Varsity wrestlers qualify for State

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Jacob Kleimola (11) attempts to pin his Valparaiso opponent. Kleimola qualified for the State tournament and will wrestle at Bankers Life Fieldhouse next weekend.

Maddie Hirschfield

The Merrillville High School gymnasium was filled with screaming fans, excited wrestlers and a mix of emotions during the Semi-State wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 13. Out of the five wrestlers that the Indians brought to the tournament, three qualified for State.

Starting at 8:30 a.m., the first of four rounds began. The first two rounds were single elimination, meaning that if a wrestler lost, they would not continue on to the State tournament. This was a heartbreaking situation for many of the senior wrestlers who did not make it past these rounds. After winning the first two rounds, a wrestler was automatically qualified for State, and the remaining two rounds were used for seeding purposes in the State tournament.

Branden Truver (12), Kodie Christenson (12) and Jacob Kleimola (11) are the Indians headed to the State tournament. After a forfeit in the first round, Truver beat his Wawasee and Hammond Clark opponents to get to the finals match, where he lost after a tight battle against Portage’s Gaige Torres with a 8-9 decision. Truver received second in the 126-pound weight class. Christenson beat his Logansport and Crown Point opponents before losing in his third round, putting him in the third place finals match. Christenson received third place in the 152-pound weight class after beating Andrean’s Mike Krzyston with a 3-1 decision. Kleimola dominated his Valparaiso and Harrison opponents before losing in a tough battle against Chesterton’s Andrew Davison in the third round, putting him in the third place finals match. Kleimola received fourth place in the 182-pound weight class.

The 2015 IHSAA State tournament will take place on Friday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 21, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.