INDIANAPOLIS – Déjà vu stayed away as long as East Noble's Garrett Pepple could keep it away, out there in the familiar spotlight of the state wrestling championship round. But in the end it took him down.
There were less than 30 seconds left in the 113-pound final Saturday night in Banker's Life Fieldhouse, and the match between Pepple and D.J. Smith of Franklin was even at 3. And then Smith saw the slimmest of openings, exploded into Pepple's legs, and scored the takedown that took him to a state title, 5-3, and sent Pepple home one step from the top of the podium for a second straight year.
"I had the attitude I wasn't gonna lose again," Pepple said in the back hallway, 20 minutes or so later. "But …"
Besides Pepple, Connor Knapp finished third at 120 pounds, losing on a pin to unbeaten, two-time state champion Chad Red of New Palestine in the semifinals, then handling DeLaweren Gayfield ofConcord14-2 in the third-place bout.
Brandon Joest, meanwhile, finished seventh at 220, giving East Noble three state placers for the first time ever.
"Tremendous day for East Noble wrestling," Hoffar said. "For us to get three place finishers, a second place and one in the finals, those are great days. That's hard to beat for us."
Elsewhere, Kyle Jolas of Huntington North finished fifth at 160 pounds, and two other area wrestlers reached the semifinals.
Austin Bauer ofAngola– who came into the day 41-9 – lost on a technical fall at 152 to Daren Schurg ofCrown Point, then lost to Tristan Macri of Mishawaka 5-1 in the third-place match. Snider's Erique Early was beaten 4-3 by Zachary Davis of Penn at 126, then lost on a technical fall it Nick Lee of Evansville Mater Dei in the third-place match.
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