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Gavin Lemen qualifies for Indiana National team

AVON — It was a significant weekend for Connersville Middle School student-athlete Gavin Lemen as he competed in the Indiana State Wrestling Association Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Finals in Avon.

Not only did the 14-year-old compete in the state finals, he placed second in the 110-pound weight class of the Schoolboy age group in both wrestling styles, which allowed him to qualify for a spot on the ISWA Indiana Nationals team.

It was an impressive feat for someone who has only been wrestling Greco-Roman and Freestyle for less than two months.

The state finals is used as a qualifier for the Indiana Nationals team. Team spots are given to the first and second place tournament finishers in each weight class and age group.

“Lemen was nervous going into the meet,” the young wrestler’s father and CMS wrestling coach Jon Lemen said. “We had tournaments all summer long and have had a tournament every weekend since the school season ended, but this tournament was different.”

“Right after school wrestling ended, we joined Legends of Gold Wrestling Academy, so he’s been training there for about a month and a half now. I think he was a bit surprised that he made it so far in the state finals because everyone he wrestled that day had placed in state the year before.”

The state finals began with the freestyle tournament on Saturday. Lemen won his first dual 10-0, but was defeated in his following match by Evan Stanley, 10-0, which forced him to have to win his next four matches to earn second place. He managed to pull it off and took the second place qualifying position.

Sunday was full of more competition with the Greco-Roman tournament. In his first match of the day, Lemen and his opponent were tied 7-7 but because Lemen had the first takedown, he won by criteria. This win was over Jacob Weaver, last year’s champion in both styles.

Lemen moved on to the championship match which was against Stanley, his only opponent from the freestyle tournament that defeated him. Stanley ended up pinning Lemen in one minute, 27 seconds, but coach Lemen was not shocked by the loss.

“Stanley is a national champion, and he’s placed at state since 2012, so he’s been wrestling for a long time,” Lemen said. “We were still trying to win the match, but we knew it was going to be tough.”

Stanley ended up taking the state finals title in both styles. Given the high caliber of the first place finisher, Lemen was very pleased with his second place medals.

“He was pretty excited, and I was surprised at how well he did too since he hasn’t been training in these styles for very long,” coach Lemen said. “He’s been training hard though, and since joining Legends of Gold he’s improved a lot.”

Lemen actually had to compete against his Legends of Gold teammate, Jack Davis, in both true second place matches throughout the weekend. Since Lemen finished second in both styles, he has the option to compete in both styles for the Indiana Nationals team. However, Lemen decided to compete in only one of the styles, so his second team spot would go to the third place wrestler, his friend and teammate Davis.

“Lemen knew his friend wanted a place on the Indiana team, so he gave up one of his spots so Davis could be on the team as well,” coach Lemen said. “He hasn’t decided which style he is going to be competing in yet.”

Having a spot on the Indiana Nationals team allows wrestlers to represent Indiana and compete in national tournaments against other state teams. However, Indiana wrestlers must compete in the Central Regionals tournament before taking part in any national competitions.

The 2021 Central Regional Championships are being held in Ft. Wayne from May 21st to 23rd. Once Lemen competes in regionals, he can then compete in the National Tournament in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin on June 24th to 26th.

Now that Lemen will be able to compete in national tournaments, there will definitely be more to come from the talented Connersville wrestler in the near future.

Play Ball!

Fayette County CASA team member Jayden Clark throws a ball from centerfield during opening day of the Babe Ruth baseball season on Saturday.

Local roundup

Spartan softball

sweeps doubleheader MIDDLETOWN — The Connersville varsity softball team asserted its will over Shenandoah on its way to an easy 11-1 victory in game one of its doubleheader on Saturday.

The Spartans put up two home runs in the third inning, one from Sydney Dungan and another by Rayleigh Bresher.

Connersville put up an additional four runs in the fifth inning, led by Sara Ruble and Paige Dunaway, both driving in runs. McKenna Lucas went 2-3 at the plate to lead in hits.

Shelby Wolski led the CHS to victory on the rubber. The pitcher allowed four hits and one run over five innings, striking out five.

Game two was another victory for the away team with a final score of 4-2.

The Spartans pulled away for good with three runs in the third inning. In the third Ruble doubled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run, and Dunaway doubled on the first pitch of the at-bat, scoring another run. Wolski led in hits going 2-3.

Kindred Conley led things off in the circle for Connersville, lasting six and two-thirds innings, allowing eight hits and two runs while striking out four.

CHS is back in action at home tonight against Pendleton Heights starting at 6 p.m.

CHS track team competes at New Castle InviteNEW CASTLE — The Connersville track and field teams both finished third in the New Castle Invite Friday night.

Top finishers for the girls team included the 4x800 relay team of Kleeve, Dixon, Sembach, and Seeley with a first place finish, Brook Sudhoff (first in pole vault), Erica Smith (first in shot put), Katelyn Seeley (second in 200), Molly Crank (second in 100 hurdles), and Claire Kleeve (second in pole vault).

For the boys top finishers were Parker Sweet who finished first in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles, Brayden Jones (first in pole vault), Andrew Isaacs (second in 800), and Cody Naylor (second in pole vault).

Both teams will be at home tonight against Hagerstown in its senior night meet starting at 5 p.m.

Connersville baseball splits series with LawrenceburgConnersville varsity baseball stayed in it until the end, but Lawrenceburg pulled away late in an 11-7 victory on Friday.

Despite the loss, Connersville Varsity Spartans did collect 11 hits in the high-scoring affair. Chance Bentley, Cody Friend, Quentin Leisure, and Braxton Myers each collected multiple hits.

After The Tigers scored two runs in the top of the second, the Spartans answered with two of their own with a ground outs by Gavin Pearson and Bentley.

Brayden Lykins started on the mound, allowing five runs on nine hits and striking out seven in five innings. Pearson and Friend entered the game as relief, throwing one and two-thirds innings and one-third of an inning respectively with Pearson taking the loss.

CHS is now 10-5, 3-5 in the conference. Connersville plays at Rushville on Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m.

Wildcat softball defeats KnightstownKNIGHTSTOWN — The Franklin County varsity softball team picked up a road win on Friday evening as it defeated Knightstown 9-5.

The Wildcats put up runs early and often, finishing the game with 15 hits and scored in all but two innings.

FC also had pretty good defense in the contest, as well as great pitching in the circle from Bree Bischoff. Bischoff kept the Panther hitters off balance throughout and ended the game with 10 strike outs.

Anne Becker (3-4), Kassidy Schell (3-4, two runs), Bree Bischoff (2-3, three RBI’s, one run), Kiersten Schell (2-4, one RBI), Michaela Ferman (2-4, two RBI’s, one run), Maci Lake (2-4, two RBI’s, one run), and Josie Rolfes (2-3, one run) all had multiple hits during the matchup.

With the victory, Franklin County’s record improves to 8-6 on the year. FC plays at home tonight against Batesville and is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

Lincoln track takes on Northeastern InviteFOUNTAIN CITY — Cambridge City Lincoln track and field competed in the Northeastern Invite on Friday. The boys finished fifth of 11 teams while the girls were eighth.

Bailey Puckett was a double invitational champion winning the 1600 and 800.

Other scorers for the Golden Eagles were Alex Bertsch (second in 200, fourth in 100, fourth in long jump), Avery McGriff (third in 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles), the 4x800 relay team of Smith, Williams, Ross, and Pate-Moistner finishing fourth, and the 4x100 relay on Ervin, McGriff, Wyles, and Bertsch also placing fourth.

Lincoln has a home meet tonight against Tri Eastern Conference rival Centerville at 4:45 p.m.

Franklin County baseball earns EIAC winAURORA — Sophomore Brant Ertel threw a complete game no-hitter with 10 strikeouts in Franklin County’s varsity baseball team’s 4-1 win at South Dearborn on Saturday.

The lone run got on base thanks to a catcher’s interference call.

Offensively, FC was led by Ertel with three hits including a double, Joe Fields with two hits including a triple and Remy Watters knocking in two RBI’s.

The Wildcats are now 10-5 on the season, and host Northeastern on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Lincoln softball defeated by Centerville CENTERVILLE — Cambridge City Lincoln’s varsity softball team fell to Centerville in a Tri Eastern County matchup on Friday 12-9.

The Bulldogs scored nine runs in the first inning and three in the second. Even though the Golden Eagles held the home team scoreless for the rest of the game and gradually wore down the lead, it couldn’t overcome and ended with a loss.

Kaleigh Lamb started pitching for Lincoln, giving up seven earned runs on five hits, striking out one and walking two. Jaela Patton was on the mound for 1.2 innings, with two strikeouts and walks and five runs on four hits. Maddie Bogue pitched the final four innings, allowing no runs on three hits.

Kaylee Gabbard (2-4, three RBI’s), Mallory Burns (2-4, two runs, one RBI), Lamb (2-3, two runs), Paige Lunsford (1-3, one RBI, one run), and Alivia Anderson (1-2) all had hits during the game.

CCL is now 4-8, 2-1 in the TEC, and will play at Eastern Hancock tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Union County baseball downs HagerstownHAGERSTOWN — Union County varsity softball team beat Tri Eastern Conference rival Hagerstown 7-2 on Friday night.

The Patriots dominated throughout the contest, holding the Tigers scoreless until the sixth inning while racking up six runs of its own. Mason Hornung pitched the whole game allowing two earned runs on five hits, striking out 12 and walking one.

Noah Taylor and Mason Wicker both hit home runs during the contest. Alex VanWinkle went 3-4 at the plate, with two runs and one RBI to lead in hits. Others with multiple hits include John Ridenour, Eric Burdine, and Wicker.

UC improves its record to 8-6, and have another TEC conference game at Cambridge City Lincoln tonight at 5 p.m.

Franklin County JV softball racks up 10 in 2 inningsKNIGHTSTOWN — Franklin County’s junior varsity softball team continued its winning ways on Friday evening as it picked up a 10-0 victory over Knightstown.

Unfortunately due to there being no lights on the field, this was a darkness-shortened game to two innings of play. However in those two innings the Wildcats were still able to collect seven hits and score ten runs in the process.

Karlie Jones went 2-2, gaining one RBI and scoring one run. Emma Stadtmiller’s double earned three RBI’s for FC.

Pitching for Franklin County was Bella Lee, who gave up two hits and struck out three.

The JV victory brings its record to 9-2 on the season and extends its winning streak to nine games. The Wildcats play Batesville at home tonight, following the varsity game which begins at 5:30 p.m.

Alie-Cox signs tender to remain with Colts another season

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox made his the switch from college basketball player to NFL player pay off.

On Monday, the former VCU star signed a restricted free agent tender, a one-year deal that will pay $3.384 million next season. Two other restricted free agents – starting receiver Zach Pascal and All-Pro special teams player George Odum – already had signed their tenders.

The 6-foot-5, 267-pound Alie-Cox first joined the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was waived with an injury settlement three months later but was signed back to Indy’s practice squad in October.

Over the next three seasons, Alie-Cox played an increasingly more valuable role. He’s appeared in 40 games and emerged as an athletic target who can make catches in traffic. His best season came in 2020 when he caught 31 passes for 394 yards, both career bests, and matched his career high with two TD catches.

Alie-Cox has 46 receptions for 620 yards and four TDs in his career.