Jets win Regionals ahead of Bellmont and South Adams

Dane Fuelling
Staff Writer

“We talked all week about putting it away early and putting everyone through and taking control.”
Adams Central head wrestling coach Tony Currie had his boys ready to go bright and early Saturday, sparking a historic first round that wrapped up the Jets’ first Regional title since 1989 and just the second in program history, capped off by an equally impressive four individual titles.
The Jets finished the day with 140 points, easily distancing themselves from the 97.5 points of Norwell and a solid third-place finish for Bellmont with 88 points. Defending champions Yorktown were fourth with 82.
Local wrestlers dominated the tournament, with the Jay County sectional winning 38 out of 56 first-round matches and taking 11 of the 14 individual titles.
Bellmont’s Ike Ruble pinned his way to a third title in three weeks, defeating Muncie Central’s Gage Cline in the first period. All three falls came before the end of the first period for the freshman, whose photo will now appear next to his brother’s on the Bellmont wrestling room wall.
“It’s pretty cool to think of having my picture up there because I’ve spent so much time looking at all those photos my whole life. I am not sure what my brother will think of having his little brother right next to him, but I know that a Regional title is not my final goal. I have a lot more matches to win. I want my name on the wall.”
Ike’s wall photo will continue a strong family tradition in the Bellmont room, joining his brother, Jon, and father, Joe. Uncle Paul Ruble and great uncles Bill Schultz and the late Kent Buuck are also there.
South Adams’ Logan Bauman took out Daleville’s TJ Fritz in the opening round on his way to a fourth-place finish and a trip to semi-state.
Adams County was guaranteed a title at 132, with Kyle Lawson and Logan Mosser meeting up for the second straight week in the finals. Mosser beat Lawson again on his feet, just as he did lasts week, with a superior leg attack and quick restarts. Both wrestlers advanced with falls to the finals.
Logan Macklin had a rematch of his own in the finals but didn’t need overtime this week against Josh Beeks of Southern Wells, pinning the junior in just 1:31. It was the first Regional title in Macklin’s career and the victory also put him into a tie for 15th all-time in AC history. Macklin was another champ with three pins on the day.
In another rematch of the Jay County sectional finals, Jon Ruble won his first Regional title, beating Jed Perry in a similar manner as the week before, 8-6. Adams Central’s Paul Faurote was fourth after pinning his first round opponent as part of AC’s big opening round. With the win, the Ruble brothers became just the second set of brothers in Bellmont history to win conference, sectional, and regional titles together in the same year, matching the feat of Ryan and Billy Baker a decade ago.
Parker Bates also picked up his first regional title in another all-Adams County final at 170, defeating Christian Summersett for the second consecutive week, 8-4. In a pretty physical battle, Bates was superior on his feet, taking Summersett down in each of the three periods to get the win. Once-beaten on the year, Bates is in prime position for an appearance at Bankers Life with the regional win.
The final Adams County champ of the day came at 220 with Jashawn Berlanga of Adams Central. The most impressive wrestler of the day, Berlanga did not need more than a minute in any of his three matches en route to the title, pinning Dawson Frasher of Jay County in just 40 seconds on a nice dump for the title. South Adams’ Spencer Clark, a first-year wrestler, earned a semi-state trip with a hard-fought 8-4 win over Winchester senior Dylan Peed with four solid takedowns.
“Berlanga is just an outstanding story for us this year,” said Currie just before the team was announced as Regional champions. “Wrestling has done some great things for him and I am so proud of what he has accomplished this season. Winning in dominating fashion really sets him up for next week because he is going to avoid a couple of studs in the first two rounds.”
South Adams was without a champion but did have three in the finals. AJ Dull made a fantastic turnaround after getting beat twice by Bellmont’s Gavin Cox at 138 last week. Cox was a tough-luck loser in his opening round loss, winning 8-6 against Muncie Central’s Da’Marion Walker when he was pinned. Dull beat a very good senior in Lucas Fox of Delta in the opening round and then pinned Cayden Shaffer with a headlock in the semifinals. Southern Wells’ Will Fiechter repeated as champion, winning 8-3 over Dull. Shaffer was fourth, losing in overtime to Walker. The AC junior defeated girls state champ Alara Boyd in a tight 1-0 match, riding Boyd out for the entire third period for the win.
Andre Hughes ran into a much bigger Holden Parsons in the final at 285, ending Hughes’ impressive win streak. Parsons, the defending Regional champ, was a 5-1 winner. AC’s Devin Lotter was pinned by 34-3 Logan Swallow of Monroe Central to end his season.
Bellmont’s Dobie Litchfield met Landon Bertch of Bluffton again in the finals at 113 and seemed to be on his way to giving Bertch a tougher match than at sectional, taking the Tiger wrestler to 2-2 with a switch in the first period. Bertch scored a reversal in the second and got the fall, but the runner-up finish will give Litchfield a solid shot at a ticket-round appearance at the minimum next Saturday. Litchfield punched his ticket with an impressive tech fall of Delta senior Blaine Lee in the opening round.
Carter Thomas led 6-2 early against another senior, Jesse Upchurch of Yorktown, after Litchfield’s opening win, but was taken down and turned with Yorktown’s signature half-nelson, ending the freshman’s season in abrupt fashion.
Alex Currie took care of business in the opening round against Daniel Keister of Winchester and extended his season by another week, but was outmatched by two superior upper-classmen and finished an impressive third with a win over Norwell’s Tonner Johnson. Johnson survived the opening round with an overtime pin after the bracket was changed due to Jay County’s Blayne Daniels missing weight.
AC’s great start was boosted by freshman Blake Heyerly’s impressive win over Keagan Keesling of Cowan in the opening round. Heyerly scored a quick takedown but Keesling ended up with a 9-6 lead towards the end of the first period after a couple of reversals and nearfall situations. Heyerly ended the period back on top, trailing 9-8. Heyerly then scored a reversal in the middle of the second and got the fall win on his way to finishing fourth.
The Jay County sectional made a clean sweep at 182, winning all four weight classes and finishing in the exact same order as the week before, with Mason Winner pinning AC’s Monty Hill in the finals and Cam Harris defeating Carter Siefring for third place. Siefring’s remarkable postseason run continued thanks to another cradle pin in the first period against sectional champ Cameron Maurer of Muncie Central.
Collin Shaffer was knocked out of the tournament by defending Regional Champ Andrew Abbott of Muncie Central and Jacob Manley of AC suffered the same fate against Yorktown’s Tyson Enis at 195.
The Jets’ impressive season may overshadow just how big of an accomplishment it is for the program to walk out of Jay County with a regional title.
“We had our usual goals of 1A state, conference and sectional,” said Currie. “But it wasn’t until the season got underway and we saw how all the teams were shaping up that we knew we had an opportunity to compete for a regional title as well. The way Yorktown has wrestled for the last few years, it has been hard for any other team to attain the title. The timing was right for us with so many champs and the depth to place nine guys here today.”
Look for a team-by-team breakdown for semi-state this week in DDD sports.