Winning is seldom assured at the 73rd Annual IHSAA Individual Wrestling State Finals that concluded Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
But the Evansville and Castle Regional had a guaranteed champion at 160 pounds when undefeated Chad Welch made the final, as expected, to face Mater Dei senior John Sims, who had beaten two undefeated wrestlers to get there.
Chad Welch then took a 3-0 decision to make it a championship sweep for Castle’s senior twins after Doug Welch won at 152. Then the area swept its three chances in the finals when Princeton senior Drake Stein (No.11 @ 171) defended his title at 171.
Stein pinned his opponent on Friday and then advanced with increasingly difficult decisions. He beat Carmel senior James Frascella 8-4 in the quarterfinals and then held on to edge previously undefeated Jackson Bratcher of Eastbrook 5-4 in the semifinals.
“I didn’t see him in the warm-up room, which made me mad,” said Stein. “(Michael) Duckworth (whom Stein beat in the final) didn’t warm up, either.
“So just like last year, I went right after (Manning). In the first few rounds I wrestled just good enough, but in the final I came out ready to go.”