Ruble places 4th, Macklin falls to 5th at IHSAA State

Staff Writer

     The two Adams County medalists, Jon Ruble of Bellmont and Logan Macklin of AC, held their own on Saturday, placing fourth and fifth as the Indiana High School wrestling season came to an end at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the medal stand. Cathedral came away with another state title in the team race, winning 13 of their first 16 matches to wrap up the title before the lights were turned off.

     Jon Ruble met some familiar opponents upon reaching the semis, falling to returning champ Jordan Slivka and Perry Meridian’s Brooks Davis to finish fourth, but it was the highest finish by a Bellmont wrestler since 2012 and a fitting achievement for the end of a great career. 89 career victories, a semi-state and regional title, and two sectional and conference championships culminated with a spot on the fourth-highest spot on the Bankers Life podium.

     Logan Macklin’s career also ended on a high-note, with two straight wins and a fifth-place medal. Finishing in the top-ten of AC’s all-time wins list, Macklin ended it all with a win over Floyd Central’s Jonathan Kervin. Macklin picked his spots and took the shots he needed to, as coach Tony Currie alluded to at last week’s semi-state, and got takedowns in the second and third period for the 6-4 win.

     “It feels good, honestly,” said Macklin. “To win these last two, knowing they were the last two I’m ever going to wrestle. It’s exciting for me. In the practice room, I wrestled with Blake Heyerly, a freshman, all year and I think my legacy will be what he does next year and the years after. Everybody in this program has been so good to me, the coaches, my teammates, my brother-in-law Matt Kaehr, it feels so good to finish here like this tonight.”

     After going winless on Friday night last year, Adams County fans engulfed several sections of Bankers Life Fieldhouse throughout the day in what was proportionally the largest crowd in the arena.

     Macklin ran into a buzzsaw in the morning round against the seasoned Antwaun Graves of Warren Central, ranked #5 in the state. An early fireman’s carry gave Graves a 2-0 lead and he added another two-pointer when he dumped Macklin off a single-leg with seconds remaining in the period.

     On their feet in the second, Macklin went muscle versus muscle against the Warrior wrestler and found himself quickly down 8-2. Macklin did his best to give Graves a ride, getting a stalling call along the way, but Graves was too much in the end, winning 11-3 with another takedown at the buzzer.

     Jon Ruble won the first quarterfinal match for Bellmont since Ruble was in fifth grade, when Ben Baker made the semifinals at 195 in 2012, with a thrilling 1-0 win over Brownsburg’s Peyton Asbury. Ranked 17th and coming in somewhat under the radar, Asbury could not find a shot against Ruble and the two were scoreless after the first two minutes.

     Asbury chose down in the second in what proved to be his downfall, as he resisted the leg-ride of Ruble for a while, requiring a few returns to the mat, but Ruble eventually settled in with the legs 40 seconds in. Ruble only allowed one restart after that when a stalemate was called, but the senior was in control the entire period, knowing his fortunes might require a 1-0 win.

     Ruble got his match-winning point early in the third and unlike Friday night, was aggressive enough on his feet to avoid any threat of a stalling call and defending every last-gasp attempt by the Brownsburg wrestler.

     Showing more emotion than perhaps all season, Ruble seemed to realize immediately what he had accomplished. A semi-state title put him in a position to perhaps punch above his weight as he leapfrogged several other wrestlers ranked ahead of him to reach the top four. Hugged by coaches Paul Gunsett and Tim Myers, it rightly appeared as if a lifetime of hard work had finally come to fruition and paid off in that one big, clutch win.

     “Watchin Jon is a lot like watching soccer, you have to appreciate the defense. I know a lot of people might not appreciate that style, but Jon is so dominant on top. He’s a hammer, even without scoring. It’s very entertaining to me to see how far he has come in his riding abilities. He basically prevents him from scoring a point, which allows him to win 1-0 and not need that takedown. He knows now he is one match away from under the lights.”

     Ruble came back in the semifinals against the same wrestler he faced on Friday night a year ago, defending State Champion Jordan Slivka of Cathedral. Toe to toe for two minutes with the champ, Ruble looked to be on his way to something special, but Slivka was in the right position with twenty seconds left and grabbed the opening takedown.

Perhaps the most outstanding leg-rider in the state, a 2-0 lead is like a ten-point lead for a wrestler of Slivka’s caliber. Ruble tried to match Slivka’s talent and did so for a good half-minute, but got too high with the legs in and was reversed by the champ. From there Slivka’s abilities led to a hard, painful turn and a fall with seven seconds remaining in the second period.

     Logan Macklin won his consolation semifinal with a fall after going scoreless through the first two periods other than his escape. Leavell leveled the match with a quick escape in the third and Macklin was hit with a stalling call. The call seemed to spark Macklin, who took the lead and turned Leavell quickly from an odd angle, tucking his opponent’s head under for a fall and a spot in the fifth-place match.

     The team race was again heavily affected by the decision of the IHSAA to not score the Friday night matches, leaving each wrestler without the two advancement points along with any bonus points they scored. That setback cost Brownsburg 16 points that would have been scored under normal rules as they won seven of nine matches on Friday night. Mater Dei and Cathedral were the only other teams to win five matches after both Clay and Kane Egli lost leads and their matches in overtime, making the team race much more interesting.

     Cathedral remained the favorite coming into the morning round, winning all five first-round matches. Four wrestlers were strong contenders for making the finals and all four made it to the finals, including Slivka’s win over Ruble. Roncalli, Mater Dei, and Avon all took their turns at the top of the leaderboard but after Slivka’s pin, no team was going to catch the Irish.

     So dominant was the semifinal round for Coach McGinley’s team that they appeared to not even need a point in the evening session to win the trophy, the third in school history and the second in a row.  That single point proved to be elusive to the Irish, however, as Lukasz Walendzak dropped his seventh-place match in overtime and Avon’s Jaden Reynolds scored a fall for fifth place at 138.

     Cathedral continued to need just one win to secure their title, but they failed to clinch in the 113 final when freshman phenom Jesse Mendez of Crown Point took out Zeke Seltzer for the third time in five months.

     Avon got the entire arena checking the team score when Asa Garcia won his third title with a quick pin call from official Greg Moe over Roncalli’s Alec Viduya to put the Orioles in a position to steal the title away from Cathedral with #1 Carson Brewer a heavy favorite to win later in the evening at 182 with the possibility of a fall also there.

     After Alex Mosconi gave up a takedown while trailing 3-2 in the final 30 seconds to Matt Lee of Mater Dei in the 145 final, it appeared as if Cathedral was in full meltdown-mode. Cooper Noehre of Greenfield-Central took down Elliott Rodgers of Cathedral with a minute remaining in the match to take a 7-4 lead and it appeared Noehre was on his way to claiming a state title by beating Rodgers for the second consecutive week.

     With his teammate Mosconi crying as he walked to the awards stand, Rodgers got one of the most memorable takedowns in recent years to stun the crowd in the final ten seconds of regulation, then scored another two midway through overtime.

     Not to be outdone, teammate Jordan Slivka put the icing on the cake for the north-side Indianapolis academy, pulling off his own come-from-behind victory for his second state title by defeating nationally-ranked DJ Washington of Portage, despite torn cartilage in his ribs, with a wild ten-point final period to win 12-7.

     Avon secured the runner-up trophy with the win by Brewer at 182, the first team trophy in the sport of wrestling for the Hendricks county school since they made the finals at Team State and lost to Brett Crousore’s loaded Lawrence North team 48-17 at Center Grove in 2005.