February 20, 2016

New Palestine's Chad Red Becomes Four-Time State Champ, Warren Central Runs Away with Team Title
Chad Red joined an elite club and Warren Central claimed the team title during the 78th Annual IHSAA Wrestling State Finals at Banker Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

In perhaps the most anticipated matchup in state finals history, Red claimed a 6-5 decision from Evansville Mater Dei's Nick Lee at 132 pounds, a battle of two of the country's best wrestlers. Lee took a 4-1 lead after the first period before Red turned the tables in the second taking a 6-4 advantage heading into the final frame. From there, Red burned the clock to become the ninth four-time state champion in state history and complete a perfect 183-0 career record (44-0 this season). He became the third Indiana wrestler to go undefeated for his entire career joining Indianapolis Cathedral's Lance Ellis and Griffith's Alex Tsirtsis. The New Palestine senior also joined Tsirtsis as the only undefeated wrestlers to win each of their titles in a different weight class. Lee was the defending 132 pound champion and suffered his first loss of the season to finish 16-1.

For Warren Central, it was the school's second state title in the sport and first since 1980. Warriors coach Jim Tonte won his fourth state title with his previous three coming while coaching Perry Meridian.

The Warriors put four in the championship matches but junior Trent Pruitt was the only to claim a title taking a 7-3 decision from Portage's Steven Lawrence to finish 45-2 at 152 pounds. Keyuan Murphy at 106, Matt McKinney at 138 and Tristen Tonte at 195 pounds each settled for a runner-up finish.

Warren Central finished with a state finals record 109.5 points to outdistance runner-up Brownsburg's 83 points. Indianapolis Cathedral placed third with 81 points, Portage ended fourth with 71 and Merrillville was fifth at 67. Defending state champion Penn placed eighth with 49 points.

Merrillville and Lowell each had two winners on the evening.

Merrillville's Jacob Covaciu (42-0) and Shawn Streck (45-0) each repeated as champions. Covaciu claimed the 160 pound title to go along with his 145 crown a year ago while Streck repeated as 285 pound champion.

Lowell's Colton Cummings (46-0) won the 106 pound title a year ago and moved up to win the 113 belt this season while teammate Drew Hughes (47-0) earned his second consecutive winning at 170 pounds after taking 160 in 2015.

Danville senior Brock Hudkins ended a perfect campaign at 47-0 for his second state title in a row winning it all at 126 pounds. Indianapolis Cathedral's Blake Rypel also claimed his second crown dropping down to win at 182 after winning 195 last season.

A crowd of 12,643 witnessed Saturday night's championship matches for a weekend total of 33,593, a new three-session attendance record.

The 78th Annual IHSAA Individual Wrestling State Finals
Feb. 19-20, 2016
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

Top 10 Teams  
1. Warren Central 109.5
2. Brownsburg 83
3. Indianapolis Cathedral 81
4. Portage 71
5. Merrillville 67
6. Evansville Mater Dei 56.5
7. Lowell 52.5
8. Penn 49
T9. Avon 48
T9. Lawrence North 48

State Championship Match Results
106: Asa Garcia, 9, Avon (36-6) def. Keyuan Murphy, 12, Warren Central (43-3), Fall, 1:55.
113: Colton Cummings, 11, Lowell (46-0) def. Christian Mejia, 10, Elkhart Memorial (42-5), Fall, 3:40.
120: Drew Hildebrandt, 12, Penn (46-1) def. Jeremiah Reitz, 11, Griffith (36-4), decision 5-3.
126: Brock Hudkins, 12, Danville (47-0) def. Gaige Torres, 12, Portage (35-5), decision, 8-2.
132: Chad Red, 12, New Palestine (44-0) def. Nick Lee, 11, Evansville Mater Dei (16-1), decision 6-5.
138: Brayton Lee, 10, Brownsburg (43-0) def. Matt McKinney, 12, Warren Central (46-4), TF-1.5 5:08 (20-5).
145: Joe Lee, 10, Evansville Mater Dei (32-2) def. Kasper McIntosh, 10, Portage (41-5), Fall, 0:42.
152: Trent Pruitt, 11, Warren Central (45-2) def. Steven Lawrence, 12, Portage (41-2), decision 7-3.
160: Jacob Covaciu, 12, Merrillville (42-0) def. Burk VanHorn, 11, Franklin Community (41-5), decison 3-0.
170: Drew Hughes, 12, Lowell (47-0) def. Hunter Mote, 12, Delphi (40-3), major decision 12-0.
182: Blake Rypel, 12, Indianapolis Cathedral (45-0) def. Cameron Jones, 12, Lawrence North (41-7), decision 4-2.
195: Jake Kleimola, 12, Lake Central (43-1) def. Tristen Tonte, 11, Warren Central (45-4), decision, 9-5.
220: Mason Parris, 10, Lawrenceburg (52-0) def. Gunnar Larson, 11, Avon (42-1), major decision, 13-4.
285: Shawn Streck, 12, Merrillville (45-0) def. Robert Samuels, 11, Lawrence North (44-7), decision, 9-5.

Merrillville’s Jacob Covaciu wins Ward E. Brown Mental Attitude Award
Jacob Covaciu of Merrillville High School was named winner of the 2016 Ward E. Brown Mental Attitude Award by members of the IHSAA Executive Committee.

Covaciu (42-0) is a four-time state qualifier, winning two state championships at 145 in 2015 and 160 in 2016, while also being the runner-up during his sophomore campaign at 138. He is a two-time MVP of the Pirates, while also being named a captain for three seasons. Besides four years of wrestling, he was also a member of the Pirates football team.

The senior is a member of the National Honor Society and the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Academy at Merrillville, while also being involved in the Lake County 4-H organization for 10 years.

He is the son of Tom and Tracy Covaciu of Merrillville. Covaciu will be attending the University of Wisconsin, where he plans on studying Pre-Med and wrestling for the Badgers.

The award is named in honor of the IHSAA’s fourth commissioner (1976-1983) in 1985. Recipients of the award must be nominated by their principal and coach and must excel in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in the sport.

The IHSAA Executive Committee presented a scholarship check for $1,000 to Merrillville High School in the name of Jacob Covaciu. Since 1989, more than $840,000 in college scholarships have been presented to deserving high school students in Indiana.