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LaHue takes fourth, strives for top

LaHue takes fourth, strives for top
LaHue takes fourth, strives for top
At 120 pounds, Corydon CentralÂ’s Bailey LaHue lifts YorktownÂ’s Schuyler Phillips to eventually turn him over, scoring two points. LaHue would go on to lose the match but finished fourth in the state. Photos by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

A rather stoic Bailey LaHue sat outside the entry way to the wrestling mats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Saturday.
From his spot, back against the wall, LaHue could see the consolation matches going on after his 2013 season came to a close moments before at the state finals. Despite earning the highest placing in Corydon Central’s program history, taking fourth, LaHue was somber about the weekend.
His expectations were to wrestle under center stage during the championship round, but the sophomore’s goal fell short.
‘It’s not the weekend he wants,’ Corydon Central coach Richard Clipp said. ‘It’s still pretty good. There’s a whole bunch of wrestlers not in this position.’
‘I know I beat some good wrestlers,’ LaHue said. ‘It was a good season and I have a lot to improve for next year, but I want to be on the top of that podium.’
With a solid 7-2 decision over South Adams’ L.J. Moser (who entered the match with a 29-1 record) in the quarterfinal, LaHue took another step forward in the 120-pound bracket.
In the semi-final, LaHue circled off against an opponent he wrestled at the Old Capital Invitational last season at 113, Deondre Wilson. Now adorning a Warren Central singlet, Wilson, who previously wrestled at Indianapolis Arsenal Technical, pulled off a come-from-behind 6-3 decision.
‘(LaHue) ended up in a whizzer, and it was all lickety split,’ Clipp said. ‘They scrambled, there was a flurry, then all of a sudden, boom, there was a roar from the crowd and it wasn’t for us. It was kind of a bummer. It started with about 30 seconds left, then there was about 20 seconds when it happened.’
LaHue led 3-2, but the late move by Wilson not only scored two points for a takedown, but also two for a near fall. Wilson, ranked No. 2 in the state, held on to the lead to win 6-3.
‘I was up 3-1, then I kind of cut him because I felt better on my feet against him,’ LaHue said. ‘I got in a bad scramble and got caught in the bad part of the scramble.’
Wilson, a junior, went on to defeat Lowell freshman Drew Hughes in the championship, 6-2, to take the state title at 120. Wilson closed his season with a 38-0 record.
Wrestling in the consolations, No. 7-ranked LaHue took on the top-ranked wrestler in the state, Yorktown’s Schuyler Phillips.
LaHue fell behind early in the first period, trailing 4-0. He gave up a quick reversal to Phillips to start the second before coming to life. LaHue scored four points in the second period, forcing Phillips to the defensive position.
Phillips, however, would hold on for a 7-4 decision.
‘He was pretty good,’ LaHue said. ‘I went out there kind of slow, and he hit me right off with a slide-by. If I wouldn’t have given up that first takedown, I probably would have been in better shape.’
Likely still on LaHue’s mind was the match against Wilson.
‘I know I should have been in the finals,’ he said. ‘It was tough on me. I’m coming back for No. 1 next year for sure.’
Clipp said the same of his wrestler after the season ended against Phillips.
‘This doesn’t look anything like what the heartbreak was after the Deondre match,’ Clipp said. ‘Whether it be third or fourth place, he’s thinking about that match. He was almost there.’
While the final two matches weren’t wins for LaHue, the first two at the state meet were. On Friday, LaHue was dominant against Westfield’s Evan Eldred.
After feeling his opponent out in the opening period, LaHue scored a couple three-point near falls before winning by majority decision, 13-1. The Friday win earned LaHue a return Saturday.
In the quarters, the match against Moser was a rematch of the first round of state at 113 last year. Then, LaHue won by pin, but this year he took a 7-2 decision.
‘Friday was a pretty tough match and wrestled smart,’ LaHue said. ‘I waited to open him up and took good shots. I was able to score some back points in the match and ride him out. … Moser was a tough match. I wanted to wrestle hard, get the first take-down.’
LaHue closed his sophomore season with a stout 40-4 record.
‘He is a special kid,’ Clipp said. ‘When it comes to wrestling, his desire, intensity and passion are unquestioned. He works that way in practice and in matches.’
Two of LaHue’s other four losses came to a semi-state qualifier (Floyd Central’s Austin Ward at 126) and the third-place finisher at Kentucky’s state finals (Henry Clay’s Michael Whelan).
LaHue has accumulated an 85-7 record in two seasons.
‘Take a look at the people that have beaten him,’ Clipp said. ‘He’s lost to Deondre twice. (Phillips) is pretty good and is No. 1. He’s faced some tough competition.’
To take fourth place at state seems like a good step forward after placing fifth last year at 113, but it didn’t come easily off the mat.
LaHue went through a surgery in the offseason that kept him off the mat and out of physical activity through the spring, summer and into fall. It was a grind to not only get back into shape and cut weight, but to return to his high level of wrestling form.
‘We talked in the practice room, to come back and get 40 wins after not being able to work at it in the offseason is pretty impressive,’ Clipp said. ‘Forty and four, how can that not be impressive?’
LaHue had confidence he would make it all the way back in a short time frame. He wrestled at a higher weight class than 120 for part of the season while getting back into shape and cutting to a comfortable target weight.
‘I didn’t get a chance to wrestle at all until a month or two before the season started,’ he said. ‘It was hard getting back to full range of motion in my arm. I knew I could pull through and be better.’
LaHue knows he’s beat some great wrestlers in two years, but he wants to beat them all and stand at the top next year.
Team results (top 10) ‘ 1. Perry Meridian 102.5, 2. Yorktown 62, 3. Mishawaka 53, 4. Indianapolis Cathedral 45, 5. Franklin Community 41, 6. Warren Central 40, 7t. Fishers 36, 7t. New Palestine 36, 9t. Bloomington South 31, 9t. Merrillville 31 (37t. Corydon Central 9).
State championship match results ‘ 106: Chad Red (New Palestine) dec. Garrett Pepple (East Noble), 4-0; 113: Stevan Micic (Hanover Central) dec. Zachary Davis (Penn), 9-7; 120: Deondre Wilson (Warren Central) dec. Drew Hughes (Lowell) 6-2; 126: Nick Crume (Jimtown) dec. Luke Welch (Castle), 3-1 OT; 132: Cody LeCount (Perry Meridian) tech fall Grant Martsolf (Mishawaka), 16-1; 138: Tommy Forte (Mishawaka) def. Luke Blanton (Alexandria), 12-7; 145: Neal Molloy (Danville) dec. Eli Walker (Yorktown), 4-3; 152: Josh Farrell (Greenfield-Central) dec. Vinny Corsaro (Indianapolis Cathedral), 3-2; 160: Riley McClurg (Perry Meridian) dec. Austin McCloskey (Western Boone), 2-1; 170: Bobby Steveson (Merrillville) dec. Riley Lefever (Fort Wayne Carroll), 5-4; 182: Matt Hurford (Culver Community) dec. Jake Masengale (Perry Meridian), 9-4; 195: Mitch Sliga (Fishers) pin Jaylin Allen (South Bend Clay), 0:31; 220: Gelen Robinson (Lake Central) dec. Fletcher Miller (Kokomo), 7-2; 285: Donte Winfield (Perry Meridian) dec. Joseph Garland (Rushville), 5-1.