By MATT KOESTERS
INDIANAPOLIS — Jeffersonville’s Alonzo Shepherd placed sixth and Elijah Curtley finished seventh in their respective weight classes at the IHSAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday.
Shepherd, a senior, dropped his first match of the day to returning state champion Mason Todd of Pendleton Heights in a 5-2 decision. Shepherd trailed by just 3-2 until the final 30 seconds of the match, Jeffersonville coach Danny Struck said.
Shepherd handily won his second match of the day against Ft. Wayne Snyder’s Erique Early, picking up a 7-0 decision before falling to Castle’s Luke Welch in a 1-0 decision. It was the third time that Shepherd and Welch had faced off, with Welch winning by one point in each match.
“It was very hard on me. I don’t have any kids, for 10 years, every weekend I’d spend the weekend with Shepherd,” Struck said. “It was like my senior son graduating. I don’t know. I think I took it harder than he did. It wasn’t the loss. It was the last match.”
Curtley also dropped his first match, losing by pinfall to the nation’s top high school wrestler at 195 pounds, Mitch Sliga of Fischers.
Curtley lost in the next match to Avon’s Dylan Jones in a 5-4 decision before locking up seventh with a 4-2 win over Taylor DeLong of Westfield.
Shepherd finishes his career with 189 wins to his credit. He is a three-time state qualifier, a four-time regional and sectional champion and a three-time Hoosier Hills Conference champion. Shepherd has been named to the All-American and Academic All-State team twice. Shepherd will attend Indiana University.
“(I’m) honored to have coached that kid,” Struck said.
Curtley finishes his season at 37-6. He’s a two-time Hoosier Hills Conference, sectional and regional champion, and a three-time semistate qualifier. Curtley has also made Academic All-State twice and is a two-time state champion in Greco-Roman wrestling.
“He’s been a handful to coach but a lot of fun to coach,” Struck said. “So we’ll be missing him.”