PLYMOUTH — It’s the last chance for squads around the state to vie for a team title as the 74th Annual IHSAA Wrestling State Tournament Series opens this weekend.
This year’s tournament marks the last year for the team state series after the IHSAA’s executive committee voted unanimously in November to drop it in lieu of an exclusively individual tournament beginning in 2012-13.
The 2011-12 Individual Wrestling Tournament opens Saturday with sectionals at 32 sites around the state, and the teams that earn championships at these tourneys advance to the Team Regional round next Wednesday. Top four place winners in each weight category will advance to the Individual Regionals the following Saturday, Feb. 4, meanwhile.
Plymouth plays host to nine teams beginning at 9 a.m. as Bremen enters the field after earning a trio of championships and a fourth-place team result at the Northern State Conference Tournament at Jimtown last weekend, while fellow NSC teams Culver Community and Triton also join the field, and Culver Academies is joined by Northern Lakes Conference squads Warsaw and Wawasee, as well as Tippecanoe Valley at the tilt.
The Plymouth field includes a trio of top-five ranked wrestlers as No. 5-rated Culver Academies junior Anthony McHugh wrestles in the 138-pound division, while Culver Community’s No. 3-ranked 182-pounder Matt Hurford vies for an individual championship, and second-ranked heavyweight Abraham Hall of Bremen looks to begin a deep run in the state series after a trio of wins over 2011 heavyweight state champ Jeremiah Harvey of Culver last season.
Other area stand-outs looking to advance out of the Plymouth field are Bremen’s Joey Bailey and Jose Rodriguez at 113 and 120, respectively, Culver Community’s Allen Betts and John Ahlenius at 113 and 145, CMA 106-pounder Kayla Miracle, and Plymouth’s DeAndre Pickford and Jacob Segraves at heavyweight and 195.
Also this weekend, John Glenn enters the LaPorte field after edging out Bremen for third place at the NSCs, while conference foes Knox and North Judson also join the field at 9 a.m. CST, and LaVille’s squad takes the mat up at the Mishawaka meet at 9 a.m.
Team winners at Plymouth will earn a berth at the Jimtown Regional opposite the winner at the Westview tournament, while team champions at Mishawaka will advance to the other Jimtown championship bracket versus the team winner at Elkhart Memorial, and the winner at LaPorte will face the Calumet Sectional winner at the Portage Regional.