Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

February 1, 2013

Semistate berth on the line for regional wrestlers

There will be no winning team Saturday at the Peru Wrestling Regional. Coaches may keep track of team points, but it’s an individual tourney from here on. Team accomplishments will be measured in raw numbers: How many wrestlers survived? How many advanced?

The top four wrestlers in each weight class live on to next week’s Fort Wayne Semistate. With eight wrestlers entered at each weight, the pressure hits instantly, in the first match. Winning a championship is important. Winning a semifinal is important. But the most urgent matter is that first match. Lose the opening round, and you’re eliminated from the march to state. The winners ensure a path to Fort Wayne, and start thinking about getting as good a result as possible from the regional so as to have the best draw at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

“It’s do or die,” Kokomo coach Ryan Wells said. “You win and move on, or you lose and go home and that’s some serious pressure. That’s why we do this. That’s why we train. You feel that pressure, but at the same time, they’ve been trained to go out and they’ve been trained to wrestle well and win. Let your training take over and if you can do that, good things are going to happen.”

Focus has to be razor sharp from the very start of action at 9 a.m. in the Bengal Tiger gym.

“Definitely the kids know it,” Eastern coach Bob Jarrett said. “Every kid that’s going up there knows that he’s got to win, or he’s going home.”

The Peru regional brings together the top four wrestlers per weight from last week’s Oak Hill Sectional, and the top four from the Peru Sectional. The two sectional champion teams have big contingents. Western won the Oak Hill Sectional and Peru won its sectional. Each has 13 wrestlers entered in Saturday’s action.

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