MERRILLVILLE — A fearsome threesome are Culver Community’s Jeremiah Harvey, Plymouth’s Damon Howe and Bremen’s Abraham Hall.
That trio has made Marshall County the center of heavyweight high school wrestling in Indiana this season. And it will be no surprise to see all three contend for a championship next weekend at the IHSAA individual state wrestling finals. All three will be there.
Each qualified by finishing among the top four in the 285-pound weight class at Saturday’s Merrillville Semistate.
Harvey, a senior, won his first semistate championship by beating Howe, 8-4, in the title match.
Hall, meanwhile, finished fourth. But he beat one of the favorites — McCutcheon’s Blake Ford, the Logansport regional champ — on his way to a state meet berth.
The state finals begin 6 p.m. Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Joining the three heavyweights will be John Glenn senior Cody Strange in the 160-pound weight class and Culver Academies sophomore Anthony McHugh at 119. Each finished third at Merrillville.
Any wrestler who wins his first match Friday is guaranteed a spot on the IHSAA awards podium Saturday night.
Harvey takes a 41-4 season record into his first bout against Huntington North’s Andrew Mason (37-9). Howe (31-2) will square off against Ta’Quan Walker of Fort Wayne North Side (25-5).
Strange (39-8) must open against Tyler Rickenbaugh of Heritage Hills (47-4). McHugh (40-3) runs up against Evansville Memorial’s Logan Wedding (36-5). Hall, meanwhile, has the most daunting task of all. He meets Daniel Meyer of Bellmont (43-0), the state’s No. 1-ranked heavyweight.
But that’s not until Friday. For now, the locals are still enjoying their success at Merrillville and getting ready for the weekend ahead.
“The coaches have been pushing me to strive for success, and I think I’m getting the hang of it,” said Harvey following a dramatic semistate championship match in which he scored the winning points in the final 20 seconds.
Howe was leading 2-1 with less than a minute to go. Harvey was able to shuck him with 38 seconds remaining, scoring a takedown to take the lead.
Howe escaped with 21 seconds remaining to tie the score, 3-3. Harvey then threw him for a takedown and three-point nearfall, locking up the win just before time ran out.
“I’ve been trying to wrestle smarter and improve little technique things that will make a difference,” said Harvey, who was also last week’s Rochester Regional champ.
“The heavyweights in our area are phenomenal,” noted Cavaliers coach Mike Buschman. “Wrestling those guys throughout the season has prepared Jeremiah for what he’s doing now.”
Harvey opened the tournament by pinning West Central’s Jordan Culp and Calumet’s Tyler Van Lul, each in less than a minute. He beat Hall in the semifinals, 7-4.
Howe outscored Delphi’s Roy Anderson, 6-2, and then pinned Lake Central’s Patrick Biancardi to earn state meet qualification. He pinned Penn’s Kade Maggart in 49 seconds to reach the finals.
Earlier in the day, Culver Academies’ freshman Kayla Miracle was unsuccessful in her quest to become Indiana’s first female state meet qualifier. She was beaten by Hanover Central’s Stevan Micic, 15-5, in the opening round.
Plymouth’s Jacob Seagraves (215), Bremen’s Jose Rodriguez (125), Culver’s Ian Randolph (135), and Glenn’s Myles White (125), Ryan Ishmael (119) and Kaleb McCallum (112) all lost their tourney openers. CMA’s Luther Jacobs (140) and Culver’s Matt Hurford (189) made it to the quarterfinals before they were eliminated.
103: Josh Fuqua (Crown Pt.) dec. Stevan Micic (Hanover Central), 2-0.; 112: Jarred Brooks (Warsaw) dec. Paul Petrov (Hanover Central), 2-1.; 119: Kyle Ayersman (Lake Central) dec. Adam Garcia (Merrillville), 3-0.; 125: Layton Binion (Mishawaka) pinned Brandon Lopez (Lake Central) 1:59.; 130: Mitch Hartman (Clay) dec. Taylor Wisler (Mishawaka), 2-1.; 135: Alex Gregory (Penn) dec. Luis Acuna (Portage), 8-1.; 140: Jason Tsirtsis (Crown Pt.) pinned Brad Wartman (Lake Central), 3:40.; 145: Eric Roach (Crown Pt.) dec. LaQuan Lunford (Clay), 8-5.; 152: Isaac Yoder (Tippecanoe Valley) maj. dec. Mike Hummer (Penn), 10-0.; 160: Anthony Quiroz (Chesterton) maj. dec. Dusty Schurg (Crown Pt.), 18-5.; 171: Tanner Lynde (Delphi) pinned Jeremy Crocker (Lowell), 3:07.; 189: Kourtney Berry (Merrillville) pinned Eric Johnson (Highland), 1:14.; 215: Jack Seaman (Munster) dec. Tyler Kral (Crown Pt.), 6-0.; 285: Jeremiah Harvey (Culver) dec. Damon Howe (Plymouth) 8-4.
(For 3rd place)
103: Santo Marciano (Munster) dec. Zach Davis (Penn), 4-0.; 112: Brian Orzechowicz (Griffith) pinned Blake Denton (Twin Lakes), 4:40.; 119: Anthony McHugh (Culver Academies) pinned Garth Simpson (Rochester), 1:37.; 125: Aaron Ayala (Hobart) dec. Jordan Hicks (Seeger), 3-1.; 130: Trevor Manspeaker (Penn) dec. Alex Rinehart (New Prairie), 6-2.; 135: Jake Fuqua (Crown Pt.) maj. dec. Chris Katsafaros (Chesterton), 10-2.; 140: Charlie Mavros (Lowell) dec. Adrian Brown (Lafayette Jeff), 8-5.; 145: Owen Dorris (Pioneer) maj. dec. Sidney Logan (Mishawaka), 17-5.; 152: Josh Flamme (Crown Pt.) dec. Zach Sandefur (Merrillville), 6-2.; 160: Cody Strange (John Glenn) dec. Davon Alwine (Clay), 4-2 in OT.; 171: Nate Coddens (Riley) dec. Kyle Shrewsbury (Crown Pt.), 4-3.; 189: Alex Skipper (Adams) dec. Mike Ham (Penn), 8-3.
215: Joe Gallegos (Clay) dec. Matt Sumner (McCutcheon), 7-3.
285: Kade Maggart (Penn) dec. Abraham Hall (Bremen), 3-1.