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On the road to a championship?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

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Across the state, wrestlers are preparing to compete on the stage that they've been preparing for their entire lives.

The IHSAA state wrestling championships at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

For Northview senior Corey Grigsby, who sports as impressive a resume as any competitor in the state finals, his debut will come versus Crown Point junior Brett Mellis (32-8).

Grigsby's road to the state finals comes with a bevy of championships this season.

In a December 4 tournament at Westfield High School, Grigsby went 5-0 with a pair of decisions, three wins by fall and a forfeit for his first title of the year. At the Northview Invitational in December, Grigsby earned three pins and a decision for a 130-pound championship. After a disappointing finish at the Mooresville Holiday Classic, took came back even more impressive at the Sullivan Winter Duals with four straight, first period pins for the title.

With the postseason arriving, Grigsby took home another tourney championship with a pair of falls in the first two rounds and a technical fall, 23-5, in the championship which propelled him into the IHSAA postseason on a strong note and an eight-match winning streak.

Grigsby's sectional performance did not disappoint as he began competition with a 59 second fall over Jon Ellinger of Sullivan and followed up with a 12-6 decision over Dan VanGilder of West Vigo.

In the sectional championship, Grigsby downed Bloomington South's Tony Withrow in what will go down as one of the most gutsy performances in school wrestling history.

After an opening exchange in which Grigsby came out on the losing end of a scrum on the outer edge of the circle, a bloodied Grigsby had to battle, not only the talented Withrow, but a steadily bleeding lip that required stitches after the match. With his five minutes of blood time very nearly up, Grigsby capped a 5-2 decision just 2.43 seconds away from disqualification due to the time stoppages for quelling the flow of blood from his lip.

The sectional championship gave Grigsby a berth in the Bloomington South Regional where he earned a first round fall over Josh Cardinal of Jennings County and followed with a 4-3 decision against Brad Balmer of Columbus North to set up another matchup with Withrow. In the finals, Grigsby won his second straight championship bout versus the Cougar, this time by a 12-4 count.

On a 14-match winning streak, Grigsby won his first two matches in the Evansville Reitz Semistate before dropping his third straight championship match against Withrow.

Despite the loss, Grigsby's second place finish sends him into the state finals against Mellis, who placed third at the Merrillville Semistate.

There will be eight state-ranked wrestlers in the 130-pound class at the IHSAA State Finals. Mellis is No. 11 according to the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches' Association. The winner between Grigsby and Mellis will face off with Matt Irwin (36-1) off Bellmont who is rated as No. 2 in the state and Ronald Sampson (32-9) of Warren Central.

With 16 competitors in the weight class, two victories would guarantee a spot on the podium.

A total of 224 wrestlers in 14 weight classes will compete on Friday and Saturday during the 67th Annual IHSAA Individual State Finals. Five returning champions, all seniors, are in the field, headlined by Griffith senior Angel Escobedo who is 45-0 in the 135 pound class and is attempting to become just the seventh four-time state champion in Indiana high school wrestling history and the third in the past two seasons. In his career, Escobedo is an incredible 219-1.

Competition begins on Friday at 6 p.m. with two sessions on Saturday slated for 9:30 a.m. (Quarterfinals) and 5 p.m. for Consolations. Finals begin at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is $8 per session or $18 for all sessions.

Western Indiana Conference Championships

130lb Weight Class

First Round:

Corey Grigsby (Northview) defeated Mark Huff (Sullivan), fall 1:22

Second Round:

Grigsby defeated Jake Ferguson (Edgewood), fall 1:09

Champioinship

Grigsby defeated Dan VanGilder (West Vigo), tech. fall 23-5

Northview Sectional

First Round

Corey Grigsby (Northview) defeated Jon Ellinger (Sullivan), fall 0:59

Second Round

Grigsby defeated Dan VanGilder (West Vigo), decision 12-6

Championship

Grigsby defeated Tony Withrow (Bloomington South), decision 5-2

Bloomington South Regional

First Round

Corey Grigsby defeated Josh Cardinal (Jennings County), fall 3:49

Semifinals

Grigsby defeated Brad Balmer (Columbus North), decision 4-3

Championshp

Grigsby defeated Tony Withrow (Bloomington South), decision 12-4

Evansville Reitz Semistate

First Round

Grigsby wins

Second Round

Grigsby wins

Championship

Tony Withrow defeats Grigsby via fall

-Grigsby 2nd place at semistate, faces Brett Mellis of Crown Point in state finals first round.

- Grigsby's current record prior to state finals: 35-6.

-- Holds Northview career victory record at 128.



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