Region wrestling won six state titles in 2010, its largest championship cache ever.
The mat rats could be doing some serious chest puffing this weekend at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with an array of contenders.
Here's a weight-by-weight rundown of the hopefuls:
106: Portage's Jacob Moran lost to Wheeler's Gio Diaz in Saturday's E.C. Central Semistate, but he wasn't ranked No. 1 by Indiana Mat for nothing. It won't be a surprise if he's wrestling under the lights, possibly against Diaz. "Same expectations," Diaz said. "Win state."
113: Last year's first- and third-place finishers at 106 are ranked first and third in the weight, but don't sleep on Lowell's unbeaten Andres Moreno, who just does not give up points. He's beaten Wheeler's Jose Diaz, who was No. 2 at the start of the tournament, three weeks in a row. "I've been taken down a few times, but it's mainly me taking bad shots, and them re-shooting," he said. "I expect to be in the finals. There are a lot of good opponents, but I've already looked at the other semistates and there's a lot of upsets going on. Honestly, it doesn't matter who you pull. If you're going to be the champion, you've to be able to beat them at some point."
120: Hobart's Tylor Triana has an overtime loss to top-ranked Hunter Watts of Jimtown. Portage's Brock Peele edged Triana in the semistate. "I'm going to try to score as many team points as possible, win a title for myself and help the team win one as well," Peele said.
126: One of fourth-ranked Colin Poynter's losses was a one-pointer to top-ranked Asa Garcia of Avon. "Wrestling the toughest guys in the nation showed me how close I am," the Portage senior said. "It skyrocketed my practice. I'm going to be ready to go out and wrestle as hard as I can. If I do all the little things and the big things right, I'll be on top of the podium."
138: Portage's Kris Rumph has OT losses to both No. 2 Blake Mulkey of Brownsburg and No. 4 Zach Melloh of Cathedral. "When I came back (from a foot injury) for the Traicoff (tournament), I only had one good day of practice, then team state, I wasn't quite in the shape I wanted," Rumph said. "Now I'm on my game. I really want to win a state title. A lot of people are counting on me and I don't want to let them down."
145: Portage's Kasper McIntosh, a three-time medalist, is ranked No. 1 and has been barely challenged. Asked to fill in the blank to the sentence, "Kasper McIntosh will win state if…," he answered, "Keep on my offense. My defense is so good, it's hard for guys to come back on me. That's a big thing for me."
152: Brownsburg's Brayton Lee has won state titles already and is No. 1 in the nation in some rankings and C.P.'s Noah Lamore would love to have a shot at him. "I'm going to peak out at 'The Bank,'" Lamore said. "If you win '52 (this year), you're going to be remembered for a while. I don't hide from opponents. I want to face the best guys." Lamore nipped Portage's No. 3 D.J. Washington at semistate and Washington is capable of a deep run.
160: Chesterton's third-ranked Diego Lemley, who has taken two of three from C.P.'s Oszkar Kasch in the postseason, has a 5-3 loss to No. 1 Gleason Mappes of Center Grove, so he's right there. "Mentally, I was a little more hungry last year," Lemley said. "I've got to find that again. I'm regaining my focus. I'm excited."
170: Hobart's No. 2 and undefeated Zack Fattore is right in the hunt with top-ranked Noah Warren (Perry Meridian) and No. 3 Carson Brewer (Avon). He has faced neither. "I have so much more I haven't shown yet," Fattore said. "I just need to find a way to open up my offense more."
182: Chesterton's Cade Girgenti is ranked eighth, so he's a little off the radar, which is just how he wants it. "I like being the underdog," he said. "I'm gonna shock some people. It's fun to show people up."
195: Trojans teammate Lucas Davison, unbeaten and ranked No. 1, smiles at the notion that his coronation is a mere formality. "I'm relieved I've got just five good days of practice in front of me. I can just focus on that, relax a little more and get down to business," he said. "(State) is magical. There are so many people. There's no beating all the fans. It's a lot of fun. I really can't wait. I heard one time (from Purdue assistant Tyrel Todd), in the room, you make it happen so on the mat you can let it happen. Just wrestling free."
220: Lawrenceburg's Mason Parris, a two-time champ, is a huge favorite. Merrillville's Brandon Streck hopes to have the last crack at him. "State finals," Streck said. "I've been there twice already, so I feel pretty good."
285: Eli Pokorney has the chance to put the exclamation point on a big Saturday night for Chesterton. He's unbeaten and ranked No. 2, having just bested No. 1 Isaiah McWilliams of South Bend Washington, 4-1. "Mentally, I feel like I'm the best out there," Pokorney said.