ROCHESTER — Matt Hurford never figured that one day he would be the answer to a trivia question.
But there haven’t been many other four-time regional wrestling champs from Culver Community High School, that’s for sure.
“Yeah, I guess I am,” said Hurford, a senior 182-pounder, when asked about his accomplishment at Saturday’s Rochester mat regional. “That makes me feel good. I felt like I wrestled pretty well today.”
Of course, there aren’t many days when Hurford doesn’t wrestle well. He’s 40-0 this season.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point that people want to know what happened if he doesn’t win by fall.
Mishawaka’s Wesley LaFluer scored a takedown against Hurford in the semifinals, which the Cavalier star quickly reversed on his way to an 8-4 victory.
“I just got lazy and stood up and looked at the clock, and he shot and took me down,” said Hurford. “I have to be better focused than that.”
In the finals, Hurford only needed 2:15 to pin Ryan Jankowski of South Bend St. Joseph.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Hurford’s string is the fact that all four titles came in essentially the same weight class.
As a freshman, he won the title at 189, a class that doesn’t exist any more thanks to tinkering by the IHSAA. He won again at 189 as a sophomore.
The last two years, he took the crown at 182. How many kids get lighter as they grow up?
Hurford stood out for one other reason: He was one of only two qualifiers from the Plymouth Sectional to win a regional championship Saturday.
Warsaw 120-pounder Luis Munoz, who beat Kayla Miracle of Culver Academies for the second straight week, was the other.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to next Saturday’s Merrillville semistate, so a lot of local wrestlers are still moving on.
Culver Academies coach Matt Behling was upbeat about sending six wrestlers to the semistate, even if none was a first-place finisher.
“That’s the most we’ve ever qualified, at least in the time I’ve been here,” said Behling. “It means we are continuing to improve.”
Miracle (34-3) becomes the first girl in Indiana history to qualify for a semistate three times. Last year, of course, she was the first female ever to reach the state finals. She will have to finish among the top four at Merrillville to do it again.
Culver Academies also had runners-up at 138, where Anthony McHugh (40-3) dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 1-ranked Tommy Forte of Mishawaka, and at 160, where Edmond Hogan (39-5) gave up a takedown with 48 seconds remaining against South Bend Riley’s Chase Hack. He fell, 3-1.
Six semistate qualifiers enabled the Eagles to finish third in the final team standings with 108-1/2 points. No. 4-ranked Penn walked away with the team title, scoring 211.
Plymouth was sixth as a team, while Culver Community took seventh and Bremen 10th.
If ever a team wanted a do-over, it was the Rockies, who advanced only three wrestlers to the semistate. And none reached the regional finals.
Even star 220-pounder DeAndre Pickford (33-4) lost his opening match.
“We lost so many close matches, a lot of one-point and two-point losses,” said Plymouth coach Bob Read. “When you get to this level, you have to win those. That’s where you get into the mental aspect of things.”
Cody Allmon (106 pounds) finished third for Plymouth. Kam Markovich (126) and Drew Dodson (285) earned fourths.
Prior to winning his regional championship, Matt Hurford saw his brother, Mark, finish second at 170. Allen Betts finished third for the Cavaliers at 113.
Bremen’s Joey Bailey was fourth in the 120-pound class.
• IHSAA WRESTLING REGIONAL
Team scores: Penn 211, Mishawaka 160 ½, Culver Academies 108 ½, South Bend Clay 91 ½, South Bend Adams 76 1/2, Plymouth 71, Culver Community 56 ½, South Bend Washington 55, Tippecanoe Valley 47, Bremen 35, Rochester 34, South Bend Riley 33 ½, Wawasee 31, South Bend St. Joseph 31, Warsaw 24, Triton 10, Caston 6. NOTE: Clay penalized one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.
106: Jake Sinkovics (Mishawaka) tech fall Drew Hildebrandt (Penn), 21-5 in 4:07. 113: Zach Davis (Penn) dec. Jacob Hartman (Clay), 7-0. 120: Luis Munoz (Warsaw) dec. Kayla Miracle (Culver Academies), 8-4. 126: Daniel Hesch (Mishawaka) tech fall Wyatt Nelson (Tippecanoe Valley), 20-5 in 4:28. 132: Grant Martsolf (Mishawaka) dec. Mitch Hartman (Clay), 2-1. 138: Tommy Forte (Mishawaka) dec. Anthony McHugh (Culver Academies), 6-1. 145: Tristan Macri (Mishawaka) maj. dec. Joe Mammolenti (Penn), 14-3. 152: Trevor Manspeaker (Penn) dec. Sam Ferdig (Adams), 4-1. 160: Chase Hack (Riley) dec. Edmond Hogan (Culver Academies), 3-1. 170: Jeff Wiseman (Penn) dec. Mark Hurford (Culver Community), 7-1. 182: Matt Hurford (Culver Community) pinned Ryan Jankowski (St. Joseph), 2:15. 195: Jaylin Allen (Clay) pinned Joey Stasiak (Penn), 5:53. 220: Braxton Eby (Mishawaka) pinned Kenan Boyd (Adams), 1:30. 285: Shakir Carr (Clay) dec. Kali Boyd (Adams), 5-4.
(For 3rd place)
106: Cody Allmon (Plymouth) dec. Josh Heckathorn (Rochester), 5-1. 113: Allen Betts (Culver Community) dec. Tristan Ponsler (Wawasee), 3-0. 120: Justin Stephens (Washington) dec. Joey Bailey (Bremen), 4-3. 126: Scott Warner (Riley) tech fall Kam Markovich (Plymouth), 16-0 in 4:58. 132: Joshua Curcio (Penn) pinned Noah Trevino (Culver Academies), 2:26. 138: Alex Rinehart (Penn) pinned Jay Heckathorn (Rochester), 2:46. 145: William Howell-Bey (Washington) dec. David Zajac (Culver Academies), 8-6. 152: Edward Hogan (Culver Academies) dec. Isaiah White (Washington), 3-2. 160: Michael Bates (Washington) dec. Nick Rozow (Wawasee), 4-3. 170: Edgar Gallegos (Adams) dec. Kelly Kolat (Washington), 5-4. 182: Wesley LaFluer (Mishawaka) dec. Mike Chaffee (Penn), 3-2. 195: Jake Kazmierczak (St. Joseph) dec. Brian Clark (Wawasee), 4-3. 220: Kobe Woods (Penn) dec. Tyler Schmitt (Clay), 3-2. 285: Clayton Stohler (Penn) pinned Drew Dodson (Plymouth), 4:42.