“The biggest thing I liked is they’re having fun,” Western coach Chad Shepherd said. “They’re loose, they’re not uptight, they’re working. A lot of times you have a big weekend like we had, you can have a letdown and I haven’t really noticed any letdown.
“I think mentally we’re in a pretty good place right now, and that’s really big, because if you’re mentally good, you’re going to work hard, you’re going to prepare. Bottom line: Saturday rolls around, you’ve got to get on the mat and compete. I think we’re putting our feet in the right direction.”
Western’s haul to the regional is highlighted by four sectional champs: Caleb Maddox (113 pounds); Ben Lenahan (160); Corey Hinkle (182); and Russell McDorman (195). With all but one weight class represented, Western’s practices this week are very similar to the week leading up to the sectional.
“You cut the room in half a lot of times as the guys start dwindling down [in the state tournament],” Shepherd said. “It creates a different atmosphere. We don’t have that this week. The guys seem pretty loose, they’re having a good time. I think they’re proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Peru’s baker’s dozen includes sectional champs Kegan Kern (126), Peyton Sturgill (132), Evan Loe (138), Braxton Simpson (152), and Kaleb Hammersley (160).
Kokomo takes eight wrestlers to Peru, including an impressive six sectional champs: Andrew Ledford (120); Scotty Barbary (126); Christian Hall (132); Chad Gaddis (152); Keair Ross (170); and unbeaten Fletcher Miller (220). Miller is 40-0. The only other unbeaten at Peru is Eastbrook 145-pounder Donovan Elliott, who is 15-0.
“You look at eight guys wrestling Saturday and I think we’ve got a good chance for eight guys to advance,” Wells said. “With six champs coming into it you get a good draw, [a No. 4 finisher from the other sectional]. We expect all those guys to win their first match, and be in the finals again.”