IHSAA New Haven Semistate champions Ian Heath (Leo H.S.) and Elijah Chacon (New Haven H.S.) will lead a contingent of nine Fort Wayne/Allen Country wrestlers at the 82nd annual IHSAA State Championships at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Friday and Saturday.
Heath, an LHS junior, defeated Snider H.S. junior Reakus Shelton 8-1 for the 132-pound semistate championship. Chacon, an NHHS junior, edged Western H.S. sophomore 8-7 for the title at 138 pounds.
Carroll H.S. leads school qualifiers among Summit City Sports teams with three – Evan Ulrick (145 pounds), Matt Lepper (195 pounds) and Reeve Muncie (285 pounds).
Heath is making his third appearance in the state championship after finishing fifth in 2019.
“I remember the first time on the floor at Bankers Life as a freshman and all the people in the stands, the lights,” Heath recalled. Having been to state two consecutive years is an advantage in Heath’s view.
“There is a wow factor the first time, so I feel like I know what that is like and now can focus on my plan and what I need to do to win,” the Lions’ junior observed.
Heath said winning the semistate felt great after his fourth win this season over Shelton. Heath won the first three meetings 3-1, 3-1 and 1-0, so winning the title wasn’t a given.
“Especially when you consider Shelton defeated Western H.S. senior Hunter Cottingham, who has the only win over Heath this season. “Shelton’s win in the semifinals sent me a message that I had to be focused and ready to wrestle my best.”
“I just have to do the same at state, one match at a time,” Heath added.
Now 40-1, Heath opens on Friday against Isaiah Ponce, Lake Central H.S. Heath and Shelton could collide for the fifth time this season if both advance to the state championship match.
Shelton is one of two Snider state qualifiers. SHS senior Beau Humphrey will wrestle Ray Rioux (Avon H.S.) on Friday night. Shelton faces Brad Conrad (Portage H.S.)
CHS junior Evan Ulrick, semistate runner-up at 145, tangles with Merrillville senior Jacob Maldonado. Junior Matt Lepper won his semistate consolation match 5-3 to finish third and will face JD Farrell, a Fishers H.S. senior, who is 38-2. Semistate runner-up at 285 Reeve Muncie squares off against Andres Larios (Hammond Clark H.S.).
New Haven senior Tristen Martz, runnerup at semistate at 220 pounds, tackles South Spencer senior Will Stewart, who is 41-4. Bishop Dwenger H.S. junior Eli Hilger will clash with 39-0 Logan Boe in the 152-pound weight class after he finished fourth at the semistate.
Fort Wayne area IHSAA State Championships Qualifiers
126 Round 1
Ray Rioux (12), Avon 38-1 vs Beau Humphrey (12), Fort Wayne Snider 27-4, SS-4th
132 Round 1
Ian Heath (11), Leo 40-1, SS-CHAMP vs Isaiah Ponce (11), Lake Central 30-12
132 Round 1
Brad Conrad (11), Portage 33-7 vs Reakus Shelton (11), Fort Wayne Snider 33-7, SS-2nd
138 Round 1
Elijah Chacon (11), New Haven 38-5, SS-CHAMP vs Landon Boe (10), Plainfield 32-7
145 Round 1
Jacob Maldonado (12), Merrillville 9-1 vs Evan Ulrick (11), Carroll (FW) 31-11, SS-2nd
152 Round 1
Logan Boe (12), Danville Community 39-0 vs Eli Hilger (11), Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 31-5, SS-4th
195 Round 1
Matt Lepper (11), Carroll (FW) 38-3, SS-3rd vs JD Farrell (12), Fishers 38-2
220 Round 1
Will Stewart (12), South Spencer 41-4 vs Tristen Martz (12), New Haven 34-4, SS-2nd
285 Round 1
Andres Larios (12), Hammond Clark 27-6 vs Reeve Muncie (11), Carroll (FW), 38-3, SS-2nd
Schedule of Events
Friday: Session I, 6 p.m.
Saturday: Session II, 9:30 a.m.
Saturday: Session III, Consolation matches, 5 p.m.; Championships, 7:30 p.m.