By Will Willems
New Castle —
Six of the 10 Boone County wrestlers competing at Saturday’s New Castle Semi-State took the step that all were looking to take — a berth in the state finals.
Lebanon’s Caleb Bocock and Collin Campbell, Western Boone’s Austin McCloskey, and Zionsville’s Jacob Aven, Preston Mantel and Mitch Weber all placed in the top-4 in the semi-state to advance to this weekend’s state championships at Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse.
At 106 pounds, Bocock placed fourth in both the sectional and regional, but topped regional champ Gage Pace of Franklin County 13-2 in the opening round to advance to the ticket round.
In the ticket round, Bocock defeated Ethan Briggeman of Roncalli 12-6 to earn his berth in the state championships.
Bocock lost to ninth-ranked Matthew McKinney of Warren Central in the semifinals and 19th-ranked Brett Johnson of Perry Meridian in the third-place match to place fourth. Bocock will face Hayden Lee of Garrett in the opening round Friday night.
At 113 pounds, Weber defeated Trenton Whitaker of New Castle in the opening round, then upset 10th-ranked Riley Newkirk of Lawrence Central to advance to state.
Weber lost his final two matches to two state-ranked foes in Perry Meridian’s Jacob Cottey and Crispus Attucks’ Charlie Baker to place fourth. He will face Conner Knapp of East Noble in the first round of state Friday night.
At 120 pounds, Mantel defeated Wesley Robinson of Pendleton Heights in the opening round to set up a match-up with eighth-ranked Aidan Kenny of Perry Meridian. Mantel won 1-0 to earn his berth at the state finals.
Mantel lost to sixth-ranked Andrice Martin in the semifinals, but defeated 13th-ranked Evan Eldred of Westfield to place third. He will face Joshua Davis of Evansville Reitz in Friday’s opening round.
At 145 pounds, Campbell — ranked 10th at 145 pounds — faced 14th-ranked Michael Thomas of Perry Meridian in the opening round. Campbell led 3-2 late in the third period when Thomas got a reversal to go up 4-3.
Campbell was able to get a reversal in the final second to win 5-4. In the ticket round, he pinned Matt Yatsko in another close match to advance to state.
Campbell lost two close matches to end his day — 3-0 to seventh-ranked Shabaka Jones of Warren Central and 3-1 to eighth-ranked Robbie Elsea of New Palestine to place fourth. Campbell will face Yorktown’s Eli Walker in the opening round Friday.
At 160-pounds McCloskey pinned Miah Sloderbeck of Hamilton Heights and defeated 14th-ranked Conner James of Roncalli 3-2 to advance to state.
McCloskey topped seventh-ranked Blake Rypel of Cathedral 8-6 in the semifinals to advance to the finals. But when he got there, he suffered his first loss to the season to eighth-ranked Riley McClurg of Perry Meridian 4-3.
McCloskey — ranked No. 1 in the weight class — will face second-ranked Kenny Hughes of Lowell in the first round of state Friday.
The final advancer from Boone County was Aven who defeated Dustin Connety of South Dearborn and Seth Vaughn of Franklin Central to advance to state. The 12th-ranked Zionsville junior lost to No. 4 Maximili Hernandez of Warren Central and 19th-ranked Alex Lindemann of Milan to place fourth.
Aven will face Glenn Robinson of Lake Central in round one Friday.
At 126 pounds, Lebanon’s Kellen VanCamp pinned Noblesville’s Stephen Storey to advance to the ticket round.
But he drew a tough assignment in one-loss Tom Gettinger of Connersville and lost to end his bid for state.
VanCamp lost to Westfield’s A.J. Belden in the consolation rounds to end his season.
At 138 pounds, Zionsville’s Tyler Glenn also saw his bid for a berth at state end in the ticket round.
Glenn won by major decision against Anthony Gartenman of Batesville, but in the ticket round ran into undefeated Luke Blanton of Alexandria and lost via pinfall.
Glenn lost to Chase Watson of Hamilton Southeastern’s Chase Watson to end his day.
Zionsville heavyweight Austin Brewer won his first match against Guerin Catholic’s Patrick Vondersaar but was pinned by Joe Garland of Rushville and Andre Porter of Hamilton Heights to end his season.
Zionsville’s Chris Mason lost his opening round match to Brian Wagner of New Palestine to end his season.
The state championships start at 6 p.m. Friday night.