ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- Because of the discontinuation of the dual-meet portion of the state wrestling tournament, teams winning sectionals Saturday won't have the team regional to look forward to next week. But that didn't dampen the spirit of eighth-ranked Hamilton Southeastern Saturday.
The Royals convincingly won the Zionsville Sectional, finishing with 206.5 points, well ahead of the host school's 160.5.
"This is pretty exciting," said first-year Hamilton Southeastern coach Kyle Poyer. "We felt like we missed out on an opportunity (in the team tournament), but we still can progress through the individual tourney. And if we can get five or six guys down to state, then maybe we can make something happen there."
A state team title will still be awarded based on individual results; it was only the dual-meet event that was eliminated.
The top four individual finishers in the sectional advance, and the Royals will take 10 wrestlers to the North Montgomery Regional Saturday. Westfield, Zionsville and Fishers advanced eight each.
Four HSE wrestlers won titles. Fifth-ranked Jack Chastain improved to 31-0 with a 12-3 win against Zionsville's Mitch Weber at 113 pounds, while No. 11 Chase Watson moved to 31-2 with a 9-4 win against Lebanon's Austin Smith at 138.
At 152, No. 8 Jackson Bennett downed Carmel's John Theriot 5-1. And at 170, No. 3 Austin Neibarger (30-1) won impressively, pinning fourth-ranked Jeffery Scott of Clinton Central with 14 seconds left in the second period.
In one of the day's highest-profile matches between two returning state placers, Western Boone's top-ranked Austin McCloskey improved to 36-0 with a 5-4, double-overtime win against HSE's third-ranked John Tatom. McCloskey's winning point came with three seconds left when Tatom (29-2) was called for stalling for the second time.
"It's probably going to be me and him in the state championship," McCloskey said. "We should see each other three more times the next three weekends. A match like that just prepares you more for the next one."
Fishers defending state champ Mitch Sliga -- who hasn't lost since his sophomore year -- rolled through the field, picking up two first-period pins before downing HSE's Jeff Dixon (24-7) in 3:15. The top-ranked 195-pounder in the state, Sliga improved to 38-0.
"Dixon is someone I've wrestled a lot of times," Sliga said. "He's sort of a measuring stick for me. . . . I would definitely say I improved today."
Sliga's teammate, 182-pound Seth Riley, also won a title, topping Western Boone's Jonathan Morales 5-2 in the finals.
Zionsville and Westfield each had two winners. Zionsville's Jacob Aven topped Frankfort's Cameron Risse 11-6 at 220 pounds, while Austin Brewer edged Westfield's A.J. Gilchrist 3-2 at 285.
Westfield's 13th-ranked Evan Eldred rallied from a 7-4 deficit in the third period by pinning Zionsville's Preston Mantel with just nine seconds remaining. And at 126, A.J. Belden beat HSE's Keegan Stansberry 11-5.
Tenth-ranked Collin Campbell of Lebanon took down Westfield's No. 19 Michael Steele with five seconds left in overtime to win 7-5 at 145 pounds. Carmel's Karl Wilhelm edged Westfield's Zachary Steele 4-2 in overtime at 106 pounds.
At 132, Frankfort's 12th-ranked Hugo Perez downed No. 15 Mitch Snyder of HSE 7-2.