Rotert earns 100th win, Owls push three to semistate



Win and you’re through.

Those were the stakes facing Seymour wrestlers during Saturday’s Jeffersonville regional: Claim victory in your first match of the meet and you’re on to Evansville and one step closer to state.

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For senior Jake Rotert, the lone returning semistate qualifier for the Owls, he needed just two wins to reach the century mark for his career.

In just 3 minutes and 10 seconds Rotert grabbed win No. 99, and secured his spot to the Ford Center, in the quarterfinal round of Jeffersonville’s Austin Smith. He picked up his 100th in the semifinal against a familiar foe in New Washington’s Austin Taylor.

Those two met in the 160-pound regional final a year ago, a match Rotert won by fall in five minutes. Taylor took an early advantage, looking for revenge, but Rotert fought back to win via 8-4 decision.

However, Rotert was not able to secure win No. 101, falling to Columbus East’s Sam Morrill in the regional championship match by fall (2:42) in the second period. It’s the third time the two have met this season and Morrill has come out on top each time.

Still, Rotert should likely get a decent draw at this weekend’s semistate. As a junior, he fell just short of making it to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, losing in the ticket round to Brownsburg’s Peyton Asbury.

Joining Rotert in Evansville are Sam Castetter and Nate Banister.

Nerves, admittedly, got the best of both wrestlers as they looked to punch their ticket to semistate.

Castetter worked his opponent from Silver Creek before finally settling in for a third-period fall (4:52).

With the pressure of winning that first match off of his back, he was free to wrestle his normal game going forward. He drew a tough second-round matchup with Jeffersonville’s Adonis Boyd, who went on to win the 126-pound regional title, but bounced back against Switzerland County’s Austin Wolf for third place via a 4-0 decision.

“It feels pretty good,” Castetter said of qualifying for semistate. “I wish I would’ve scored a little bit more, but I’m happy with what I got.”

Banister followed up his teammate’s win with one of his own at 132 pounds.

Downing the Pacers’ Jacob Wolf by 5-3 decision, Banister said he was dog tired after the match because of how hard he had to work.

The elder wolf brother got the best of Banister in the first period, and nearly came away with a pin, but the Owl senior would not be denied.

It’s the third time Banister and Wolf have faced off this season.

“When he got me on my back there, I was scared I might get pinned, but I kept on fighting and got off,” Banister said. “Every time we wrestle, it’s always a good match and I don’t know what happened, but he just got the upper hand on me in the first period.”

The semifinal match for Banister didn’t go the way he had hoped, falling in the third period to Providence’s Chase Aldridge, who went on to win the regional title.

His first match of the day was a dogfight as well, but took down Charlestown’s Jakob Lewellen by a 5-2 decision to book a trip to Evansville.

“It feels really good, honestly,” Banister said of qualifying for semistate. “Definitely had some fun today, but that second match, when I lost, was pretty tough. Other than that, it was a lot of fun and I can’t be mad about it.”

The Owls brought eight to Jeffersonville, but Ro Baltazar (106), Ty Woods-Weddell (120), Ben Kriete (138), Jake Kriete (145) and Carlos Ortiz (285) all came up short.

Jake Kriete and Woods-Weddell came painstakingly close to winning their first matches of the meet.

Woods-Weddell was leading 6-3 late in the second period, but Tell City’s Kelby Glenn earned a reversal and turned it into a pin in the final 16 seconds of the stanza for the win.

Kriete fought all the way back from being down 4-1 to tie it up at six in the final 30 seconds of his quarterfinal match. In the last 12 seconds, he was called for moving too early three times, giving his opponent two penalty points and the victory.

The three Owl survivors now have to win two matches this weekend at the Evansville semistate to earn a trip to Indianapolis. Wrestling at the Ford Center begins at 10 a.m. EST.

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