MISHAWAKA — After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Al Smith Classic wrestling tournament returned to Mishawaka High School.
The 42nd edition of the 32-team event began Tuesday, Dec. 29. Penn (119.5 points) is fifth, Mishawaka (88) ninth and Jimtown (80.5) 12th to lead area teams.
The top four is Crown Point (176), Center Grove (169.5), Indianapolis Cathedral (132) and Bellmont (124.5).
Among those earning the right to compete again Wednesday, Dec. 30 are eight Kingsmen — freshman Ryan Schmidtendorff (106 pounds), sophomore Dylan Bennett (113), senior Matteo Vargo (126), sophomore Wesley Harper (138), sophomore Zymarion Hollyfield (145), junior A.J. Steenbeke (160), senior Juan Grange (220) and junior Peyton Kendall (285).
Vargo, Harper, Steenbeke and Grange all went 3-0 to stay in the championship bracket.
There are four wrestlers each in the winners’ and losers’ brackets in the 14 weight divisions.
“This is a very special tournament and not just because its been around so long,” said Penn coach Brad Harper. “It’s special because it’s a good indicator to see where you are for the state run.
“It gives you a good wake-up call to see what you need to work on.”
The host Cavemen’s four advancers are sophomore Beau Brabender (126), sophomore Zar Walker (132), junior Isaac Valdez (170) and junior Christian Chavez (195). Walker and Chavez were 3-0 Wednesday.
“It’s not our best showing here, but we have a lot of new faces in the lineup,” said Mishawaka coach Steve Sandefer. “I’m happy to be back here wrestling the Al Smith with all these awesome teams.
“It’s been a great primer in year’s past going into Team State (the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Duals) next week and going into the State Finals series.”
Jimtown wrestlers moving on to Day 2 are junior Mikey Kallimani (126) and senior Landon Buchanan (170). Buchanan came through Day 1 at 3-0.
Wawasee (76) is tied for 14th with second-day qualfiers in senior Dylan Tom (126), junior Logan Stuckman (132) and junior Gavin Malone (160).
Sophomore Anthony Popi (285) made it to the second day for 20th-place Plymouth (55).
NorthWood (54) is 21st on the strength of advancers in junior Kaden Lone (160) and senior Isaac Benjamin (195).
With a 3-0 day, junior Ashton Jackson (113) is still in the weight-class title hunt for LaPorte (53), which is tied for 22nd with Warsaw (no advancers). Jackson won a IHSAA state title in 2020-21.
Junior Brayden Jellison (285) enjoyed a 3-0 day moved on for 27th-place Elkhart (41).
Northridge (33) is 28th with no grappler getting to the second day.
Concord (31) is 30th with junior Armen Koltookian (195) moving on.
Riley (22) and Adams (6) are 31st and 32nd, respectively, with no advancing wrestlers.
Wednesday action is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The finals are slated for 1:30 p.m.
Complete results are on trackwrestling.com.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Penn fifth, Mishawaka ninth as high school wrestling Al Smith Invitational returns