FIVE ARABIAN WRESTLERS BATTLE AT SEMISTATE – TREMOR BYNUM EARNS A BID TO STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Three weeks ago, over 3000 wrestlers state-wide began a quest to make it to the state championship tournament in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Only 16 grapplers per weight class would make it. For the first time since 2013, the Arabians will send one of their own to compete for the state title.
Five Arabian wrestlers qualified to get to today’s semistate tournament in New Castle. All five of them were battle-tested by the tough schedule this year and came today ready to look past the rankings, the win/loss records, and the name recognition to put it all on the line and try to survive and advance.
In order to make it to state, each wrestler has to win not only one match, but their first two matches in this gauntlet of talent from East and Central Indiana.
120 pound freshman Jared Brown came out firing and almost shocked the huge crowd in the world’s largest high school gymnasium. His first match was against Carmel’s Brendan Mattingly. The sophomore was ranked 3rd in state, was a state qualifier last year, and boasted a 33-0 record. None of this intimidated Jared, and he wrestled like he had nothing to lose. Brown scored a series of takedowns using some beautiful duck unders and arm spins. Adding nearfall points, he ran the score up to 14-3 going into the 3rd period. Mattingly had tried to hit a cradle in the first period unsuccessfully – but now he was able to lock up a tight hold and get the fall. The season ends for Jared, but what an amazing freshman campaign it was! Arabian fans can look forward to three more years of thrills and excitement from Jared’s full throttle approach to the sport.
132 pound senior Elijah Bauer had the look of determination heading into his first match that can only come with the years of experience that he has seen. Elijah has been a 4 year varsity wrestler and picked up not only skills, but also traits of patience, strategy and knowing when to press the action. Elijah’s first match of the day was against match was against South Dearborn junior Austin Boggs. Elijah came out as the aggressor and struck first, converting a single leg shot for a two point takedown. In the 2nd, Bauer scored a reversal and then another takedown after allowing an escape. A bit of a scare in the 3rd period as Boggs was able to get a quick reversal and a quick call on a 2 point nearfall to bring the match to a 6-5 narrow lead for Elijah. The experience of the senior kicked in, and in crunch time he was able to stand and turn in for a reversal that gave a 8-5 lead. An escape at the end was all Boggs could manage and the final was an 8-6 win for Elijah!
In his second match, Elijah was up against his nemesis this season, senior Carter Noehre from Greenfield-Central. Noehre was ranked 7th in the state, and had previously beaten Elijah twice in earlier matches. The style of Noehre is actually quite similar to Elijah’s – using shots and a strong leg riding offense to control the match. Elijah fended off any attempts at a fall, but couldn’t put together enough attacks to tally points against the Greenfield opponent. The final was 10-1. Elijah began his wrestling career back in 6th grade and has had a lot of success throughout middle school and high school. His leadership will be missed next season.
145 pound junior Caleb Gibson was paired against junior Hayden Lohrey from nearby Shenandoah HS. Lohrey came in with an unblemished 38-0 record and ranked 8th in state. As it was with all the Arabians today, Caleb began the match on the attack and got to a leg early on, which he converted to the first takedown and points of the match. After a couple of scramble situations, Lohrey reversed Caleb, although a quick escape put Caleb up 3-2. Caleb kept up on the attacks, but each time Lohrey was able to reach over and lock up an ankle to initiate a scramble. An escape in the 2nd, followed by a takedown increased Lohrey’s lead to 7-3 starting the 3rd period. Caleb used a mud-digger for the escape point, and launched a series of attacks throughout the 3rd period but Lohrey used his strength to defend any shots and keep Gibby at bay. The final was a tight 7-4 victory for Lohrey. Throughout the season, Caleb has shown that he can wrestle with state-level competitors. A hard-worker in the offseason, look for Caleb to add a few more tools to his repertoire and return for a strong final campaign next fall.
152 pounder Jarod Miller drew a matchup versus senior Stevie Browning from Franklin County. Browning finished 1st place at last week’s Richmond Regional, and he started the match aggressively going after Jarod from neutral. Jarod parried the attacks until finally a double leg converted to give Browning a 2-0 lead. Jarod kept hitting standups, but each time Browning would pressure and run Jarod out of bounds forcing a restart. Browning was looking for a cradle but again Jarod was able to counter each time. Giving up a quick nearfall call for 2 points, Jarod broke Browning’s grip and was able to stand up for an escape to draw the match to 6-1 heading to the 3rd period. Starting out neutral, Jarod correctly opened up his offense to force some action. He gathered in a front headlock and tried put Browning right to his back, but unfortunately Browning was able to slip the attempted lock and quickly lock up a cradle for the fall. This was Jarod’s first full season after 2 battling injuries. Can’t overstate how much experience was gained with all the mat time and his run to semistate. Jarod will remain active in the offseason wrestling program and should be a force in his senior season.
The final Arabian wrestler was 195 pound Tremor Bynum. The draw was favorable for Tremor – facing a couple of opponents he had beaten earlier in the season during his first two matches. But, wrestling is a sport where one wrestler might make huge gains during the season so nothing can be taken for granted. Tremor’s first opponent was New Palestine junior Brayden Clevenger. If Clevenger had any ideas of an upset, Tremor silenced them immediately – countering a shot by Clevenger, Tremor caught him with underhooks and put him directly to his back for a 5 point move. Bynum locked up an arm bar and stacked up Clevenger for another 3 nearfall points. The second period was more of the same as Tremor first flattened out the New Pal wrestler, then pinned him to move on to the ticket round.
In his second match of the day, Tremor was paired against HSE sophomore Andrew Irick. Tremor had defeated Irick at the North Montgomery Holiday tourney, but this match would prove to be much closer. The two stalked each other the entire first period, and Bynum got to a leg but ran out of time before he could score the points. Some controversy in the second period – after riding Irick for the majority of the time, the official signaled to give Irick a point for stalling on Tremor. Coach Cloud was able to successfully point out that no prior caution had been given so no point was awarded, but the restart setup a last second escape for Irick to take a 1-0 lead. Tremor started down position in the third and got a super quick escape to tie the match. Irick nearly scored on an inside trip attempt, but Tremor’s athleticism was shown as he scrambled and got the action back to their feet with no points scored. As the match wound down to the final seconds, Tremor launched a blast double that caught Irick off guard. Tremor covered the hips and dragged both feet to keep them in the circle as the final buzzer sounded. The officials discussed the timing and positioning and awarded the two point takedown as the large Arabian contingency in the stands erupted in an ovation as the victory locked up the trip to Indianapolis next week!
After the emotional win, Tremor came back to wrestle the semifinal match against senior Sam Hansen from Roncalli, ranked #6 in state. Hansen scored a quick takedown in the first as he successfully countered an attempt at an arm drag and covered for the 2. Tremor hit a standup for the escape and went into the 2nd only down by a point. Stopping some sit-out attempts, Bynum was nearly able to drag Hansen backwards for some back points but finally the Roncalli foe got to his feet and reversed Tremor for 2 more points. Tremor escaped again for a point, then again as he started the third period down. Now the match was at 3-4 and Tremor had to go to work on offense. He tried a bodylock and successfully hit an arm drag to get to a leg, but Hansen each time wrapped over the top until a stalemate was called. The final ended in a narrow 3-4 loss by decision.
In the critical 3rd place match, Tremor faced senior Michael Bohman from Franklin County. Bohman had also locked up a trip to state – now the match would decide which of them would face a #2 finisher next week and which would face a #1 semistate finisher. Tremor came out firing – missing on his first takedown attempt but striking first on his next attempt. Leading 2-0 going into the 2nd period, Tremor turned his opponent and bundled his arms for a 2 point nearfall. Bohman roared back, first getting an escape then a shot for takedown. Beginning the third period on bottom, Tremor had a 4-3 lead. Bohman attempted an arm bar, but it didn’t work and Tremor stood for an escape. Bohman took another shot that Tremor turned into a scramble and a takedown for himself to close out the match 7-3!
At a crucial time of the season, Tremor is peaking heading into the final weekend. Although he can quickly turn to using his strength to close out moves, Tremor is setting up attacks and just wrestling really smart. We will find out tomorrow who he will have for his Friday night first round matchup. The loser of the Friday night matches is done — the winner will be guaranteed all-state status and come back Saturday to fight for placement among the top 8 in the state. If you’ve never been before, Friday night at Banker’s Life begins with a “Parade of Champions” that you won’t want to miss – each high school name is announced alphabetically and the athletes plus their coaches circle the arena before standing together on the mats among the 224 final competitors. We wish Tremor the best of luck in his preparation this week and on Friday night. As the saying goes, Tremor will look to be the hammer rather than the anvil !!
One more weekend of Arabian PHHS Wrestling! Congratulations Arabian wrestlers and Arabian coaches – everyone has been a part of the team’s success this season!