Boys Varsity Wrestling · Jimtown’s Hunter Watts is the Back-to-Back Al Smith Champion


The Al Smith wrestling tourney is hosted every year by Mishawaka High School as they have done since the 70’s.  The tournament is named after now-retired, hall-of-fame Mishawaka Wrestling Coach Al Smith and is held every year over the Christmas break.  This tournament is widely considered one of the toughest, most prestigious mid-season wrestling tournaments in the State of Indiana.  32 teams from all over the state of Indiana…north, south, east and west…make the trip to Mishawaka to test themselves against the measuring stick of the best wrestlers in the state.   Many consider it a preview of the IHSAA state tournament that will come at the end of January.

Jimtown’s Hunter Watts finished as champion again this year as he bested Hobart’s Tylor Triana in OT in the 120 pound weight division to become a back-to-back Al Smith Champ.  Hunter won the Al Smith last year at 113 pounds in a thrilling win on his way to becoming the state runner-up at 113 pounds.  Hunter is currently 19-1 on the season with his only loss coming at 126 pounds as he was wreslting up early in the season.   Here is a look at the 120 pound weight class summary:

120 pounds
Guaranteed Places
  • 1st Place – Hunter Watts of Jimtown High School
  • 2nd Place – Tylor Triana of Hobart High School
  • 3rd Place – Lukasz Walendzak of Indianapolis Cathedral HS
  • 4th Place – Logan Wagner of Zionsville High School
  • 5th Place – Seth Anderson of Peru High School
  • 6th Place – Ethan Kaiser of Chesterton HS
  • 7th Place – Joey Gordon of Columbus East HS
  • 8th Place – Andrew Wertman of Garrett High School

1st Place Match

  • Hunter Watts (Jimtown High School) 19-1, Jr. over Tylor Triana (Hobart High School) 17-1, Sr. (SV-1 7-5)

3rd Place Match

  • Lukasz Walendzak (Indianapolis Cathedral HS) 19-1, Jr. over Logan Wagner (Zionsville High School) 19-5, Fr. (Dec 7-3)

5th Place Match

  • Seth Anderson (Peru High School) 21-5, Sr. over Ethan Kaiser (Chesterton HS) 23-4, Fr. (Dec 9-8)

7th Place Match

  • Joey Gordon (Columbus East HS) 15-11, So. over Andrew Wertman (Garrett High School) 14-10, Sr. (Dec 8-3)

The Jimmies had 3 other wrestlers finish on the medal stand.   Senior standout Hunter Whitman finished 5th at 126 pounds.  Hunter had an outstanding tourney and could easily have competed for the championship.  He stubbed his toe early in the 3rd round in a close 4-3 decision to Maldanado from Merrillville and wrestled his way back to a 5th place match against the same Maldanado who had beaten him earlier.  Hunter proved that he was indeed the better wrestler and bested the Pirate the 2nd time with a  9-3 decision.  The 126 pound weight class is a very tough division and Hunter will have a chance to go a long way in the IHSAA tournament if he continues to grind it out as he has been doing.  It shows a ton of grit in Hunter to come back and win in the 5th place match like he did!!

126 pounds
Guaranteed Places
  • 1st Place – Cayden Rooks of Columbus East HS
  • 2nd Place – Christian Mejia of Elkhart Memorial HS
  • 3rd Place – Tanner Demien of Penn High School
  • 4th Place – Skyler Gomez of LaPorte High School
  • 5th Place – Hunter Whitman of Jimtown High School
  • 6th Place – Jacob Maldonado of Merrillville High School
  • 7th Place – Andrew Wilson of Indianapolis Cathedral HS
  • 8th Place – Joseph Zahl of South Bend Adams HS

1st Place Match

  • Cayden Rooks (Columbus East HS) 23-1, Jr. over Christian Mejia (Elkhart Memorial HS) 22-1, Sr. (Dec 6-3)

3rd Place Match

  • Tanner Demien (Penn High School) 17-7, Sr. over Skyler Gomez (LaPorte High School) 26-4, Sr. (Fall 2:24)

5th Place Match

  • Hunter Whitman (Jimtown High School) 20-2, Sr. over Jacob Maldonado (Merrillville High School) 15-7, So. (Dec 9-3)

7th Place Match

  • Andrew Wilson (Indianapolis Cathedral HS) 14-6, Fr. over Joseph Zahl (South Bend Adams HS) 14-5, Sr. (SV-1 5-3)

The other 2 Jimtown wrestlers that finished on the medal stand for the Jimmies were the Gimson twins, Connor and Matt.   Last year Connor Gimson was the champion of the Al Smith invite at the 132 pound weight  class.   The junior ended up finishing 4th this year the 138 pound division proving just how hard this tournament is and how finishing high in the final results is a great accomplishment.     Matt Gimson ended up 3rd at 132 pounds.   Both of the Gimson’s were fighting for 3rd place in their final matches.  Matt won his match vs a kid from Zionsville in a 7-1 decision while Connor lost his 3rd place match in an overtime thriller that could have gone either way.

132 Pounds

Guaranteed Places

  • 1st Place – Graham Rooks of Columbus East HS
  • 2nd Place – Alex Mosconi of Indianapolis Cathedral HS
  • 3rd Place – Matt Gimson of Jimtown High School
  • 4th Place – Chase Poynter of Zionsville High School
  • 5th Place – Gabriel Weeks of Mishawaka High School
  • 6th Place – Logan Hill of Penn High School
  • 7th Place – Shawn Hollis of Lowell High School
  • 8th Place – James Ferry of Lake Central HS

1st Place Match

  • Graham Rooks (Columbus East HS) 24-0, Sr. over Alex Mosconi (Indianapolis Cathedral HS) 15-1, Jr. (Dec 3-2)

3rd Place Match

  • Matt Gimson (Jimtown High School) 20-1, Jr. over Chase Poynter (Zionsville High School) 13-11, So. (Dec 7-1)

5th Place Match

  • Gabriel Weeks (Mishawaka High School) 12-3, Jr. over Logan Hill (Penn High School) 19-7, Jr. (MD 14-6)

7th Place Match

  • Shawn Hollis (Lowell High School) 20-3, . over James Ferry (Lake Central HS) 16-9, Jr. (Dec 4-2)
138 Pounds

Guaranteed Places

  • 1st Place – Zach Melloh of Indianapolis Cathedral HS
  • 2nd Place – Dawson Combest of Columbus East HS
  • 3rd Place – Jesus Mancera of Lawrence Central HS
  • 4th Place – Conner Gimson of Jimtown High School
  • 5th Place – Preston Risner of Penn High School
  • 6th Place – Bryton Goering of Elkhart Memorial HS
  • 7th Place – Ryan Rasler of Prairie Heights HS
  • 8th Place – Torion`ja c Forrest of Peru High School

1st Place Match

  • Zach Melloh (Indianapolis Cathedral HS) 18-0, Sr. over Dawson Combest (Columbus East HS) 23-1, Sr. (Dec 2-1)

3rd Place Match

  • Jesus Mancera (Lawrence Central HS) 18-2, Sr. over Conner Gimson (Jimtown High School) 18-3, Jr. (SV-1 6-4)

5th Place Match

  • Preston Risner (Penn High School) 19-7, Sr. over Bryton Goering (Elkhart Memorial HS) 22-3, Sr. (Fall 2:09)

7th Place Match

  • Ryan Rasler (Prairie Heights HS) 30-4, Jr. over Torion`ja c Forrest (Peru High School) 21-5, Jr. (TF-1.5 4:35 (18-3))

CONGRATULATIONS TO HUNTER….HUNTER…CONNOR…MATT + ALL OF THE JIMTOWN WRESTLERS AND COACHES!! 

Keep up the great work!! 

You make all of Baugo PROUD!!

Jimtown will be back in action next Saturday at the West Noble Invitational.  Weigh in at West Noble is set for 8am and wrestling action is set to go for approximately 9:00am.