The wrestling season advances to crunch time this weekend as Northview advances three competitors to the semistate level on Saturday afternoon at Roberts Stadium in Evansville.
"All three are competitors," said Northview coach Dan Mikesell of a pair of seniors and a sophomore.
Seniors Corey Grigsby and Tony Sanabria and the sophomore Dean, all are either one or two wins away from the state finals at Conseco Fieldhouse in two weeks.
"At this point we're at the point where its fun," commented Mikesell. "All three have the right attitude and are focused on winning the semistate rather than being worried about losing."
Grigsby is the Bloomington South Regional champion at 130 pounds after defeating Tony Withrow of Bloomington South in the championship match for the second straight week.
"Cory (Grigsby) is looking good," noted Mikesell.
After a 5-2 decision over Withrow two weeks ago in the sectional championship match, Grigsby scored a third period takedown and three points on a nearfall to pick up a 12-4 decision. The regional title is very important for seeding purposes as Grigsby will now need just one win on Saturday for a state finals berth.
"I feel like I just need to wrestle good and leave everything on the mat," said Grigsby. "(A state finals berth) would just be unbelievable. I've been working so hard for this, I just can't explain how it would feel (to make it to the finals)."
In his opening match, Grigsby will face the winner of Evansville Mater Dei's Jacob Herman (23-7) and New Albany's Mitch Riley. With last week's wins, Grigsby became Northview's career leader in victories with 126 currently, surpassing 2004 graduate and state finalist, Austin Staley. Grigsby will bring a 33-5 mark into the match.
For Tony Sanabria, his third place match provided not only one of the day's more exciting matches, but also a degree of revenge.
Sanabria earned his berth to the semistate with a victory against Sullivan's Tom Nero who had denied Sanabria a chance at a sectional championship with a semifinal pin.
With two prior victories this season against Nero, Sanabria added a third on Saturday with a first period takedown. Holding a 2-1 lead into the third period, Sanabria went up 4-1 with a reversal. Nero would escape to close the gap to 4-2 on an escape and to 4-3 with a penalty point against Sanabria. But the Northview senior would close the door late with a takedown for the 6-4 victory.
"Yeah that was really great," Sanabria commented about the regional victory over Nero. "I need to wrestle hard and be in better shape (than his opponent)."
Sanabria will get a match versus Sean Huffman of Providence who placed second at the Jeffersonville Regional. Currently with a 37-5 mark, Sanabria will need at least two wins to reach Conseco Fieldhouse.
For Chris Dean, the road to the state finals begins with Evansville Reitz' Ryan Lux who sports a 42-3 mark this season.
"I just need to put my mind to it," said Dean about his matches in the semistate. "I need to visualize the wins. I think it would be the greatest thing in the world (to reach the state finals). This is what I've been working towards since seventh grade."
Dean is no stranger to tough matches after tying his match with Owen Valley's Casey Bybee in the third period and eventually defeating Bybee with an escape in the second overtime of his third place match at the regional.
"Chris Dean is really coming on right now," said Mikesell of his 28-11 second year grappler. "Coach Mikesell has really taken me to the next level," Dean said of the second year Northview coach. "He's an excellent coach."
The Knights will be competing in what Mikesell believes is one of the top semistate's in Indiana on the road to the state finals.
"Our semistate has 70 ranked wrestlers," noted Mikesell. "I think we're pretty good and we're definitely one of the reasons that the semistate is so good."
Competition at Roberts Stadium in the Evansville Reitz Semistate will begin at 9:30 a.m. Evansville time, but 10:30 a.m. according to central Indiana time.