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  • IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 117

    Joe is joined by special guest Cameron Sakon and they dive into a big week of wrestling. Lots to talk about previewing the big matches of the week from many big duals to some big weekend events.
     
     
     

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    High School Wrestling Weekly Season 3 Episode 5

    Rex Brewer and Dane Fuelling talk wrestling, and are joined this week by guests, East Noble Coach Sam Reisen and Prairie Heights Coach Brett Smith.

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    #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Solomey family has impact on Kankakee Valley wrestling fortunes

    By STEVE KRAH
    stvkrh905@gmail.com

    The house is rockin’ and it is super-loud.
     
    Coaches, wrestlers and spectators are all yelling encouragement and instructions.
     
    Can athletes in the circle really pick out these messages above the din?
     
    Cole Solomey, a two-time IHSAA State Finals placer heading into his junior mat season in 2021-22 at Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield, says he can.
     
    “I can hear my dad and brother,” says Cole Solomey. “I hear them everyday.
     
    “I can hear exactly what they’re saying no matter how far away they are.”
     
    Mike Solomey (Class of 1992) and Luke Solomey (Class of 2017) both grappled for the Kougars.
     
    Mike Solomey is No. 2 on KV’s all-time win list at 117 (2005 graduate Dominic Willis is No. 1 at 119) and was a state qualifier at 130 pounds as a senior.
     
    Luke Solomey made it to the “ticket round” at the East Chicago Semistate as a 160-pound senior.
     
    Cole, the youngest of Mike and Becky Solomey’s three children behind Luke and Irelynn, was introduced to wrestling at age 4 with Caleb (son of Mike’s brother Shane Solomey, who was a 171-pounder during much of his KV mat career) coming to the sport a short time later.
     
    “When we grew up we didn’t have the opportunities that Cole and Caleb have,” says Mike Solomey.
     
    “(Cole) was good when he started out. He’s very self-motivated. Nobody has to talk him into going to practice. He does it on his own.
     
    “I’m hoping to see him higher on the (State Finals) podium as the next two years go by.”
     
    Luke is a KV volunteer assistant coach when his job of working for his dad’s roofing contractor business allows.
     
    “Weekends in the winter time are spent in the gym,” says Luke Solomey, who joined the staff during the COVID-19 pandemic last season because spectators were not allowed at most matches and he was able to help his brother.
     
    “I was in the corner for most of the year,” says Luke Solomey. “Cole can hear me when it’s very loud. It’s a different look in the corner — I can see something he can’t see (other wrestlers’ tendencies).”
     
    Luke, who was known for his cradles as a KV wrestler, gives Cole a chance to work on defending that move in practice.
     
    “One of Cole’s strengths is escapes,” says Luke Solomey. “If he’s on his game there’s nobody that can hold him down.”
     
    Luke has also noticed Cole’s growth spurt.
     
    “He’s grown up and out,” says Luke Solomey. “Puberty hit him pretty hard over the summer.”
     
    Two off-season events where Cole shined were the IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open (IHPO) in September and the USA Wrestling Brian Keck Memorial Preseason Nationals in DesMoines, Iowa, in October. He was top eight at IHPO and sixth at Preseason Nationals after going out in the “blood round” in 2020.
     
    “I wrestled a lot more offensively at Preseason Nationals (in 2021) and competed really well,” says Cole.
    Third-year Kankakee Valley head coach Eric Kidwell first saw Cole on the mat when he and Brad Burvan state the Kougar Wrestling Club.
     
    “I don’t know where he gets his drive from,” says Kidwell. “He’s very competitive. He hates losing. He has improved every year.”
     
    “Caleb pushes Cole. He has that drive. He’s a tough kid.”
     
    Caleb placed seventh at Frosh-Soph State last year.
     
    Cole Solomey went 39-6 and placed seventh in the 2020 IHSAA State Finals at 120 and 27-7 and came in sixth at the 2021 state meet at 132. He finished third at the Crown Point Sectional, third at the Crown Point Regional and third at the East Chicago Semistate as a freshman then came in second, third and third at those stages as a sophomore.
     
    It was 66 at the start of the season, but don’t ask Cole how many career wins he has.
     
    “I only remember the losses,” says Cole Solomey. “I’ve always wanted to make a name for our school in wrestling.”
     
    The 2021-22 season opens with a bigger, stronger Cole Solomey competing at 138 with his cousin, classmate and training partner Caleb Solomey moving up from 126 to 132 after placing second at sectional and regional and losing in the second round at semistate as a sophomore.
     
    Both Solomey boys are 17.
     
    “Caleb and I drill pretty hard together everyday, especially when it comes to weight-cutting,” says Cole Solomey. “His strength is on his feet with his shots.
     
    “He hasn’t been able to get over the hump to get to the State Finals. I keep trying to push him as hard as possible every year.”
     
    Caleb lost out on mat time in middle school because of a dislocated elbow.
     
    Cole went up about an inch to 5-foot-9 and gained muscle in the weight room since last season. He says his “walking around” weight in 2020-21 was about 145 and now its around 150.
     
    “Through lifting I gained more mass,” says Cole Solomey. “I’ve gotten a whole lot stronger (with my power, arms and grip) the last couple of years.”
     
    Working out in the off-season with Chris Fleeger at Midwest Regional Training Center in New Carlisle in off-season as well as with Pete Petroff at Region Wrestling Academy in Schererville, Cole has upped his hand-fighting game.
     
    “It creates larger shot opportunities and opens up my opponent a whole lot more,” says Cole Solomey.
     
    “My mentality has also improved.
     
    “I know how much more I have to give. You don’t know much more you have to give until you have to give it.”
     
    Cole played baseball until middle school and football through eighth grade then decided to focus on wrestling.
     
    “The off-season is about getting better and I saw other kids training year-round and passing me up,” says Cole Solomey. “Is there such a thing as too much mat time. In my perspective — no.
     
    “The more time you’re spending on the mat those are more situations you would not be in if you’re sitting at home.
     
    “Drilling is definitely a huge part of wrestling. Some practices where you don’t go 100 percent is where you learn (a move). Then you go into situational wrestling and get a real feel for it.”

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    #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Confidence grows for Southport's Nathan Smith after an impressive offseason

    By JEREMY HINES
    Thehines7@gmail.com
     
    Southport senior Nathan Smith is the sports editor of his school newspaper. With the success he had on the wrestling mat during the offseason, his own name might be the biggest news on his sports section this year.
     
    Smith competed at Virginia Beach, Fargo, Tulsa and various Indiana tournaments. He placed second in the Junior Men’s Freestyle Nationals at Fargo. In Tulsa he went 7-0 in freestyle wrestling and 5-2 in Greco-Roman. He won the USAW Brian Keck Memorial Preseason Nationals in Iowa. He also won the John Hurrle Memorial Invitational in Indianapolis and placed second at the IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open.
     
    “Nathan kind of punched some tickets this offseason,” Southport coach Nick Skinner said. “He had not been in a national final yet and he went to Fargo and finished second. That gave him confidence and let him know that he belongs at the top of the podium.”
     
    For Smith, it was the Fargo tournament that really boosted his confidence.
     
    “The finals made me realize I can get to anywhere I want to if I put in the work,” Smith said.
     
    Now Smith is hoping to bring some championships home in the Indiana state tournament. He has never won a title in the state tournament. He is a three-time regional qualifier, a two-time semistate qualifier and last year he placed seventh overall at the state meet.
     
    “I want to win state,” Smith said. “That’s the goal. I also think I’m about 36 wins off of the Southport all-time wins record. That’s something I think would be super nice to get, that all-time record. I have yet to win a county tournament, sectional, regional or semistate title. If I could get a win in all of those my senior year that would be really nice.”
     
    The Southport sectional has had some hammers in the 106-pound class – the only class Smith has competed in during his career.
     
    Perry Meridian’s Alex Cottey won the sectional in Smith’s freshman season. Cotton went on to finish second in the state meet.
     
    In Smith’s sophomore year, Roncalli’s Bryce Lowery won the sectional with Cardinal Ritter’s Joshua Johnson placing second and Smith third. Lowery went on to place fourth at state and Johnson placed seventh.
     
    Last year Smith lost to Perry Meridian’s Toby Billerman in the sectional final. There were only three wrestlers in the sectional bracket, but Billerman went on to place third at state and Smith finished seventh.
     
    Smith isn’t the type of wrestler that is always on the attack. He likes to feel his opponent out and learn from his style, then use the moves he feels will be the most effective.
     
    “I’m definitely a counter wrestler,” Smith said. “I don’t take a million shots right off the rip. As far back as I can remember I have never been one to go and shoot a lot. I like to feel my opponents out for a minute or two and then go from there.”
     
    According to Smith, he was able to make solid improvements this offseason as well.
     
    “I had a habit of sitting the corner, which is a unique defense,” he said. “It won me a lot of matches, but also got me into trouble. I’ve improved with my down blocking and I’ve been working on a more traditional defense.”
     
    After high school Smith hopes to wrestle at the University of Indianapolis and study exercise science. He is considering minoring in journalism as well.
     
    “I love journalism,” he said. “I’ve been on our journal staff for three years now. I was a sportswriter for two years and now I’m the sports editor.”
     
    For fun, Smith mostly enjoys wrestling and hanging out with his dad.
     
    “I just wrestle a bunch for fun,” Smith said. “In the summer, it’s kind of nerdy, but I love to go hang out with my dad (Greg Smith). We do all sorts of things. We watch football, go birding, biking or just walking. I don’t even know if I like things like birding, I think I just really like to be out in nature hanging out with my dad.”
     
    Coach Skinner says that Smith is a leader on and off the mat and a “really fun kid to coach.”
     
    “He’s just a good kid,” Skinner said. “He is intelligent, funny and he takes care of business on the mat and in the classroom. He gets the work done and that rubs off on everyone around him.”
     
    Smith is currently ranked third in the state at 106 pounds.

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    West Vigo's Torieonna Buchanan working to make history

    By JEREMY HINES
    Thehines7@gmail.com
     
    Torrieanna Buchanan’s wrestling coach, Brian Otte, gave her a choice about an upcoming tournament. He told her she could wrestle at 106 pounds and probably win the tournament, or she could wrestle at 113 pounds and face a few ranked wrestlers. The decision was an easy one for the West Vigo senior – she wanted to face the ranked guys.
     
    “I want to wrestle all the ranked kids I can in my weight class,” Buchanan said. “Even if I get beat by them, they’re going to make me a better wrestler. You don’t get better wrestling kids you know you can beat. I want to wrestle the ones that are up there, that are going to push me the most.”
     
    That mindset is what has fueled Buchanan since she started wrestling at just 4-years-old. She challenges herself to get better every day. That’s led her to three consecutive girls state titles. She also became West Vigo’s first-ever female to reach the IHSAA semistate tournament.
     
    “Torrie never backs down from anything,” Otte said. “She is willing to outwork anyone. She’s not been treated as a girl ever in our room. She proves herself every single day.”
     
    For Buchanan, the key to her success is in her technique. She believes her strength will help her compete against girls, but it’s her technique that gives her the edge against the guys.
     
    “I really have to rely on technique,” Buchanan said. “Technique is the most important thing to me. You can have strength, but the person with the better technique is going to win almost every time. Technique has helped me more than anything else.”
     
    Coach Otte also believes Buchanan’s mental toughness is the key to her success.
     
    “Her best strength is her mental toughness,” Otte said. “She’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever been around, mentally. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to become better. She trains here in the spring and summer, then she’ll go over to Red Cobra and train with Coach Red on the same day. She’s willing to work harder than anyone else.”
     
    That work ethic helped her with her college search as well. She has committed to wrestle for Campbellsville University. There she will wrestle for Coach Lee Miracle, the father of one of the wrestlers Buchanan has been a fan of for a long time – Kayla Miracle.
     
    Miracle was on hand when Buchanan signed with Campbellsville. She was also there when Buchanan tried out for the World Team.
     
    “She talked to me and told me I need to have fun in wrestling,” Buchanan said. “I need to go out there with the mentality that I want to win. She talked about not cutting wait and being the best version of me that I can be.”
     
    Miracle is one of the wrestlers Buchanan has always looked up to. She is the only female in Indiana to qualify for the state tournament, a goal Buchanan says would be her dream.
     
    “I really want to win girls state for the fourth time,” Buchanan said. “But I also want to make a run for boys state. I know Kayla was the last girl to make it to Friday night, and I want to make it past Friday night.”
     
    Buchanan has changed her perspective on her losses this season. In the past she would get frustrated at losing. Now she uses those losses to learn how to do better the next time.
     
    “I used to think that I sucked after a loss,” she said. “Now I take them as a win and I learn from them. They make me get better. The next time I wrestle the same kid, I’m hoping I can learn from that loss and go out and beat them.”
     
    Buchanan would like to get into coaching after college, and ultimately would love to represent the United States at the Olympic level.
     
    “She’s a great kid,” Otte said. “You really couldn’t ask for anything better. My wife and I call her one of our daughters. She’s polite and willing to help anyone with anything. She’s been raised right.
     
    “She’s the only girl in our room but she’s also the one that I use to demonstrate any move I’m teaching. She’s a leader on our team.”

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    • IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 117

      IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 117

    • High School Wrestling Weekly Season 3 Episode 5

      High School Wrestling Weekly Season 3 Episode 5

    • #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Solomey family has impact on Kankakee Valley wrestling fortunes

      #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Solomey family has impact on Kankakee Valley wrestling fortunes

    • #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Confidence grows for Southport's Nathan Smith after an impressive offseason

      #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Confidence grows for Southport's Nathan Smith after an impressive offseason

    • West Vigo's Torieonna Buchanan working to make history

      West Vigo's Torieonna Buchanan working to make history

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