CLINTON — Clinton High School wrestlers repeatedly went on the attack during the Class 1A Regional they hosted on Saturday.

That tactic produced 191.5 points and the No. 5-state ranked Maroons' first regional title since 2001-02.

Clinton's 10th regional crown in school history featured nine qualifiers for next Friday and Saturday's Olympia Sectional.

"You always hope for a little more," said Clinton coach Matt Cooper. "I think 10 (qualifiers) was our target. Some of the kids had a really tough bracket."

No. 15 LeRoy was second (144 points, seven qualifiers) in the eight-team field followed by No. 23 GCMS-Fisher (133, six) and Hoopeston Area (125, seven). 

Heyworth and No. 24 Olympia tied for fifth at 120 with the Hornets advancing five men and Olympia six. Seventh-place Ridgeview (39) qualified two.

Clinton (25-1) will face No. 4 Coal City (24-8) in the Feb. 20 GCMS Dual Team Sectional.

"We talked about being aggressive throughout the match," Cooper said. "They came out today ready to wrestle and did a great job so I'm proud of the way the kids wrestled."

Leading Clinton's four champions was No. 3-ranked Luke Shobe (36-1 at 170), whose two-pin day ended with a fall in 2:00 against LeRoy's Hunter Gawlik (17-6).

"He took a shot and I sprawled and butchered," Shobe said. "I tried to do a pancake, but he had the leg too tight so I just continued riding the butcher and pinned him. Once you get a butcher and get a guy on his back, normally it's done very fast."

Among the biggest surprises was Olympia's No. 5-state ranked Keaton Fogler (38-3), a two-time state fifth-placer at 220, bumping up to heavyweight where he notched pins in :54 and 1:29 to win his third regional crown.

"I think this is going to be my best shot down the road," said Fogler, who estimates his strength is the equal of most heavyweights while his speed and technique are better.

"At 220 there are three or four guys who are always going back and forth against each other (at state). So I think at heavyweight I'll definitely step up and be the one and hopefully run through the state tournament."

The regional's highest ranked entrant, No. 2 Levi Neuleib of Heyworth (36-1 at 113), won by fall in 4:28 in the final against LeRoy's Ethan Matlock (26-14). Sixth in the state at 106 last year, Neuleib lifted Matlock to set up the pin.

"When I came down," Neuleib said, "his legs split so I was looking for a quick tilt on the shoulder, but the tilt wasn't there so I just hooked over the head, got in good position, stuck my hips down and finished the match."

Neuleib's training partner, No. 6-ranked Gabe Spencer (30-3 at 120), won his second regional, 14-7, over Ridgeview's Coby Windle (31-3). The 2017 state runner-up at 113, Spencer is ready for a loaded sectional.

"That's what I like to see," he said. "I like competition. I'm not here to take part, I'm here to take over."

No. 6-ranked Andrew Sims (31-7 at 132) became the first 100-match winner in Heyworth history by winning his final, 11-3, over LeRoy's Ty Baxter (25-6). Sims sees opportunity ahead.

"A lot of kids actually left 132 to go to 138," he said. "They were still technically ranked below me. I might have beaten them. I should come out with a championship at sectionals, too."

No. 3-ranked Cale Horsch of GCMS-Fisher (35-2 at 106) won his final, 2-0, over Ridgeview's Billy Tay (32-5).

"I thought I could have wrestled better, but I got it done so I feel good going to the sectional," said Horsch, who earlier this season topped Tay, 6-2. "I felt I should have beat him by more today, but a win is a win, I guess."  

Other area champions were Clinton's Christian Reynolds (37-4 at 145), Kolby Winter (35-5 at 152) and Kyle Hammer (31-7 at 220) and LeRoy's Carson Schaefer (30-10 at 138) and Dylan Woolridge (35-5 at 195).

Other area runners-up were Clinton's Tyler Harris (33-6 at 126), Bryce Reeves (33-9 at 160) and Micah Downs (29-12 at 182), GCMS-Fisher's Jacob Horsch (34-7 at 145), Owen Duke (30-11 at 195) and Garrett Wright (26-15 at 220), Olympia's Noah Newmister (22-13 at 138) and Heyworth's Joe Lauterberg (18-13 at 285).  

Notable among the area's 14 third-place qualifiers was Olympia senior Austin Weaver (5-4 at 113), a state third-placer a year ago at 106 who has returned from a fractured vertebrae. 

Follow Randy Sharer on Twitter: @PG_sharer


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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