BLOOMINGTON — After last week’s sectional only two wrestlers remained in the postseason for the Sullivan wrestling team.
That number was cut in half on Saturday.
Lane Gilbert (120 pounds) and Lloyd Hauger (132) advanced to Saturday’s regional at Bloomington South.
But only Gilbert survived.
The Sullivan senior improved to 33-3 on the season with a trio of wins to claim the 120 regional championship. Gilbert has now won four regional championships — no other Sullivan grappler has won more than two.
Hauger had his season come to an end with a loss in the first round. The sophomore finishes the season with a record of 17-9.
Gilbert opened his tournament with a quick pin, earning him a spot in next weekend’s semistate. Gilbert recorded a takedown in the first 15 seconds and then earned a pin in 29 seconds to move to the semifinals.
Gilbert’s second match wasn’t near as fast, but it was just as dominant.
The 120-pounder recorded a takedown and two turns en route to a 7-0 lead after the first two-minute period. In the second, Gilbert started on bottom, got a quick reversal and picked up another pin with 56 seconds left in the period.
The win was his 32nd of the season and 129th for his career. The 129 wins surpassed Jade McCammon’s record for most career wins at SHS.
“That’s what we set out to do,” Sullivan head wrestling coach Roy Monroe said of Gilbert. We wanted to be the best that Sullivan has to offer and that is what we achieved today. I think we have achieved that in every possible way.”
Gilbert is glad the record is broken.
“Now I can get back to focusing on my other goals,” the senior said of the record.
In the finals, Gilbert earned an 8-4 win over Cameron Fogle of Southridge.
The regional champion mentioned he wrestled conservative in his final match.
“It was kind of slow,” Gilbert stated. “But I did what I needed to do. He was stronger than me, so I didn’t want to get caught in any throws or anything that could have put me in danger. He definitely slowed down the pace, but I just didn’t want to get out of any comfort zone.”
Gilbert picked up a takedown with 45 seconds left in the first period and led 2-1 heading to the second. The Sullivan grappler added to his lead with a reversal and a pair of takedowns in the second for an 8-3 lead which all but secured his fourth straight regional championship.
As for Hauger, the sophomore ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Coy Hammack of Tell City. Hammack — ranked No. 13 in the latest state rankings and a three-time state finalist — recorded eight takedowns before locking up a cradle for the pin with 22 seconds left in the first.
“That kid (Hammack) has been dominating wrestlers like that all year and for a long time,” Monroe said of the Tell City grappler. “I have known Coy since he was like six years old as he went to all of these tournaments with Lane. He eats, sleeps and breathes the sport and that is what it takes.
“Lloyd did not do anything wrong, he just got out gunned and out classed today.”
Monroe mentioned the last two weeks should serve as a learning tool for Hauger.
“This showed the importance of placing better in the sectional,” the veteran coach said. “Lloyd really needed to place third or better last week to avoid drawing a stud like he did today. But he is a good wrestler and it shows what he needs to do. He just has to climb the ladder now.”
Gilbert will be making his fourth straight semi-state appearance.
“We have four sectional (titles) and four regional (titles), now we want to go and get a fourth semi-state championship, " Monroe said. “It’s going to be tough, Lane has really elevated his level here of late and that is what you want to see as you approach the semistate.”
The top four wrestlers will advance to the IHSAA State Finals the following weekend.
Gilbert has won three straight semi-state titles and has placed at the state meet in each of his first three seasons.
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