Wrestlers qualify seven for State Finals

Team wins Semistate title at New Castle

Senior Zeke Seltzer, left, competes in the Semistate at New Castle on Feb. 12. He and six fellow team members will wrestle in the State Finals on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19.

Jonas Hollis

Senior Zeke Seltzer, left, competes in the Semistate at New Castle on Feb. 12. He and six fellow team members will wrestle in the State Finals on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19.

The wrestling team took 13 wrestlers to the Semistate on Feb. 12 at New Castle. After an impressive performance, they will send seven of those 13 to Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 to compete in the State meet.

The seven wrestlers who advanced included a mix of upper and underclassmen. Seniors Zeke Seltzer, Evan Dickey, J.J. Braun and Luke Gonzalez all moved on along with junior Aden Reyes and sophomores Jackson Weingart and Hosia Smith. 

The first of four rounds of the meet will take place on Feb. 18, when the 152 to 285 pound weight classes will compete at 11 a.m. The 106 to 145 pound weight classes will wrestle that same day starting at 4 p.m. The next three rounds will take place on Feb. 19.

Seltzer, a defending State champion who is 39-1 on the season and who is ranked first in the 132-pound class, will wrestle unranked Elijah Brooks (9-6) of Whiteland Community in his first round.

Dickey (27-1), who is ranked second, will face Number-17 Dylan Bennett (26-9) of Penn in the 113-pound class.

Twelfh-ranked Braun (35-7) will face Number-2 Codie Khawaja of Floyd Central in the 170-pound class. Gonzalez (32-7) is ranked 12th in the 138-pound class and will wrestle Number-11 Dillon Tuttle (33-6) from Delta.

Reyes (31-9) is ranked 10th in the 120-pound class and will face Chesterton’s fifth-ranked Hayden DeMarco (42-1).

Weingart (28-11) comes into the meet unranked and will face Number-19 Julante Hinton (36-6) of Fort Wayne Northrop in the 220-pound weight class.

Finally, the 11th-ranked Smith (29-7) will wrestle unranked junior Josh Clark (24-10) from New Haven. 

Head Coach Mr. Sean McGinley ‘88 is no stranger to the big stage, having coached teams to State championships in 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, this year, he will be coaching a somewhat inexperienced team. Seltzer and Dickey are the only remaining wrestlers with State meet experience, with seven combined State appearances between them, according to McGinley. He said, “Some of those other teams were loaded with qualifiers that had been there several times as well as much more senior groups.” 

Though this may not be his most experienced team, McGinley said he believes that behind the leadership of Seltzer and Dickey, they will be just fine. He said, “You lean on your guys that have been there before. It’ll help the other guys out and get them ready.”

Leading up to the meet, McGinley said he plans to shorten the practices a little but increase the intensity by simulating live matches during practice. He said, “We want to make the kids are well rested so they’ll be able to compete their best on the weekend.” 

The team is prepared for some tough matchups in order to be victorious at State. McGinley said, “Indiana has two teams that are ranked Top 10 in the country. Crown Point’s bringing 11 kids and Brownsburg’s bringing nine. So it’ll be a tall order, but we can only worry about ourselves. We’ll place as high as we can get and see where we stand at the end.”

McGinley believes that overall, the team will be well prepared and compete well in the State meet. He said, “Our guys have wrestled this quality of kids all season, so I think we’ll be ready to go.”

The State-bound wrestlers will be introduced at the Black History Month assembly on Feb. 17.