For wrestling regional competitors, it's win or go home

Feb. 1—The regionals on Saturday are the least complex of the high school wrestling postseason events.

If you wrestle and win, you have your ticket to the semistate the following week. If you lose, you pack your gear and go home.

"The regional is an exciting tournament," said coach Gabe Cook of Terre Haute South, which will have 14 of his wrestlers (there are only 14 weight classes) in action Saturday at Bloomington South. "The first round is an elimination round, so we have to be ready."

"We are excited for the challenge," said coach Beau Pingleton of Terre Haute North, which has six wrestlers competing. "We are looking forward to competing and seeing all of our wrestlers' effort pay off this postseason."

The Braves and Patriots will join Northview and Sullivan among the Wabash Valley teams competing Saturday at Bloomington North. Four teams from the Wabash River Conference (North Vermillion, South Vermillion, Riverton Parke and Parke Heritage) will compete in the same format at North Montgomery.

While the first-round matches Saturday are do or die, for the survivors of them, the work is just beginning. Two more matches will follow Saturday to sort out first through fourth place and those places determine the opposition the following week (first place wrestles a fourth place, etc.).

"We are wrestling the best we have all year and I feel like we are peaking at the right time," Pingleton said.

"Every one of our guys has a great opportunity to advance," said Cook.

"They know this and they are dialed in on what they need to do."

Admission at all IHSAA regionals is $10 per spectator, with children 5 and under getting in free.

Qualifiers from the Bloomington South Regional will move on to the Evansville Reitz Semistate on Feb. 10.

Those advancing out of the North Montgomery Regional will go to the New Castle Semistate on the same date.