By Chris Parker & Zach Mason
The area is sending three wrestlers to the Class 1 state wrestling championship bouts on Saturday. All three are familiar with championship Saturday, but none have yet to ascend to the top of the podium.
Warsaw’s Kolby Estes (two-time runner-up), Seneca Levi Connelly (two-time runner-up) and Dayton Fields (one-time runner-up) will look to take one step up to the top of the podium this year.
Estes has used his two title bout losses as extra motivation to train harder to get his state championship as a senior.
“It has just made me work really hard to make sure I don’t take second again. It drives me every day knowing that those two years felt really bad,” Estes said.
Estes had no trouble in his semifinal against Mid-Buchanan’s Creed Webster in a 15-0 tech fall at the 5:39 mark of the match.
The 152-pound senior improved to 45-2 on the season. He will face Whitfield’s Matthew Schueddig in the championship match.
The Warsaw star won’t alter his game plan or style for this year’s title bout.
“A lot of people go out there with a game plan for specific opponents, but I just go out there and wrestle my match and not worry about what they are doing,” Estes said.
Connelly, a senior, had a similarly smooth semifinal at 106 pounds where he pinned Rockport’s Ethan Wood at the 3:39 mark of the match to improve to 46-4 on the season. He will face Whitfield freshman Evan Binder in the title bout.
Fields’ spot in the finals was far from assured, as he drew the tough task of facing Whitfield’s Zac Russell who is a defending state champion. He got off to a quick start with a takedown at the 1:12 mark of the first period, which was exactly to plan.
“I knew I had to score in the first period. He likes to sit back and wait, just like me. So it was important to get in and get the early takedown and take the lead. … At the end of the match I was just trying to not give up any big points. I wanted to go bottom so I could get my one, and then I know I would be good once I got on my feet,” Field said.
The strategy helped him finish off a 3-2 decision to get back to the state title match. He will face Lathrop sophomore Dorian Walters who has a record of 48-1.
As a team, Seneca sits in third at 100.5 points. Whitfield is out in first with 166.5 points. Lathrop is in second at 106 points.