INDIANAPOLIS — With a chance at a state title in the balance, Avon’s Guy Henson and Cascade’s Zach Batts returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the state finals on Saturday after opening round wins on Friday.
Unfortunately, both seniors ran into very tough competition in the quarterfinals and were unable to advance to the semi-finals. Henson went on to finish fifth and Batts took sixth, becoming the first Cascade wrestler to place at state.
Batts (145 pounds) drew 2013 state champion Tommy Forte to start the day and was held scoreless in an 8-0 decision. Forte went on to finish as the state runner-up.
“He’s pretty tough and good,” Batts said. “He’s methodical and just grinds you down.”
Henson battled with undefeated Cathedral heavyweight Wesley Bernard, but was pinned in the second period. Bernard went on to win the heavyweight championship.
“Bernard is extremely tough and it’s one of those things you wish you could go back and try a few things differently,” Henson said.
Both battled back and won their wrestle-back matches and earned a spot to take the highest position possible after losing their matches.
Batts won a 5-2 decision over Fisher’s Jordan Lile, setting up the final match of his prep career with Merrillville’s Isaac Rentas. Batts fell by major decision, 15-4, to Rentas and had problems with his style of wrestling.
“(Rentas) was really funky and I hadn’t really experienced anything like that before,” Batts said. “To his credit, he’s really tough, wrestled well and scrapped.
“It’s rewarding to be here and a weight off my chest. It’s nice to see all those years of wrestling pay off.”
Henson won an overtime decision over Jeffersonville’s Gavin Jolley-Little to reach the fifth/sixth place match with Greenfield Central’s Tyler Beeson. Henson caught the Greenfield Central grappler in a side headlock and pinned him in the second period, celebrating with a gymnastic round-off in the center of the mat.
“He pinned me earlier in the year and I just wanted to avenge that loss,” Henson said. “It was important to me to beat him.
”I never really thought I would get this far, it was really rough this year.”
Both grapplers took different paths with Batts wrestling all four years at Cascade and Henson transferring in this year to Avon, and each coach will miss what they contributed to the wrestling room.
“Zach brings a lot of leadership and hard work while setting the tone in practices and meets,” Cascade coach Travis Hutchison said. “He’s a great kid and deserves everything he got this year. He stepped up for the program and we’re proud of him.”
Said Avon coach Israel Blevins, “Guy’s won a lot of matches for us and brought consistency at that weight for sure. Heavyweight is an important weight to have consistency. Guy’s the only one we had in that spot there, so search now goes on.”
Cathedral won the team championship by 13 points with Franklin (60) placing second and Yorktown (55) taking third.