four Maconaquah wrestlers — junior Blake Kinney (106), senior Zack Bullock (138), junior Aaron McKinley (145) and senior Adam Bowman (285) — lost in the second round.
For Peru, Cole Sailors (113), Tori Forrest (138), Zian Constable (160) and Zion Ryan (195) each lost in the opening round.
Cass' Cade Cox (132), Alex Myers (152) and Cayl Garland (182) each dropped opening-round matches.