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2022 Semi-State Information Center
Date: Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022.
Admission: $10 (Final session only); $12 (Season ticket).
Advancement: The top four place winners in each weight class advance to the state finals.
Videostream: A bundled package that includes access to all four semi-state sites as well as next weekend's state finals is available via IHSAAtv.org for $25. Access to all four semi-states only is available for $15. If you have a FloPro+ plan, you may also view the livestream at FloWrestling.com.
State Finals Pairings Show
The brackets in each weight class will be announced exclusively via IHSAAtv.org on Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 4 pm ET / 3 pm CT (one hour). Hosted by Greg Rakestraw and Mike Goebel.
1. East Chicago Central (John C. Baratto Athletic Center) | 9 am CT
Feeder Regionals: Crown Point, Hobart, Logansport, Penn.
2. New Haven (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum) | 8:30 am ET
Feeder Regionals: Carroll (Fort Wayne), Goshen, Jay County, Maconaquah.
3. New Castle (New Castle Fieldhouse) | 9 am ET
Feeder Regionals: Frankfort, Pendleton Heights, Perry Meridian, Richmond.
4. Evansville F.J. Reitz (Ford Center) | 8 am CT
Feeder Regionals: Bloomington South, Castle, Jeffersonville, Mooresville.
All-Time Pick'em History
Click here to see where you stand in the all-time history of IndianaMat(and even BEFORE) pick'ems
Gorilla Radio Episode 126 talking about East Chicago
Gorilla Radio Episode 127 talking about Evansville and 106-145 at New Castle
Gorilla Radio Episode 128 talking about 152-285 at New Castle and Fort Wayne
Evansville Preview by Dustin Bentz
#Wrestling Wednesday: Faulkens opens up about wrestling
By STEVE KRAH
Robert Faulkens is the face of wrestling at the Indiana High School Athletic Association office.
As an assistant commissioner, he administers IHSAA wrestling (as well as football and boys and girls track and field).
Faulkens, who also sits on several National Federation of State High School Associations committees, oversees an annual online rules meeting for IHSAA wrestling officials and coaches.
He also likes to take advantage of face-to-face opportunities, like the recent St. Joseph Valley Officials Association gathering in Granger. There, Faulkens got a chance to address a roomful of mat referees and area coaching staffs.
Faulkens, who defines his job as someone who must be equitable to all 4,000 wrestlers and all 309 programs in Indiana and not just the elite, covered many topics and had a dialogue with those in attendance. Much of the discussion were on areas relating to participation.
â€œWrestlingâ€™s been in a decline for about four or five years,â€ Faulkens said of dropping participation numbers.
He said the only thing propping up participation in Indiana is girls wrestling, which had about 300 competing on boys squads throughout the state last season. Itâ€™s a number too low to make it a separate sport. But if the numbers continue to rise it could happen in the future.
â€œMy guess is weâ€™re eight or 10 years from pulling girls out and making it a separate sport,â€ Faulkens said. â€œthe number of teams that have girls wrestling is very small. There are pockets of girls wrestling (currently, Lafayette Jeff and Crispus Attucks each have more than a dozen girls in their programs). Either you have them or you donâ€™t. Very rarely do you have one girl wrestling. Normally you have four or five.â€
Faulkens sits on the national rules writing committee for the National Federation. The committee met last April and considered and approved a new two-piece uniform with a tight shirt and shorts. The rules regulators at the next level turned down the proposal, saying there was no uniformity in the specifications nor was there time to approve the change by October.
â€œIn April (2017), weâ€™ll probably do it all over again and have to be more specific,â€ Faulkens said. â€œI think weâ€™re about three years away (from the two-piece uniform).â€
Whatâ€™s wrong with the singlet?
â€œKids are not wresting because they are a little bit embarrassed to wear the singlet,â€ Faukens said. â€œParticipation numbers have dropped and thatâ€™s one of the reasons kids have decided they donâ€™t want to wrestle.â€
What are some of the other reasons?
The long weekend events have become a grind to many young athletes.
Faulkens noted that there no joy in spending all day on a Saturday and losing five times and wrestling all of six minutes.
â€œWhy as a high school kid would I give up seven weekends to not have fun?,â€ Faulkens said.
Many schools have schedules made up mostly of Saturday super duals or tournaments. The suggestion has been made from some in Indiana to increase the number of weeknight dual meets.
Another reason is parents donâ€™t want their kids to wrestle because they equate the sport with brawling.
â€œThey see wrestling as MMA or as Ultimate Fight Club,â€ Faulkens said. â€œAs scholastic wrestlers weâ€™re trying to distance ourselves from those two entities because of the negative connotation.â€
Thatâ€™s why he resists calling the lower part of the two-piece uniform â€œfightâ€ shorts.
Faulkens talked about the relationship between football and wrestling â€” a natural partnership in some communities, but not in all places.
He is a fan of multi-sport participation.
â€œThose schools that share kids among sports are normally the ones who are successful over a long period of time,â€ Faulkens said. â€œWe have some hard-headed football coaches that believe a kid should just play football in the fall and lift weights in the winter and spring.
â€œIt goes against everything we know about kids. They need to do different sports at different times of the year. If they do the same thing all the time, they risk burnout and injury. Those two things are not good for any kid.â€
The assistant commissioner noted that 75 percent of the teams in the IHSAA football state championships have athletes who participate in another sport.
At schools where wrestling coaches are having a hard time getting football players (or those specializing in one sport) to join their teams, Faulkens said their must be a conversation between the coach and their athletic director and and principal.
Faulkens pointed out the differences in the gridiron and mat, noting that football is anaerobic and wrestling is aerobic â€œand never the twain shall meet.â€
â€œIf you try to get a kid to go from quick bursts and a lot of rest to a sport thatâ€™s a continual expenditure of energy, itâ€™s very difficult,â€ Faulkens said. â€œWrestling is not an easy sport. Weâ€™ve got a group of kids that donâ€™t want to work that hard. They really donâ€™t. Theyâ€™re going to take the path of least resistance. Itâ€™s just the mindset of our kids.â€
While many will argue that more mat time is always a good thing, Faulkens sees a trend coming from his involvement with the National Federationâ€™s sports medicine advisory committee that calls for a reduction in the number of matches.
â€œWhat we know is that at a certain point, thereâ€™s no return on improvement,â€ Faulkens said. â€œItâ€™s likely that in a few years the maximum number of regular-season matches allowed per wrestler will be 25.â€
This will mean an adjustment in how schedules are made. There may not be as many two-day super duals with teams competing eight to 10 times in a weekend, knowing that they may be getting close to the maximum in a very short time period.
A point of emphasis for Faulkens at each online rules meeting is the importance of being vigilant against infectious skin diseases.
â€œDonâ€™t share razors or soap and wash yourself everyday and wash your mats,â€ Faulkens said.
Faulkens said showering after each practice and competition is suggested. But if coaches canâ€™t enforce that they should at least have a bucket of antibacterial wipes for exposed skin when wrestlers get off the mat.
Ideally, checking for skin lesions would be a daily occurrence, but every athlete should be checked at least once a week.
A year ago, Faulkens said 70 schools had cases of infectious skin disease on their teams and five schools reported five or more cases.
â€œParents are not going to stand for it,â€ Faulkens said. â€œIf you get a MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection) in your room, thatâ€™s going to cost the parents $40,000. If they donâ€™t have insurance, chances are they are not going to get the treatment that they need.â€
Faulkens notes that though he may come across as harsh when making his points about matters like this and with the proper administration of the weight management system (he got the athletic directors and athletic trainers involved four years ago), thereâ€™s a method to his madness.
â€œWe canâ€™t lose wrestling because we canâ€™t lose the lessons that wrestling gives us,â€ Faulkens said. â€œAs coaches, you are in control of that.â€
As for the state of the sport as Faulkens heads into his seventh state tournament series, he likes what he sees.
â€œWeâ€™re in good shape,â€ Faulkens said. â€œI love where weâ€™re are in wrestling in the state of Indiana. I really do.
â€œMy job is to do whatâ€™s best for everybody.â€
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4th Annual Indiana Frosh-Soph State Wrestling Championships
This tournament is for ALL Freshman and Sophomores who DID NOT PLACE in the IHSAA State Championships. This includes wrestlers who competed at Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman levels during the High School season.
February 16, 2020
Doors Open 8:00 a.m. CST Proceed directly to Scales for Weigh-In’s
Weigh-In’s CLOSE at 9:30 CST. Singlet and shoes (4 pound total allowance)
Weight Class changes will be permitted with no fee.
Wrestling begins at 10:00 a.m. CST
North at Portage High School
South at Mater Dei High School
Cost: $27.50(pay online)
Central at Indy Nationals
Cost: $45(pay online)
February 29-March 1st
Finals at Southport High School
Cost: $25(pay at the door)
Automatic Frosh-Soph State Qualifiers: Any Indiana Freshman or Sophomore wrestler who qualifies for an IHSAA Semi-State is automatically qualified for Frosh-Soph State and will be imported into the State Final Tournament. They are not permitted in the North or South Qualifiers.
2021 Semi-State Information Center
Date: Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.
Admission: $10 (Final session only); $12 (Season ticket). All host sites will have limited or no spectators and in accordance with their local health guidelines.
Advancement: The top four place winners in each weight class advance to the state finals.
Webstream: A live videostream will be available at each host site for a subscription fee at TrackWrestling.com.
1. East Chicago Central | 9 am CT
Feeder Regionals: Crown Point, Hobart, Logansport, Penn.
2. New Haven (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum) | 9 am ET
Feeder Regionals: Carroll (Fort Wayne), Goshen, Jay County, Maconaquah.
3. New Castle | 9 am ET
Feeder Regionals: Frankfort, Pendleton Heights, Richmond, Southport.
4. Jasper | 10 am ET
Feeder Regionals: Bloomington South, Evansville North, Jeffersonville, Mooresville.
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2022 Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic Information
This year Indiana has the privilege of having a full squad at the Rose Bowl of Wrestling, the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic. This page will have a lot of information on this year's event.
Thursday March 24
Wrestler check-in, practice, and banquet
Friday March 25th
Afternoon- Wrestler media session
6:00pm Indiana vs. WPIAL
8:00pm USA vs. Pennsylvania
Peters Township High School
121 Rolling Hills Drive
McMurray PA 15317
Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe
1000 Corporate Dr.
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Click here to purchase tickets
120lbs Braxton Vest- Westfield
126lbs Matteo Vargo- Penn
132lbs Elijah Anthony- Frankfort
138lbs Ben Miller- Lakeland
145lbs Hayden Watson- Center Grove
152lbs Tyler Jones- Warren Central
160lbs J Conway- Floyd Central
170lbs Brodie Porter- Eastern
182lbs Landon Buchanan- Jimtown
195lbs Connor Barket- West Lafayette
220lbs Juan Grange- Penn
285lbs Mike Platonov- Westfield
Cooper Samuels- Floyd Central
Tom Griffin- Westfield
Jerimiah Maggart- Jimtown
132lbs Zeke Seltzer- Cathedral
138lbs Jesse Mendez- Crown Point
2017/18 IHSWCA Team State Draws
9:00 AM – Rounds 1 through 3 (4 mats)
Pool Play – 4 pools with 3 teams in each pool – seeded
Rd 1 Bye – Lower seeded team in each pool
Rd 2 Bye – Higher seeded team in each pool
Rd 3 Bye – Unseeded team in each pool
2:00 PM(approx) – Round 4
Bracketed event begins based on how teams finished in their pool (4 mats)
Consolation Matches (2 mats – 2nd – 8th Place teams)
-Pool A 2nd Place vs Pool D 2nd Place
-Pool B 2nd Place vs Pool C 2nd Place
Consolation Matches (2 mats – 3rd Place teams)
-Pool A 3rd Place vs Pool D 3rd Place (winner ties for 9th place/loser ties for 11th place)
-Pool B 3rd Place vs Pool C 3rd Place (winner ties for 9th place/loser ties for 11th place)
4:00 PM(approx) – Round 5
Bracketed Consolation Matches (4 mats)
Championship Bracket Semi-Finals (2 mats – 1st Place teams)
-Pool A Winner vs Pool D Winner
-Pool B Winner vs Pool C Winner
5th/6th Place Dual and 7th/8th Place Dual (2 mats)
6:00 PM(approx)– Round 6
Finals for Places 1st – 4th (2 mats per class – 6 mats total for Event)
#2 Perry Merdian
#3 Evansville Mater Dei
#6 Columbus East
#8 New Haven
#3 North Montgomery
#1 Prairie Heights
#2 Central Noble
#7 Eastern (Greentown)
#6 North Posey
#4 Adams Central
2014 Al Smith Preview
By Chad Hollenbaugh
IndianaMat Senior Writer
The Al Smith Invite is considered the toughest regular season tournament in the state of Indiana and the 2014 edition should continue that tradition. Last year, the Penn Kingsmen were clicking on all cylinders and ran away with the crown by nearly 90 points. Penn placed in 13 of the 14 weight classes and were never seriously challenged. Five other programs in the IndianaMat Power Poll will be among those trying to topple the Kingsmen.
This year the Kingsmen are still considered the favorite but sickness and injuries have plagued Brad Harperâ€™s squad and this fact might open the door to contenders like Merrillville, Warren Central, Lawrence North, and Bellmont.
Six champs from last years meet return this year and seven of the states top ranked wrestlers will be in action on the 30th and 31st. Number 1 headliners include Colton Cummings of Lowell at 106, Merrillvilleâ€™s Jacob Covaciu at 145, hometown boy Tommy Forte at 152, Lowellâ€™s Drew Hughes at 160, Pennâ€™s Chase Osborn and Kobe Woods at 182 and 220 respectively, and finally Merrillville big man Shawn Streck at 285. This tournament is so nasty that a state champ is neither top ranked nor a defending champion. (Tommy Cash)
Top ranked Colton Cummings of Lowell appears to be on a collision course with #3 Tylor Triana of Hobart. Graham Rooks of Columbus East and Keyuan Murphy of Warren Central bring strength from the south. Tanner Demein of Northwood and Kyle Mockenstrum of Prairie Heights are potential dark horses.
Drew Hildebrandt of Penn is the likely number one see here. He has the resume to be considered the clear favorite. Keep an eye on Michael DeLaPena of Merrillville, he is possibly flying under the states radar but is no doubt improving daily in the Pirate room.
The states seventh ranked 120 pounder, Brenden Black of Hobart, returns to the same weight class after finishing fourth last year. He will be the likely number 1 seed. State placer, Kyle Hatch of Warsaw, will probably be on the other side of the bracket. Chestertonâ€™s Jack Tolin, Pennâ€™s Austin Slates, and Elkhart Memorialâ€™s Marcus Meija add depth to this class. A possible spoiler might be junior Issac Castro of Lawrence North.
Munsterâ€™s third ranked Jason Crary is, in my mind, the clear favorite at 126. He was the champion last year at 113, appears to be healthy and has yet to be tested. A host of contenders will attempt to prove me wrong. #4 Elliot Malloy of Danville, #8 Branden Truver, and #10 Joel McGhee return as place winners in the same weight class. Bellmont mat men always seem to perform at Mishawaka and #11 Jon Becker is dangerous here.
A two-man race appears to be brewing at 132. Merrillvilleâ€™s Clarence Johnson and Warren Centralâ€™s Matthew McKinney have nearly identical resumes and seeding them might come down to a flip of the coin. A second tier of contenders includes Daniel Gunsett of Bellmont and NIC rivals Daniel Olsen (SB Adams), Austen Laughlin (SB Riley) and Jarrett Selis (Penn). Those looking for a spoiler might keep an eye on Fernando Luevano of West Noble.
Defending state champion Tommy Cash of Lawrence North is the lead dog here. He should cruise to an Al Smith Title unless promising frosh Zach Fattore of Hobart shows he is ready for the big time. Jimtown senior Jay Franko wrestled in the finals last year at 126 and is the probable #2 seed.
Another top ranked wrestler, Merrillvilleâ€™s Jacob Covaciu, headlines the 145 pound class. He is not, however, the clear favorite here. Fellow junior, Trent Pruitt of Warren Central defeated the purple Pirate at last yearâ€™s event. Pruitt enters with a state ranking of fifth. Elkhart Memorialâ€™s dangerous Tony Vaughn adds depth to this class.
152 and 160
Both of these weight classes should be dominated by top ranked Tommy Forte at 152 and Drew Hughes at 160. Forte is a former state champ and Hughes has wrestled under the lights at Bankers Life. Both of these studs have an extensive national resume to back up their state credentials. At 152, Lake Centralâ€™s Kody Christenson and Pennâ€™s Jarod Swank will try to find a chink in the Forte armor. Forte will be attempting to make history by becoming only the second wrestler to be a four time champ. (Bellmontâ€™s Randy Baker) At 160, Bellmontâ€™s Bryce Baumgartner appears to have the best shot a meeting Hughes in the finals.
If everything goes according to Hoyle, the 170 class might have the best finals match of the entire day. Scottie Sopko of Hobart and Joey Mammolenti of Penn have both been on the stateâ€™s radar for a number of years but neither has achieved their ultimate goals. These two warriors met three weeks ago and Sopko came away with a narrow 3-1 victory at the Harvest Classic. Whomever is the #2 seed had better not look too far ahead because Lawrence North junior Cameron Jones has the tools to knock of either of the two big dogs.
Pennâ€™s top ranked Chase Osborn seems like he has been around for the past decade. That is a testament to the impact he has had on the Kingsmen program since his freshman year. He is a clear favorite here if he is healthy. Chesterton super sophomore Andrew Davison could make a huge splash with an upset here. He already has a convincing win over last yearâ€™s fifth place finisher at this weight, Jonathan Morales of Western Boone.
Five state ranked wrestlers will sprinkle the bracket at 195 but none of the five has separated themselves from the crowd. This might me the most wide open and unpredictable weight class in the meet. Sixth ranked Nick Fowler of Calumet is unbeaten on the season and eighth ranked Bo Davis of Garrett was a state qualifier last year. Three sport stud Tanner Bradley of Mishawaka will look to give the hometown fans something to cheer about.
Pennâ€™s second top ranked wrestler, Kobe Woods, will likely earn the top seen at 220. He will be challenged by fourth ranked Courvoiser Morrow of Warren Central and Northern Lakes Conference rivals Kaleb Summers of Elkhart Memorial and Derek Paz of Goshen. Woods is the man to beat here.
Merrillville junior Shawn Streck has wrestled in the finals both years he has competed in the Al Smith. He was runner-up during his freshman campaign but dominated the field last year. Look for more of the same out of the big Pirate. Eighth ranked Cory Christman of Penn probably has the best chance of slowing down the Purple Hulk.
2024 State Finals Conundrum
After the state finals our good friend Brandon Sisson of Floyd Central made a post about a potential conflict with the 2024 NBA All-Star game and our state finals. In 2021 the All-Star game was supposed to be held in Indianapolis, but they had a different date that did not conflict with the wrestling state finals. However, the 2024 game will indeed conflict with the wrestling state finals. The IHSAA along with the IHSWCA now has just under two years to figure out a plan for the state finals. On top of the wrestling state finals having a conflict, the boys basketball state finals in 2024 will have issues with Indianapolis hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Before I go on with the options for 2024, a couple things to consider. The girl’s basketball state finals are slated for the week after wrestling. The IHSAA likely does not want two of their bigger state finals events on the same weekend. Even so this would push the girls out of Gainbridge Fieldhouse which would in turn likely cause a lot of negative press. Pushing the wrestling state finals to the week after our normal date would seem to be an option that would be the hardest to pull off. That would almost certainly require pushing the girl's basketball state finals to the next weekend and possibly start the boys tournament a week later. The chain reaction of that is enough to make administrators at the IHSAA and school level cringe.
Here are the options that we have
Keep the date, but change the venue.
This will be a big obstacle as there are some venues big enough to host the event, but location is a huge factor. Venues such as the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne and Ford Center in Evansville both can hold about 10,000 in a hockey arena setup. They are however in the furthest corners of the state which would not be well received by many people further away. Arenas such as Mackey Arena, Assembly Hall, Butler Fieldhouse, or Indiana State’s updated Hulman Center would likely be able to handle the crowds. Of course, that poses the availability issue along with hotels and restaurants capable of handling a two day event at the college locations.
Move the date, but keep the venue
With this option we have a few different scenarios that could play out
1. Move the whole state series back a week.
Pros: Keep our 4 week state series
Cons: Possibly lose a week of the season
Commentary: We have two options with this, the first is simply cutting a week off of the regular season and the second starting the season a week earlier. With both we have potential conflicts. If we start the regular season a week earlier we still have a lot of conflicts with football early in the season. Both of these options would create scheduling issues with conference tournaments and simply being able to fill schedules with one less week.
2. Create a 3 week state series
Pros: No scheduling issues
Cons: Logistics with a new state series configuration
Commentary: With this option we have a multitude of different options that might just be the most feasible. There have been murmurs for a while about a three week state series from those within the wrestling community. One of the biggest proponents include the referee associations that are finding it harder and harder to find enough referees for the state series. One factor to consider is the events being held at the Ford Center and Memorial Coliseum and the availability of having our semi-state a week earlier. With any of the plans there could be a chain reaction that goes all the way back to the first week of the state series.
Here are the options that we could see
16-20 team sectionals
The new super-super sectional that is basically a regional compacted into one weekend. With just over 300 schools it would mean we have an average of 18 schools in the new bigger sectionals. This would likely require a two-day event due to the possibility of some weight classes having over 16 entries. The logistics of a two-day event are big when you are talking about a state series event. Mid-week regional
With regional being an 8 man bracket this is very logical to have it mid-week and get it done on a Wednesday. There would possibly be some travel issues, however schools are a little more forgiving for tournament series events. Create 5 sectionals with Top 3 advancing to each regional/semi-state
This is the most radical change, but something to ponder. This would give us sectionals with no more than 16 teams thus being able to keep it at a one day event. The biggest drawback would be the absolute chaos at the new qualifying event super semi-state. There would be a random bye and then two #1’s would meet for a spot at state. The draws here could be absolutely brutal in some areas.
One of the biggest questions that would arise after 2024 is, will the IHSAA continue with the modified system? We might need an emergency coaches vote at state to change something, much like this past year.
There are likely other options, but these are some that come to mind. Which one do you like? Do you have a better option that the IHSAA could explore?
Ultimate Bracket Challenge
We have put together the best 124 wrestlers from 2000-2020 and mashed them in the ultimate bracket. This list includes five wrestlers who won four state titles, 10 that won three titles, and 49 that have won two state titles!
We seeded them by a point system on their whole career then separated ties by national level success. The top 44 wrestlers(all who made the finals at least three times) were given a bye into the main 64 man ultimate bracket. The other 80 will battle it out in a vote-in to make the main bracket.
To add to the foray we have created some banana bets for you to earn more bananas for future use.
Voting will take place on Twitter starting around noon on Monday March 23rd and continue daily until the bracket is complete. Each voting duration will be only two hours so stay tuned to our Twitter account for updates throughout the day. As the winners are announced we will update our bracket to determine the champion.
Banana Bets Links
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#WrestlingWednesday: Garcia has a new approach to his Junior year
By JEREMY HINES
If Asa Garcia ever needed a nickname, perhaps The Fireman would be the most fitting.
Sure, the Avon junior’s favorite wrestling move is the fireman’s carry - but that’s not the only reason for the nickname. Firemen are some of the bravest men on the planet. While most sane people run in the opposite direction of a fire, firefighters run towards it. Garcia is one of those that run toward the fire.
A perfect example of this came a few weeks ago when Avon competed in the team state tournament. Garcia knew that he would have a gauntlet of top tier opponents in his path. He couldn’t wait for the challenge.
Garcia, the top ranked wrestler in an absolutely stacked 126 pound class this year, beat two returning state champions and a fourth place finisher in team state. He dropped last year’s 120 pound champ, Cayden Rooks (now ranked No. 2 at 126 pounds) 3-1. He beat last year’s 113 pound champ Alec Viduya (ranked No. 3 at 126) 7-5 and he also knocked off fifth ranked Colin Poynter, who finished fourth at 120 last year, 3-2.
“Asa was excited for the opportunity to get so many good matches at team state,” Avon coach Zach Errett said. “He was really looking at it as an opportunity more than anything. He knew he was going to get to wrestle and compete with some of the best kids in the state. That’s who he is. He looks to compete, always. I enjoy that about him. He wants to wrestle the best people.”
Garcia said he approached team state with the mentality that it was going to make him a better wrestler, no matter what happened.
“I knew the tournament would be tough,” Garcia said. “I’ve beaten those guys before, but I’ve also taken my lumps to some of them. You don’t know how well you’ll perform until you get out there and do it. Right now, wins and losses don’t matter anyway. If I took a loss or two, it wouldn’t have affected me. At the end of the day, the state tournament is when it really matters. Everything up until that point is practice.”
Garcia won state as a freshman at 106 pounds. He came into that tournament with six losses, but emerged as the champ after pinning Warren Central senior Keyuan Murphy in just under two minutes.
“Getting under the lights is an experience that’s tough to explain,” Garcia said. “You would think you’d be really nervous. But, everything just shuts down and you probably wrestle the best you’ve ever wrestled in your life.”
This year Garcia is making great strides because his approach to practicing has changed. Instead of practicing to get down to weight, he’s practicing to get better.
“Last year stung a little not winning (he placed third at 113),” Garcia said. “It was a tough season all around. I was cutting too much weight and it showed when things started to count. I was like 133 pounds during the week and I was cutting to 113. I wasn’t able to practice to get better, I was practicing to get the weight off. This year is much different. I’m able to maintain my weight and in practice I’m really able to focus on improving.”
One of the keys to Garcia’s wrestling success is his ability to learn and expand his arsenal.
“One of the things I really love about wrestling is when you get out of your comfort zone and do something you aren’t used to,” Garcia said. “It’s no secret my favorite move is the fireman’s carry - but I’ve been able to build a more elaborate offense because I worked on things I wasn’t comfortable doing. You have to work on them until you are comfortable with them.”
Garcia’s top priority this year is to get back under the lights and to claim his second state title.
“You think of getting under those lights all year long,” Garcia said. “You plan in your mind what your celebration would be like. You constantly think of how you want to wrestle and how you react when you win. But, all of that shuts down when you’re actually in the moment. You just have to let go and have fun.”
As a team, Avon breaks down after every practice with a chant of “State Champs.” Garcia knows that after that, it’s his turn to run toward the fire.
History of the State Tournament
This information was compiled by Dave Holman in his book "Ready Wrestle" and Dick Neal better known as The Ancient Elder.
“The first Indiana state high school wrestling tournament was held by Indiana University in 1922 under the auspices of the IHSAA. There were 19 wrestlers from 7 schools participating in this first state tournament. The individual champions in each weight class were awarded gold medals and the championship team was awarded a plaque.
It is interesting to note that from 1922-1935 a regulation high school wrestling match consisted of one eight-minute period with both wrestlers starting in the neutral position on their feet. There was no point system and the winner was determined solely on riding time or by a fall. If a wrestler could gain a takedown, ride his opponent and accumulate the majority of riding time, or if he could pin his opponent, he would be the winner. In the 1935-36 season, a point system and periods were added to make the matches more interesting for spectators.
From 1922 to 1951, the only IHSAA rules that governed Indiana high school wrestling were the general IHSAA rules that applied to all sports in Indiana, such as eligibility and age requirements. The rules used for the state tournament and for meets during the regular season were the National Intercollegiate Wrestling coaches and enforced as rules by the tournament officials. As the sport of wrestling grew, and as more teams and coaches began to participate in the state tournament, it became harder to enforce these rules. Beginning with the 1951-52 wrestling season, a new set of rules was adopted by the IHSAA for the governing of Indiana high school wrestling. The rules were written jointly by coaches Chauncey McDaniel of Southport High School and Clifford Myers of Bloomington High School. These rules remained in effect until the 1957-58 wrestling season when certain modifications were made. One of these modifications resulted from a controversy over weight loss. Prior to 1957, the so-called "50 percent rule" was in effect. This rule stated that in order to be eligible for the sectional tournament a wrestler must merely wrestle at a certain weight for 50 percent of his matches. At a tournament a boy could wrestle several times and each of his matches would count toward the 50 percent. There 'was basically no restriction on how much weight a wrestler could lose during the season. There was nothing to prevent him from weighing-in at a weight for 50 percent of his matches, then going up to any other weight for the rest of the season, and then dropping back down for the sectional. It was decided that all of this was a misinterpretation of the purpose of the rule, which was to prevent excessive weight loss during the season. The new rules stated that a wrestler must be certified at a certain weight by mid-season. The wrestler could not go down in weight after that date and must weigh-in at that weight at a minimum number of meets during the regular season in order to be eligible for the sectional tournament. The modified rules remained in effect until 1973 when the National Wrestling Federation Rules were written, for which the Indiana rules served as a model.
From 1922 to 1932 the IHSAA bought the awards and paid for lodging; however, Indiana University actually hosted the tournament. The state tournament created great interest in wrestling and a rapid growth followed. By 1930 there were about 20 teams throughout Indiana. Due to the rapid growth of wrestling in the state, the IHSAA took over the complete sponsorship of the state tournament from 1933 to 1943). During these years the tournament was still hosted by Indiana University. Sadly, during the years of the "Great Depression" and the early years of World War II, many schools dropped their wrestling programs and a steady decline followed.
From 1944 to 1949, Indiana high school wrestling was at its lowest point and the IHSAA was forced to drop sponsorship of the state tournament. During these years a few of the schools throughout the state still continued to compete. These schools kept the state tournament alive by hosting an invitational tournament each year. The main schools which participated and the years these various schools hosted the tournaments were: Southport in 1944 Crawfordsville in 1945 and 1946; Bloomington in 1947 and 1949; and Lafayette Jeff in 1948.In 1950 the IHSAA once again took over sponsorship of the state tournament, and it continues to do so today. From 1950 to 1959, the tournament was hosted on alternate years-by Bloomington and Lafayette Jeff. From 1960 to 1980 the tournament was hosted by Southport, who at that time had one of the largest high school field houses in Indiana with 7,200 seats. The state tournament finally outgrew even this facility and from 1981 through 1999 the tournament was moved to Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Again size became an issue and in 2000 the tournament was shifted to Conseco Field house in Indianapolis.
From 1922 to 1949, the tournament was held over one weekend. During these early years of the state tournament, a school could enter an entire team or just a few individuals. All of the wrestlers entered in a certain weight class were paired up by a "blind draw". Since it was possible for the two best wrestlers to meet in the first round, it was made a double elimination tournament with full wrestle-backs. Wrestle-backs were actually used from 1922 to 1949, long before the modern state tournament used them between 1981 and 1984.
Growing from 7 teams in 1922 to approximately 20 in 1949, the day finally came when it could no longer be held in just two days. Beginning in 95O the tournament format consisted of various sectionals throughout the State serving as a preliminary to reduce the number of wrestlers competing at the state finals. The following sections of this chapter will outline the growth and changes that have occurred in the tournament format from 1950 to the present.
In 1950, the state tournament began at two sectional sites around the state with ten teams in each sectional. The two sectional sites were located at Bloomington and East Chicago. There were 20 schools and 240 wrestlers participating in the 1950 state tournament. Both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each sectional advanced to the state finals held one week later. There were 48 wrestlers from 13 schools participating in the state finals. There were four finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The finalists were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same sectional were in opposite brackets and the sectional champions would not meet until the final match. There were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
From 1951 to 1953, the state tournament began at four sectional sites around the state with five or six teams in each sectional. The following were the four sectional sites from 1951 to 1953: Bloomington, Lafayette Jeff, Southport, and South Bend Central.
There were 22 schools and 264 wrestlers participating in the 1951 state tournament. From 1951 to 1953 only the champion in each weight class from each sectional advanced to the state finals held one week later. There were 48 wrestlers from 12 schools participating in the state finals in 1951. There were four finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The four sectional champions were paired by a blind draw. There were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
From 1954 to 1957 the state tournament began at four sectional sites around the state with nine teams in each sectional. The following were the four sectional sites from 1954 to 1957: Bloomington, East Chicago Lafayette Jeff and Muncie Central.
There were 35 schools and 420 wrestlers participating in the tournament. From 1954 to 1957 both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each sectional advanced to the state finals held one week later. There were 96 wrestlers from 27 schools participating in the state finals in 1954. There were eight finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The finalists were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same sectional were in opposite brackets and the sectional champions would not meet until the semifinal and final matches. There were four quarterfinal matches and the winners advanced to the semifinals and the losers were eliminated. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
Due to the rapid growth in interest in wrestling, the number of sectionals was doubled from four to eight and two regional meets were added between the sectional and state finals. From 1958 to 1962, the state tournament began at eight sectional sites around the state with six to ten teams in each sectional. The following were the eight sectional sites from 1958 to 1962: Bloomington, East Chicago, Indianapolis Broad Ripple, Indianapolis Manual, Kokomo, Muncie Central, New Albany, and South Bend Adams. There were 62 schools and 744 wrestlers participating in the 1958 state tournament. From 1958 to 1962, both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each sectional advanced to one of two regionals, which were held one week later. Bloomington and Lafayette Jeff hosted the regional action from 1958 to 1962. Qualifiers from 4 of the eight sectionals went to a northern regional, usually held at Lafayette Jeff. Qualifiers from the other four sectionals went to a southern regional, usually held at Bloomington. There were eight wrestlers per weight class competing in the regional tournament and they were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same sectional were in opposite brackets. They would not wrestle each other again until the final match of the regional and two sectional champs would not meet until the second round. During the years from 1958 to 1962, the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each regional advanced to the state finals, which was held one week later. There were 48 wrestlers from 26 schools participating in the state finals in 1958. There were four finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The finalists were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same regional were in opposite brackets and the two regional champions would not meet until the finals. There were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
Once again due to the rapid growth in interest in wrestling, the number of sectionals was doubled from 8 to 16 and the number of regionals doubled from 2 to 4. From 1963 to 1971, the state tournament began at 16 sectional sites around the state with 12 to 14 teams in each sectional. The following were the 16 sectional sites from 1963 to 1971: Anderson, Crawfordsville, Crown Point, East Chicago, Elkhart, Evansville Mater Dei, Franklin Central, Gary Wirt, Hammond Tech, Indianapolis Broad Ripple, Indianapolis Washington, Kokomo, New Albany, New Castle, South Bend Adams, and Warren Central.
There were 103 schools and 1,236 wrestlers participating in the 1963 state tournament. From 1963 to 1971, only the champion in each weight class from each sectional advanced. Qualifiers advanced to one of four regionals, which were held one week later. Regional sites from 1963 to 1971 were Bloomington, East Chicago, Indianapolis Arlington, and Lafayette Jeff. Qualifiers from 4 of the 16 sectionals went to each regional site. There were four wrestlers per weight class competing in the regional tournament and they were paired up by a blind draw. During the years from 1963 to 1971, only the champion in each weight class from each regional qualified for the state finals held one week later. There were 48 wrestlers from 26 schools participating in the state finals in 1963. There were four finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The finalists were paired up by a blind draw. As in the regional tournaments there were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers. By the early 1970' s the various sectionals had grown to include as many as 16 to 18 teams in each sectional. Some sectionals had as many as 20 teams. In 1972, the tournament format would have to be expanded further.
From 1963 to 1972, wrestling had, perhaps, its most rapid growth. Due to this growth, the tournament format was changed to include 32 sectionals and 8 regionals. From 1972 to 1975, the state tournament began at 32 sectional sites around the state with 8 to 10 teams in each sectional. The following were the 32 sectional sites from 1972 to 1975: Anderson, Bellmont, Bloomington, Brookville, Calumet, Crown Point, East Noble, Elkhart, Evansville Mater Dei, Franklin Central, Greencastle, Greenfield Central, Greenwood, Hobart, Jasper, Lafayette Jeff, Lawrence Central, Logansport, Mooresville, Muncie Southside, New Albany, New Castle, New Haven, Noblesville, Indianapolis Pike, Portage, Rensselaer, South Bend Adams, South Bend Washington, Taylor, Triton, and Wabash. There were 265 schools and 3,100 wrestlers participating in the 1972 state tournament. From 1972 to 1975, both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each sectional advanced to one of eight regionals, which were held one week later. The following were the eight regional sites from 1972 to 1975: Bloomington, Fort Wayne Northside, Gary Wirt, Indianapolis Arlington, Indianapolis Pike, New Castle, South Bend Adams, and Twin Lakes.
There were eight wrestlers per weight class competing in the regional tournament and they were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same sectional were in opposite brackets. They would not wrestle each other again until the final match of the regional and two sectional champs would not meet until the second round. During the years from 1972 to 1975, only the regional champion in each weight class from each regional advanced to the state finals, which was held one week later. There were 96 wrestlers from 63 schools participating in the state finals in 1972. There were eight finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The finalists were paired up by a blind draw. As in the regional tournaments there were four quarterfinal matches and the losers were eliminated. The winners advanced to the semifinal round. There were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
Due to the continuing growth in wrestling, the state tournament format was changed once again in 1976. This was the last major change and included 64 sectionals and 16 regionals. Also added were four semistate tournaments held between the regional and state finals. From 1976 to 1980, the state tournament began at 64 sectional sites around the state with 4 to 6 teams in each sectional. The following were the sectional sites from 1976 to 1980 and most have continued to be sectional sites up to the present: Adams Central, Bloomington South, Brookville, Brownsburg, Calumet, Center Grove, Crawfordsville, Crown Point, Culver Military, Delphi, East Chicago Washington, East Noble, Jeffersonville, Jennings County, Knightstown, Lafayette Jeff, Lakeland, Lawrence Central, Lebanon, Logansport, Manchester, Marion, Mishawaka, Mooresville, Elkhart Memorial, Evansville Mater Dei, Evansville Reitz, Fort Wayne Carroll, Fort Wayne Northside, Fort Wayne Wayne, Fountain Central, Franklin Central, Gary Wirt, Goshen, Greencastle, Greenfield Central, Greensburg, Hagerstown, Hammond High, Highland, Huntington North, Indianapolis Chatard, Indianapolis Howe, Indianapolis Pike, Jay County, Mount Vernon, Muncie Northside, Muncie Southside, New Castle, New Haven, New Prairie, Noblesville, Pendleton Heights, Rensselaer, Shelbyville, South Bend Washington, Southport, Southridge, Taylor, Terre Haute North, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Washington, and Wes-Del.
There were 305 schools and almost 4,000 wrestlers participating in the 1976 state tournament. From 1976 to 1980, both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each sectional advanced to one of 16 regionals, which were held one week later. The following were the 16 regional sites from 1976 to 1980 and most have continued to be up to the present: Bloomington North, Calumet, Crown Point, Elkhart Central, Castle, Fort Wayne North, Fort Wayne Snider, Indian polis Arlington, Indianapolis Pike, Lebanon, Muncie Northside, New Castle, New Prairie, Seymour, Shelbyville, and Twin Lakes. There were eight wrestlers per weight class competing in the regional tournament and they were paired up so that the champion and runner-up from the same sectional were in opposite brackets. They would not wrestle each other again until the final match of the regional and two sectional champs would not meet until the second round. From 1976 to 1980 both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each regional advanced to one of four semi-state tournaments, which were held one week later. The following were the four semi-state sites from 1976 to 1980: Bloomington South, Fort Wayne Northside, Indianapolis North Central, and New Prairie.
There were eight wrestlers per weight class competing in the semi-state tournament. The same format was followed that was used at the regional tournaments. From 1976 to 1980, both the champion and runner-up in each weight class from each semi-state advanced to the state finals, which were held one week later. There were 104 wrestlers from 74 schools participating in the state finals in 1976. There were eight finalists per weight class competing with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. The same format was followed that was used at the regional and semi-state tournaments. There were four quarterfinal matches and the losers were eliminated. The winners advanced to the semifinal round. There were two semifinal matches. The two semifinal winners wrestled a championship match to determine first- and second-place finishers. The two semifinal losers wrestled a consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers.
From 1981 to 1983, the state tournament format remained basically the same but with the following minor changes. The top three placers in each weight class from each semi-state advanced to the state finals. There were 1 2 finalists per weight class competing which made it necessary to begin wrestling on Friday evening. During the first round, the second- and third-place finishers from different semi-states wrestled and the semi-state champions would wrestle the winners of these preliminary matches in the second round. The first round losers were eliminated. From 1981 to 1983, wrestle-backs were used. Wrestlers losing in the quarterfinals to an eventual semifinal winner would have an opportunity to qualify by wrestle-backs for the consolation match to determine third- and fourth-place finishers. From this point on, the format remained the same with the top four 'place finishers each awarded a medal. In 1981, there were 320 teams with 4,070 wrestlers competing in sectional action. The finals of 1981 saw 93 teams competing with 156 wrestlers. By 1983, there were 314 teams with 4,070 wrestlers competing in sectional action. The finals of 1983 saw 87 teams with 156 wrestlers in action.
From 1984 to 1985, the state tournament format again remained basically the same except for some additional minor changes. The top four placers in each weight class from each semi-state advanced to the state finals. There were 16 finalists per weight class competing which made it necessary to continue the Friday evening first round session. The main difference was that everyone wrestled on Friday. This change was brought about because many felt it a disadvantage for the semi-state champions not to wrestle the first round, as had been the case during 1981 to 1983. The previous format also had prevented the semi-state champions from earning fall points during the opening round. During the first round, the first- and fourth-place finishers from different semi-states wrestled and the second- and third-place finishers from different semi-states wrestled. The first round losers were eliminated and the winners advanced to the second round. Wrestle-backs were also used in 1984. In 1985, a snow storm delayed the tournament for one week, therefore the tournament site had to be moved from Market Square Arena to New Castle. Since the tournament had to be held on one day, wrestle-backs were eliminated because of the time factor. From this point on true wrestlebacks were excluded from the tournament. The format remained the same with the top four place finishers each awarded a medal. Participants in 1984 included 316 teams with 4,100 wrestlers at sectional sites and 113 teams with 208 wrestlers at the state finals. In 1985, participants included 312 teams with 4,050 wrestlers at sectional sites and 106 teams with 208 wrestlers at the state finals.
From 1986 to 1991, the state tournament format still remained basically the same. Some additional changes finally resulted in the current format used today. The most recent changes were as follows. The top three placers in each weight class from each regional advanced to the semi-state. There were 12 wrestlers per weight class competing in the semi-state. This made it necessary to wrestle a preliminary round between the second- and third-place finishers from different regionals. The winners would wrestle the regional champions in the second round. From this point on, the format remained the same. The top four placers in each weight class from each semi-state advanced to the state finals. The format of the state finals remained unchanged except from 1986 to 1991 the top six place finishers were each awarded a medal. Wrestlers who lost in the Quarterfinals to the eventual finalists wrestled consolation matches to determine fifth- and sixth-place finishers. In 1986 there were 311 teams with 4,037 wrestlers involved in sectionals and 118\teams with 208 wrestlers involved in the state finals. The 1991 tournament had 306 teams with 3,775 wrestlers competing in sectional action and 112 teams with 208 wrestlers advancing to the state finals.
The format of the state finals remained unchanged in 1992 except the top eight place finishers were each awarded a medal. The first round losers were eliminated and the winners advanced to the second round. Wrestlers who lost in the Quarterfinals to the eventual finalists wrestled consolation matches to determine fifth-and sixth-place finishers. Wrestlers who lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual semifinal losers wrestled consolation matches to determine seventh- and eighth- place finishers. The 1992 tournament had 307 teams with 3,724 wrestlers competing in sectional action and 123 teams with 208 wrestlers advancing to the state finals.”
- Dave Holman
"Ready, Wrestle" - 1992
In 1995-1996 the IHSAA implemented a team state championship series to be ran parallel to the individual series.
In 2002-2003 the number of sectionals were reduced from 64 to 32. And the third and fourth place finishers from each sectional were advanced to the regionals.
In 2008-2009 the 4th place finishers from each regional were advanced to the semi-state.
As mentioned in the last few sections of this chapter, the number of teams and individuals participating in the state tournament had increased dramatically until the mid-1970's. However, for the past 15 years the numbers have remained fairly constant. This does not mean that the interest in wrestling has declined. The main reasons are that almost all of the schools in Indiana had started wrestling programs by the mid-1970's, and that many of the smaller schools, which had wrestling by the 1960’s, were involved in consolidations. As a result, the increase in the number of teams during this period was offset by a decrease due to many school consolidations. Many changes have been made through the years to keep pace with the growth of the sport and no doubt further changes will be made in the future. For the benefit of the high school wrestlers in the state of Indiana and through the efforts of many dedicated individuals, wrestling will continue to be the great sport it has always been.
- Dick Neal aka The Ancient Elder
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IndianaMat Silverback Subscription Plan
The increasing reality of the internet is subscription plans. Looking at other state websites almost all of them have some sort of subscription in order to view most of the content. IndianaMat has bucked the trend and continued to be a free site utilizing other revenue streams that pay the bills. One of our revenue streams over the past few years has been our extremely popular preseason magazine. This year we set a record with the sales which will help us add staff members and equipment to better cover the sport.
However, with increasing coverage and content comes higher bills and expenses. This year we are going to implement our Silverback subscription program. Many of you may have noticed that some people are tagged as Silverbacks on the forum. That basically means they have purchased a magazine whether a physical or digital copy. With that perk comes the ability to view our preseason rankings. We are not going to stop there though. We are giving early access to all of our rankings to these people for the first 24 hours after each individual ranking set is released. As we move along this season there will be more perks added to this membership.
If you do not want to purchase a magazine you can become a subscriber by going to the subscriptions tab at the top or in the mobile menu and subscribe. Once you purchase a subscription plan or a magazine you will be upgraded to the Silverback group.
The cost is $10 and will give you access to our Silverback subscription plan for a year. There will be more perks later this year for members as we add more features to the website.
Click here to purchase a subscription
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2014 Mooresville Classic Preview
By Chad Hollenbaugh
IndianaMat Senior Writer
The holiday season has been known in the prep wrestling world as a time for high school teams to travel and seek out great competition. Sometimes this competition is close to home, and sometimes squads will travel to other parts of the state. Connersville and the Mishawaka Al Smith Invitational both have a statewide reputation for attracting teams from all over the state. The Mater Dei Holiday meet has a more regional draw but its line up of teams is very strong.
In recent years, a new player on the holiday tournament scene has developed south of Indianapolis. The Mooresville tournament now is at the level where it will attract both high school teams and fans throughout the state. Mooresville is now attracting teams from three of the four semi-states and may provide the top holiday individual match-up if Indianapolis Cathedralâ€™s Blake Rypel and Mooresvilleâ€™s Randy Scott make their way to the finals at Mooresville. This would be a battle between the #1 and #2 ranked 195 pounders. Both are Fargo All Americans and exciting, dynamic performers.
Yorktown is the clear frontrunner for team honors but the defending state champions, Indianapolis Cathedral should test the Tigers. Castleâ€™s veteran coach, Bob Harmon, is not doubt interested to see how his young and talented Knights match up against some of the stateâ€™s best and donâ€™t sleep on the Panthers from Jennings County.
The little guys will bring excitement as state ranked grapplers from three semi states will battle it out for top honors at Mooresville. Hamilton Heights fifth ranked junior David Bryant is the pre meet favorite but he will likely be challenged by Castle freshman Baxter Annakin, who is ranked 12th and fourteenth ranked Christian Hunt of Yorktown. Will the Husky veteran be able to navigate against wrestlers from two of the better programs in the state?
Returning state placer Skylour Turner of Indianapolis Cathedral is the big dog in the 113 class. The Cathedral sophomore placed eighth at state last year. A couple of ticket round 106ers from last season will make the trip south from the Fort Wayne semi state looking to test themselves. 15th ranked Josh Stephenson of Yorktown and junior Jack Franklin of Homestead should both challenge Turner. Thirteenth ranked Carson Willis of Evansville Central adds depth to this class.
The 120 pound class looks like it might provide some fireworks due to both the strength at the top and the depth throughout the bracket. Cathedral has another returning state placer here with Breyden Bailey. Bailey was one of the stateâ€™s elite 106 pounders last year when he placed 3rd in the state. He is up two weight classes this year and might run into fourteenth ranked Isaac Gomez from Plainfield. Several semi state ranked grapplers led by Gibson Southernâ€™s Christian Pellacer.
Hamilton Height Husky Trezdon Oâ€™Neal and Evansville Central sophomore Conner Willis are the state ranked wrestlers at this weight. Oâ€™Neal comes into the Mooresville Invite ranked 14th in the state and Willis is currently slotted at number 12. Cathedralâ€™s Zach Melloh and Yorktownâ€™s Remo Hiestand are two wrestlers from tough programs that will push Oâ€™Neal and Willis. Terre Haute Southâ€™s David Lewis is the most likely Brave to perform well at Mooresville.
The Shamrocks of Westfield travel south of Indy for a nice warm up before wrestling in the team state duals. Their top wrestler, Evan Eldred will be the likely #1 seed at 132. He is currently ranked sixth in the state, was a Fargo All-American this past summer, and has a notable win over state placer Jack Chastain of Hamilton Southeastern. Looking to battle Eldred for Mooresville supremacy will be Yorktown senior Jacob Stephenson, currently ranked 11th in the state.
This class might be in the running for being the most competitive of the day. Hometown boy Mitch Anderson is a returning state qualifier that has yet to crack the state rankings this season.
The grappler he defeated to earn his trip to Bankers Life, Kyle Todrank of Gibson Southern is currently ranked sixth in the state. The fifth ranked Brad Laughlin of Yorktown will give the bracket a taste of the Tiger. Finally, Castle has yet another contender with semi state qualifier Austin Ramsey who comes in ranked thirteenth.
The top-heavy 145 class features two-time state placer Cael McCormick from Yorktown. McCormick keeps growing but still keeps winning and the Tiger is currently ranked third in the state. Ticket rounder Ethan Herrin of Jennings County is Hall of Fame coach T. Howard Jones top gun. Herrin is currently ranked fifth in the state. Castleâ€™s Patrick Schnell qualified for state last year at 138 and is currently ranked #12.
The 152 class has the least amount of established talent in the bracket so it might just be the most unpredictable and interesting to keep an eye on. Jacob Farmer of Castle is the only state ranked wrestler in this bracket. He may have to face Martinsville Cayden Whitaker in the finals. This match-up might be a preview for the semi-state in February.
A highlight weight class at the Mooresville Invite, the 160 division could feature a finals match-up that will be repeated at the Evansville semi-state and state finals. Second ranked Gabe Koontz of Edgewood will make the short trip north to battle at Mooresville. Koontz was third in the state last year. His likely finals opponent is Isaiah Kemper of Evansville Central. Kemper is a two time state qualifier. Excellent depth in this weight class is provided by Hamilton Heights Isaac Ray, Martinsvilleâ€™s Ethan Runyan, Castleâ€™s Turner Lockyear and Jennings Countyâ€™s Cole Chandler.
Not much depth here but the top two seeds could provide fireworks in the finals. Cathedralâ€™s Ben Harvey had a disappointing state finals last year but is rolling through this season with possibly the stateâ€™s best win, a 4-2 decision over defending state champion, Jacob Stevenson of Franklin. Yorktownâ€™s Dillon Jackson surprised many with his run to the semifinals last year at state and finished with a third place medal. Jackson has hit a couple of speed bumps this season and will look to get back on track with a win over Harvey.
The 182 weight class could be dominated by Yorktownâ€™s Myron Howard-Anderson. He is currently ranked 2nd in the state and finished fourth at this weight class last in the state meet. He, however, has not been very active this season and might be dealing with injury. If thatâ€™s the case, this weight class is wide open with Bloomington Northâ€™s Hunter Dalton, Castleâ€™s Evan Dowell, Jennings County Peyton Shepard and Homesteadâ€™s Wyatt Clem as contenders for the crown.
If there is one spotlight finals match-up that the entire state will keep an eye on, it is at 195. Top ranked Blake Rypel was a state runner-up last year, was a Fargo and Super 32 All American and currently is ranked 8th in the state by Flo and 11th by Intermat. His likely finals opponent will be hometown favorite Randy Scott. Scott finished third in the state last year and is also a former Fargo All American. On a busy day of wrestling state-wide, everyone will want to know the results of this brawl.
What the 220 class lacks in top end state level talent, it makes up for it with outstanding depth. Gibson Southernâ€™s junior Cody Klem lost a narrow ticket round match to Franklin stud Conner Talley. Klem might be under ranked at 8th. Martinsville sophomore big man Clayton Scroggs is currently ranked tenth in the state. Depth is provided by Cathedralâ€™s Ryan Guhl, Jennings Countyâ€™s Brady Shepherd, Westfieldâ€™s Daryn Milton and Yorktownâ€™s Noah Little.
The heavyweights have a trio of state ranked grapplers that will contend for top honors at Mooresville. The Quakerâ€™s of Plainfield have a sophomore stud in seventh ranked Bryce Biddle. Greenwood will likely counter on the other side of the bracket with number 13 Gavin Fuqua. The top end of Jenniings Countyâ€™s line up is in good hands with 16th ranked Brenden Sutton. Yorktownâ€™s Dax Hiestand provides balance for the Tigers.
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2022 Regional Wrestling Brackets
1. Hobart | 9 am CT
Feeder Sectionals: East Chicago Central, Portage.
2. Crown Point | 8 am CT
Feeder Sectionals: Crown Point, LaPorte.
3. Penn | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Mishawaka, Plymouth.
4. Logansport | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Lafayette Jefferson, Twin Lakes.
5. Goshen | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Elkhart, West Noble.
6. Carroll (Fort Wayne) | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Carroll (Fort Wayne), New Haven.
7. Maconaquah | 9:30 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Peru, Oak Hill.
8. Jay County | 8:30 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Delta, Jay County.
9. North Montgomery | 9 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Crawfordsville, Frankfort.
10. Pendleton Heights | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Elwood, Indianapolis Arsenal Technical.
11. Perry Meridian | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Shelbyville, Southport.
12. Richmond | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: South Dearborn, Tri.
13. Mooresville | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Avon, Mooresville.
14. Bloomington South | 8 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Bloomington North, Southridge.
15. Jeffersonville | 9 am ET
Feeder Sectionals: Jeffersonville, Jennings County.
16. Castle | 8 am CT
Feeder Sectionals: Castle, Evansville Central.
Pendleton Heights.pdf Penn.pdf Perry Meridian.pdf Richmond.pdf Bloomington South.pdf Carroll.pdf Castle.pdf Crown Point.pdf Goshen.pdf Hobart.pdf Jay County.pdf Jeffersonville.pdf Logansport.pdf Maconaquah.pdf Mooresville.pdf North Montgomery.pdf Maconaquah-1.pdf
WrestlingWednesday: Shenandoah Not a Fly By Night Program
By JEREMY HINES
When Gary Black Jr. interviewed for the head wrestling coach at Shenandoah, his goals were clear. He didnâ€™t want to maintain the status quo for the Raiders. He wasnâ€™t content with getting a few kids through to semistate. He wanted to put Shenandoah on the wrestling map, and he wanted the small Henry County school to compete, and win against the stateâ€™s best programs.
His vision for the program landed him the job, and now, seven years later, he has done exactly what he said he would.
Shenandoah won the schoolâ€™s first sectional two weeks ago. The Raiders dominated larger schools such as New Castle and Richmond in the process.
Last week the Raiders fell 1.5 points shy of winning the schoolâ€™s first regional title.
â€œWe had to get a mentality change,â€ Black said. â€œWe had to understand the physicality of wrestling. We reached out to the elementary school. We implemented a club to get young kids invested in the sport at an early age. It took us a few years, but when we had an opening for the middle school job and I had John Slivka and my dad (Gary) take over, we really started developing our feeder system.â€
Shenandoah has seven wrestlers competing at the New Castle semistate Saturday. Sophomores A.J. Black (106) and Dallas Pugsley (126), senior Ryan Surguy (138) and freshman Silas Allred (170) were all Richmond regional champions. Sophomore Hayden Lohrey (132) lost a close match to undefeated Cainan Schaefer in the championship round. Josh Gee (senior, 160) lost to No. 2-ranked Alston Bane 1-0 in the championship and sophomore Jake Webster placed fourth in the 152-pound class.
The Raider success story is one of heartache, determination and a coach that refuses to give up on his kids.
Coach Blackâ€™s younger brother Levi was perhaps the most talented grappler on the Raider team. He had an insane dedication to the sport and a work ethic that was unrivaled. Levi was well liked by everyone he came in contact with. But, despite all the positives he had going for him, Levi struggled with a mental illness that eventually led him to take his own life, at the high school, in November of 2015.
The death rocked the tiny Shenandoah community, as well as much of the surrounding area. Leviâ€™s funeral brought together wrestlers from around the state. Many wrestlers, such as Bane at Richmond, have shown support of the Black family and helped raised awareness of mental illness by having a green streak (symbolic of Leviâ€™s fight with the disease) dyed in his hair.
The Shenandoah team needed strength during this time. They needed someone to help them cope with the emotional gravity of the situation. The Black family was there to provide it.
â€œBoth coaches (Gary Jr. and Sr.) are my heroes,â€ Gee said. â€œAfter all they went through, they still took care of us â€“ even over themselves. Through their pain they never let us down. They helped us cope and really turned us into a wrestling brotherhood. We are a family.â€
For Gary Jr., he knew he needed to find a way to honor Levi, yet move forward.
â€œThe last 16 months have been a huge learning curve for a lot of us,â€ Black said. â€œNot only are you dealing with the daily grind of being a wrestler at a high level, but these kids already battle a lot of things daily. That was one more added struggle for all of us. There are days for me, my dad and Iâ€˜m sure the kids â€“ being at that exact same place where everything happened â€“ that make it very difficult. All of our lives have been changed.â€
Last year A.J. Black, Levi and Gary Jrâ€™s youngest brother, tried doing everything he could to honor Levi. At times, the pressure got to him. He didnâ€™t want to let his family down. When he lost in the ticket round to go to state, you could see that built up emotion boil over as tears streamed down his face.
â€œThe weight of trying to accomplish a goal for the memory of his brother took its toll on A.J. and just mentally wore him down,â€ coach Black said. â€œWe talked about it. He had to make a shift in how he honors his brother. He needs to start doing things for himself.
â€œI ask him before every match, who he is wrestling for. He now will say â€˜Meâ€™ and then give me a hug and go wrestle. He still honors Levi, but by working his hardest and doing his best. Thatâ€™s all Levi would have wanted.â€
The hard work mantra extends past A.J. To a man, the Raiders pride themselves on outworking other teams. The guys have bought into the system and have dedicated their summers to the sport.
â€œLevi was the hardest worker in the room,â€ A.J. said. â€œEveryone wants to make him proud by working as hard as they can, every day.â€
Take Allred for example. He is a 14-year old freshman that wonâ€™t turn 15 until May 28. Heâ€™s wrestling in one of the most physically demanding classes (170). Yet heâ€™s undefeated.
â€œWe believe success is a mindset,â€ Allred said. â€œI constantly train and constantly push myself to get better. If you want to be the best, you have to work to be the best. You can get better, or worse every single day.â€
Surguy and Gee are two examples of the dividends of that work ethic.
As a sophomore Gee was pinned by Bane in the sectional final in 36 seconds. Last year he lost 5-1 to Bane in the sectional final. This year, Gee has dropped two matches to Bane, but both were by the score of 1-0.
Surguy is another senior that struggled early, but has blossomed due to the work he puts in. This year Surguy is 42-2 with a sectional and regional title.
Gary has built the Raider program to be one of the stateâ€™s best. The Raiders finished No. 2 in the Class A team state, and have higher aspirations down the road.
For Gary, the key to success has been making the wrestlers buy into the fact that the only way to improve, is to outwork the opposition. He also makes sure the wrestlers feel like a family.
â€œWe see each other at our worst, and we see each other at our best,â€ said Allred, who has a 4.0 GPA and is ranked third in his class. â€œWhen one of us has a down day, the rest of us try and pick him up. This is more than a wrestling team. Weâ€™re all friends. Weâ€™re all brothers.â€
The leader of the Raider family is undoubtedly the young coach Black. His passion for the team is evident in every match he coaches.
â€œOn Sundays Iâ€™m exhausted,â€ Black said â€œItâ€™s hard for me to be on the sideline when I just want to go to war with them. I donâ€™t want to be the general just telling them to go into battle. I want to battle with them. Iâ€™ll be the intense guy on the sideline.
â€œI want these kids to win as bad as they do. I get extremely emotionally involved in their success. Iâ€™d like to think they appreciate it, even though I look ridiculous. I love wrestling and I love watching those kids compete.â€
Last year only Lohrey punched his ticket to the state meet for the Raiders. This year Shenandoah has high hopes to have more than one kid represented. They know how hard the road is to get to state, but theyâ€™ve prepared themselves to complete the journey â€“ just like a young coach interviewing for his first head coaching job seven years ago said they would.
Carroll and Mendez look to dominate at Who’s #1
Jesse Mendez is making his third straight trip to FloWrestling’s Who’s #1 and Christian Carroll is wrestling in his first event. Both are looking to build upon a strong spring and summer and win their respective matches.
Carroll has been nearly unbeatable since last fall when he won the Grappler Fall Classic and followed that up with a Super 32 belt. This spring he was runner-up in freestyle and Greco-roman to eventual world champion Braxton Amos. After that he dominated at Fargo and won a Junior title at 220lbs. Carroll is the first Indiana wrestler to win a Fargo Junior championship and a Super 32 championship.
The match for Carroll will be the main event and a big guy super match. He will face off with the top ranked heavyweight in the country, Nick Feldman. Both “heavyweights” weighed in under 230lbs, so this is closer to a light heavyweight match-up. Feldman has won Beast of the East and National Prep titles to go along with winning at Who’s #1 a year ago. He’s an Ohio State commit and will be a great match-up for Carroll. This will NOT be a boring big guy battle.
Jesse Mendez is making his third trip to Who’s #1 and looking to be the first competitor to four wins in the event. The past two years Mendez has had to wrestle multiple matches, but this year he only has one in Michigan’s Casey Swiderski. Mendez has had quite a busy off-season that has included a trip to Russia for Junior Worlds, recruiting visits, and even being the grand marshal of the Crown Point July 4th parade!
His opponent, Casey Swiderski will look to pull off a big time upset and is likely the only one crazy enough to voluntarily take a match with Mendez. Swiderski is an Iowa State commit and according to everyone in the know has a similar style to Mendez with great technique, high pace, and tenacious attitude. Like Mendez, Swiderski has won three state titles in Michigan for Dundee High School. He was also a Fargo runner-up to Tagen Jamison of Texas. Look for this to be another great match.
The schedule begins on Saturday with wrestling starting at 7pm ET/6pm CT. Mendez will be the 11th match, while Carroll will be the final bout, match #14. You can watch all the action with a loaded card of the top wrestlers in the country on FloWrestling.
#WrestlingWednesday Feature: Konrath Going an Alternate Route
Brought to you by EI Sports
By JEREMY HINES
When the Indiana High School rankings are revealed, it will appear that there is one glaring omission.
Paul Konrath, who finished second at 106 pounds his freshman year and third at 113 pounds as a sophomore, has chosen to not wrestle this high school season. Konrath is also a Flo and a Fargo champion.
â€œThis was a tough decision,â€ Konrath said. â€œThere was quite a bit of thought behind it. My dad and I weighed the opportunities we saw with not wrestling for a high school and decided that was probably the best option for me.â€
Konrath, who had previously wrestled for Mt. Vernon High School, has also decided to complete his education at Indiana Connections Academy, and online school.
The change in school to an online program will allow Konrath to wrestle in multiple national tournaments throughout the year. Those national tournaments are what the family is hoping will bring the most competition and the most college exposure to Paul.
Tim Konrath, Paulâ€™s dad, didnâ€™t like that Paul had to miss out on several tournaments due to high school.
â€œWe went to as many tournaments as we could last year,â€ Tim said. â€œBut the school frowns on missing too many days and we really pushed that envelope. His grades are very good, but they still want you in class.â€
With the online schooling, that frees Paul up to do more traveling.
Paul will compete in Las Vegas, Missouri and in several other states this year.
The Konrath family believes that by entering so many national tournaments, they will get more college exposure than wrestling the high school season. They also are excited that they will get to train with top notch coaches they have met through some of the big tournaments.
Another reason for the decision, is that the rigors of high school wrestling have taken a toll on Paul, physically.
Paul has dislocated his elbow, cracked his sternum and broken his nose more times than he can remember. He has also dislocated his knee cap multiple times. He had surgery on his knee earlier this year.
â€œHe really has to get some rest,â€ Tim said. â€œThe high school season seems to always be hardest on his body, and the least rewarding as far as furthering his collegiate career.â€
Paul, a devout Christian, doesnâ€™t have a specific college heâ€™s looking to attend. He doesnâ€™t know yet what he wants to study or what he wants to do after college. He said all of those things he has left undecided, waiting to hear what God has in store for him.
â€œI know I may sound like a broken record,â€ Paul said. â€œBut for me itâ€™s a big deal to make sure Iâ€™m going where God wants me to, and doing what God wants me to do. I donâ€™t want to get any ideas in my head about college or a career and it not be Godâ€™s plan.â€
That doesnâ€™t mean Paul doesnâ€™t have goals. He wants to climb the national rankings as high as he can and he wants to keep getting better. He also hopes to stay healthy.
Paul is one of six Konrath brothers. His older brother Andrew was the best wrestler of the group, until Paul came along. Andrew was a two-time state qualifier.
â€œAll of my boys, except Paul, started wrestling when they got to high school,â€ Tim said. â€œNone of them started young like Paul. The boys actually pushed me to get Paul in a program early.
â€œI didnâ€™t know how he would do. Then the coach called and told me that Paul was some sort of freak of nature, and I thought, â€˜Yeah right, heâ€™s a mommaâ€™s boyâ€™. Then I went out and watched him and saw how much he loved wrestling and how he was pretty good at it. He won that tournament and weâ€™ve been doing tournaments ever since.â€
Paul said his favorite moment in wrestling was after he won at Fargo and was able to talk about God during his video interview.
â€œIâ€™ve went to church my whole life and I have a passion for talking to the people around me about God,â€ Paul said. â€œThatâ€™s why whenever we go to a tournament I always meet new friends and I get to tell them about what Jesus has done for me. I love that.â€
Whether or not the decision to not wrestle in high school will help Paulâ€™s recruitment process has yet to be determined. The Konraths are going all-in with the idea that increasing Paulâ€™s national presence can only help.
Paul still has strong ties with the Mt. Vernon wrestling family. His former high school coaches have been supportive. Paul plans to be at as many meets as he can, as a fan, and to be the teamâ€™s biggest supporter.
â€œItâ€™s tough because Paul really loved the kids in that program, and the coaches,â€ Tim said. â€œBut we feel we are still representing Mt. Vernon whenever he goes to these big tournaments. Not only is Paul representing Mt. Vernon, heâ€™s representing Indiana and thatâ€™s something he takes very seriously.â€
2016 State Finals Information Center
State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals16
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis | Website
Admission: $8 per session or $20 both days.
Match Results: TrackWrestling.com
Friday, Feb. 19, 2016
Wrestler Check-in Time | 3:00-4:30pm ET
Wrestler Weigh-in | 4:30pm ET
Doors Open for General Public | 5:00pm ET
First Round | 6 pm ET.
Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016
Wrestler Weigh-in | 8:30am ET
Doors Open for General Public | 8:30am ET
Quarterfinals | 9:30 am ET with semifinals to follow. Fieldhouse will be cleared after this session
Doors Open for General Public | 4:00pm ET
Consolations | 5 pm ET.
Finals | 7:30 pm ET.
IndianaMat brackets(with rankings)
Video via TrackWrestling's Trackcast
$10 fee to watch all weekend
Streaming and Broadcast Information
State Finals Pickâ€™ems
Mat Burns Pick the Champions
Rankings by the Numbers
IHSAA State Preview
2018 State Finals Information Center
State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals18
IndianaMat with rankings
State Finals Pick'em Top 8
Mat Burns Pick the Champions
State Finals by the Numbers
IHSAA State Preview with fast facts
IHSAA State Finals Records Book
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis | Website
Security: All people as well as their bags, purses, and coolers (athletes only) entering Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be subject to a security inspection. A full list of prohibited items can be found in the Fieldhouse Fan Guide at the following link: http://www.bankerslifefieldhouse.com/arena-information/fan-guide/
Additionally, misconduct, mistreatment of Fieldhouse staff, or other prohibited behavior will be addressed promptly and violators are subject to ejection from the premises or arrest. The code of conduct is found in the Fan Guide again at the following link:http://www.bankerslifefieldhouse.com/arena-information/fan-guide/
Admission: $8 per session or $20 both days. Children 24 months old and younger admitted free of charge.
Tickets may be purchased at Bankers Life Fieldhouse or you may order a single session mobile ticket via Tik-A-Tap below:
Session 1 (Friday First Round)
Session 2 (Saturday Quarterfinals, Semifinals)
Session 3 (Saturday Championships, Consolations)
Television: Saturday's state championship bouts in each weight class will air live on Fox Sports Indiana. Hosted by Mark Jaynes (play-by-play), Mike Goebel (analyst), Blake Maurer (analyst) and Greg Rakestraw (mat interviews).
Link to TV providers covering the championship matches.
Webstream: Friday's first round and Saturday's quarterfinals, semifinals and consolation matches may be viewed via live stream for a subscription fee at TrackWrestling.com. For Saturday night's championship round, viewers outside of the Fox Sports Indiana coverage area, a live stream will be available at IHSAAtv.org. For those within the FSI coverage area, the stream will be available only on delayed basis following the conclusion of the telecast.
State Finals Pairings Show
The brackets in each weight class will be announced exclusively via IHSAAtv.org beginning at 4 pm ET / 3 pm CT on Sunday, February 11, 2018. Greg Rakestraw and Hall of Fame coach Mike Goebel will serve as hosts.
Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
Parade of champions | 5:45 pm ET
First Round | 6 pm ET (Gates open at 4:30 pm ET)
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Quarterfinals | 9:30 am ET with semifinals to follow (Gates open at 8 am ET)
Consolations | 5 pm ET (Gates open at 4 pm ET)
Finals | 7:30 pm ET
Preview Magazine Release November 1st
Well...that's the latest it will come out, maybe sooner!
We are now taking pre-orders for the physical copies of the magazine and have something special in store for everyone. We have SIX different covers, one each featuring the five returning champions that are seniors this year and then one with all five of them together.
We are taking preorders for the individual covers until November 3rd and after that you will only get the one with the five seniors together. So if you want Jesse, Zeke, J, Brody, or Gabe solo you need to order soon!
You can purchase your copy in our store
After you purchase the magazine you can go to our new downloads section for the digital copy to keep you occupied until the physical copy arrives.
Here are the cover previews
Indiana Invited to 2016 Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic
IndianaMat is proud to announce the participation of an Indiana All-Star team at the 2016 Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic(formerly Dapper Dan) on March 26<sup class='bbc'>th</sup>, 2016! This is the most prestigious and tradition rich wrestling All-Star event in the country. The main event pits a team of USA All-Stars against the top wrestlers from Pennsylvania. This year Indiana will be featured in the preliminary meet against a team of wrestlers from the tradition rich WPIAL.
This event is for seniors and will showcase the best that Indiana has to offer on a national stage like never before. This yearâ€™s senior class will arguably be one of the best ever in terms of accomplishments and depth. Currently there are five seniors ranked in the top 7 in their respective weight classes. Look for this yearâ€™s class to continue to make an impact on the history books throughout the year. This will mark the first time Indiana has been invited to participate in the event.
Indiana will face a tough group of wrestlers from the WPIAL, which is short for the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. The WPIAL is made up of nine counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland. This area is regarded as THE hotbed for wrestling in the whole country. Wrestlers that have wrestled in this league include Cary Kolat, Coleman Scott, Jake Herbert, Nico Megaludis, amongst many others.
The Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic is more than just an All-Star dual meet. The weekend will include a dinner social with guest speakers along with other activities. The wrestling portion will occur on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh. The event will feature the top USA wrestlers against the Pennsylvania All-Stars. Along with the 13 wrestlers from 113lbs-285lbs, Indiana will also be represented by four coaches from around the state.
We will have more details as to who will be chosen for this team and the coaching staff as the season progresses.
The event website is http://wrestlingclassic.com/and it will have all the event information.
Past Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic participants and their results
2014 126 - Stevan Micic Hanover Central, Indiana MD Zeke Moisey, Bethlehem Catholic 13-4
*Micic was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler for Team USA
2012 113 Jarred Brooks Warsaw, Indiana DEC Billy Rappo, Council Rock South 8-5
145 Jason Tsirtsis Crown Point, Indiana MD Zach Beitz, Juniata 13-4
2004 140 Alex Tsirtsis Griffith, Indiana DEC Isaiah Britton, Loyalsock 6-4
171 Blake Maurer Mater Dei, Indiana DEC Kurt Brenner, Freedom 8-6
1998 130 Steven Bradley, Beech Grove, Indiana, DEC. Mark Conley, Dningtn, 5-3
Past Five Year WPIAL Results
Illinois 33 WPIAL 10
Oklahoma 37 WPIAL 10
WPIAL 28 Virginia 19
Maryland 34 WPIAL 10
WPIAL 42 Michigan 0
#WrestlingWednesday Feature: Blast from the Past with Randy May
Brought to you by EI Sports
By JEREMY HINES
Randy Mayâ€™s name deserves to be in the mix when talking about Indianaâ€™s all-time best wrestlers.
May went undefeated as a sophomore, junior and senior at Bloomington South High School in the 1974-76 seasons. He won three state championships during that span.
Perhaps the only thing keeping him off the podium his freshman season was that he was too small (he weighed right at 84 pounds), and he was behind the brother of three-time state champion Jim Cornwell for a spot in the varsity lineup.
â€œI was just too little to make the varsity team,â€ May said. â€œMy coach, Kay Hutsell, had already won four state championships as a coach. Bloomington had a tradition back then like Evansville Mater Dei does now. And it was almost as hard to crack our varsity lineup as it was to win a state title.â€
Hutsell had coached Bloomington to team state championships in 1969, 70, 71 and 72. During that span Bloomington had seven individual champions.
In 1973 Bloomington split into Bloomington North and Bloomington South. Hutsell became Bloominigton Southâ€™s coach, and led them to another state championship in the 1973 season.
That season May lost just one time in the reserve matches â€“ to a varsity junior from Owen Valley.
â€œI got beat by him,â€ May said. â€œIt was a good match. He ended up being one win away from going to the state tournament.â€
May hurt his back his freshman year and coach Hutsell sent him to help coach the feeder system at Smithville Middle School.
â€œI was mad,â€ May said. â€œI wanted to be with the team. I had so much energy for the sport. Eventually coach let me travel with the team on dual meets. That was a privilege. I got to be on the team bus with everyone and I was sort of brought up under their wings. I was with guys like Marty Hutsell and Doug Hutsell (both were two-time state champs).â€
May knows living in Bloomington when he did was the best possible place for him to grow as a wrestler. He vividly remembers being allowed to go to Indiana University during their clinics and camps.
â€œI had great coaching,â€ May said. â€œEveryone thought I would one day go to IU. I was able to go there anytime I wanted and I was able to wrestle kids from all over the country that came in for the clinics and the camps.
â€œIn 1975-76 money was very tight and there was a gas shortage. Iâ€™d drive to IU after I got off of work and Iâ€™d go to one of the wrestling clinics where kids would stay for the whole week from across the country. You would get a new batch of kids each week.â€
May would bet the kids that he could take them down. If he took them down, they had to pay him a dime. If they took him down, he would pay a dollar.
â€œI took all their candy money,â€ May said. â€œThat always paid for my gas.â€
May dominated his foes on the mat during the high school season much like he did at the clinics. He never lost a varsity match.
After high school he chose to wrestle at Cleveland State University, which at the time was a national top 20 program.
â€œI had dreams of being a four-time National champion,â€ May said. â€œI had my whole future mapped out. I wanted to be an Olympian and then I wanted to coach wrestling.â€
Things didnâ€™t work out as May had planned. He developed a debilitating disease that changed his life course and took him away from wrestling. He was only able to wrestle one college match.
â€œThe disease shuts down the central nervous system,â€ May said. â€œIt can kill you. But I worked my ass off. They told me I should have been on bed rest, but I didnâ€™t stop working. When I couldnâ€™t stand, Iâ€™d pull myself up. I still went to practice every day.â€
May eventually realized his wrestling career would have to be over.
â€œI was walking with the aid of a cane at the time,â€ May said. â€œI was struggling with guys that I knew I should have been able to kick their ass. I wrestled one match against a four-time state champion from West Virginia. He took me down and I said, â€˜you have got to be kidding meâ€™. I came back and tied the match and won on riding time. But I knew I wasnâ€™t myself anymore. I knew wrestling was over for me.â€
May had to refocus his life goals, and his career. He didnâ€™t want to coach the sport he could no longer participate in. He now runs a business in underground utilities and lives in Florida.
His son, Randy Jr., took up wrestling in high school and quickly found success.
â€œHe was a natural and I loved watching him,â€ May said. â€œHe took fourth in state his junior year and as a senior he was ranked No. 1 and got very sick and ended up finishing sixth. He won over 100 matches and I was at his practices every day. The team won state his senior year and I was able to travel with the guys.â€
Six years ago, Randy Jr., passed away.
May has suffered more than most his age. But he remains positive. He credits his outlook on life on his upbringing.
â€œI was brought up with a good work ethic,â€ May said. â€œWe had tasks and chores. My parents wanted them done right. Iâ€™d complain, but then I realized if I worked hard and did them right the first time, with a good attitude, I was going to get a reward. I could go play in the woods or go swimming.
â€œI guess I carried that attitude over into life. I always try to have a good work ethic and a positive attitude. That will make you successful in anything you do.â€
Richard Jay: Wrestling's Best Friend
By TIM CREASON
The wind was howling and snow was blowing on Feb. 14, 2015.
As the Merrillville wrestling semistate drew to its close, a blizzard was blanketing northern Indiana.
Visibility on some roads was down to zero. Sections of U.S. 20 were closed by police.
In the gym, thousands of wrestlers and fans literally didnâ€™t know where to go, or what to do. Many were calling hotels, trying to find vacancies. Others scanned Mapquest, trying to find alternate routes home.
In the middle of all this, as I was speaking to a Merrillville police officer about my options for getting back to South Bend, my cell phone rang.
It was Richard Jay.
â€œTim,â€ he said. â€œGo to my house.â€
Now, the thing to understand is this: Richard was not at the semistate.
For the first time in decades, he was missing from his usual spot in the crowâ€™s nest, the one with a â€œMat Burnsâ€ banner hanging on the rail.
Richardâ€™s wife was in the hospital. She wasnâ€™t doing well. Truth be told, she was dying.
The semistate was always one of Richardâ€™s favorite events. He would alternately cheer local wrestlers while recording the results from every mat for the local media. He was the ultimate wrestling fan.
But this year was different. His wife was dying and Richard was at the hospital by her side.
And then he looked out the window.
â€œGo to my house. Donâ€™t try to drive home in this. Iâ€™m only a few miles away,â€ I heard Richardâ€™s voice say, crackling over a cell phone in the middle of Merrillvilleâ€™s gym.
â€œBut â€¦ but â€¦,â€ I stammered. â€œArenâ€™t you at the hospital?â€
â€œYes, but Iâ€™ll leave and go let you in,â€ he said. â€œThe place is yours. Iâ€™m going back to stay with my wife.â€
â€œRichard â€¦.,â€ I said.
â€œDonâ€™t argue about it,â€ he said. â€œJust go.â€
I should have. I didnâ€™t.
In hindsight, out of the many stupid decisions Iâ€™ve made in my life, this was one of the biggest.
Not because it took four hours to get home, and I was terrified the whole way, and I almost drove into a drainage ditch.
No, in hindsight, it was stupid because it deprived me of the opportunity to thank Richard for being such a wonderful person, and let him know how much we all missed him that day, and how much he meant to the wrestling community.
Because, God knows, he would have done that for any one of us.
Richard Jay died from complications of a stroke on Dec. 23. It was about eight months after his wife died.
Richard adored his wife. Everyone in his family agrees: the two events were tied together.
Richard had been a coach in the Hammond school system â€“ mostly at Gavit â€“ for something like 38 years. He coached wrestling. He coached track. He coached tennis. Hell, he could coach anything.
A lot of people came to the funeral home. A lot of people cried. I was one of them.
â€œRichard had a â€¦ a humanity that most coaches donâ€™t have,â€ said veteran Mishawaka coach Al Smith, who, like most of us, was unprepared when he heard the news.
Yes. Al Smith.
â€œRich wanted his kids to win, of course he did, but he was always more interested in what kind of person they would grow up to be,â€ said Smith. â€Whether you were a good wrestler or not, he always wanted to know how he could help you. You were a person first, a wrestler second.â€
In the weeks since his death, Iâ€™ve been stunned by the number of young wrestlers and coaches who never knew Richard Jay, didnâ€™t even know who he was.
Trust me on this: You would have liked him.
The â€œPick the Championsâ€ contest, the one you saw at every state meet? That was Richardâ€™s contest.
The â€œQuick Pinsâ€ list, the one that every wrestler wants to make? That was Richardâ€™s, too.
And most of all, there was Mat Burns, the greatest magazine of Indiana wrestling history that ever existed.
If you are from a wrestling family â€“ if you and your brother or your father or your sister ever stepped onto a mat in Indiana â€“ odds are that you are in Mat Burns. There are thousands of records in that thing.
â€œI remember he came over here a couple times when he was starting Mat Burns,â€ said Smith. â€œHe went through our records, he really wanted it to be complete.â€
Richard sold some ads to try and finance it, but most of the money came out of his own pocket. He didnâ€™t care, he thought it was important.
And he was right. I cited Mat Burns -- a lot -- in the wrestling columns that I used to write for the South Bend Tribune.
Richard was special because he cared, really cared, about the sport, and all the people in it.
Over the years, I have learned one thing the hard way: Lots of coaches say they care about their sport, but the truth is that they only care about stuff that benefits their own teams.
Even if a proposal makes all the sense in the world, if it doesnâ€™t help them directly, then â€¦ pfffft. Theyâ€™re gone.
Richard was never that way. Wrestling came first.
In reporting Richardâ€™s passing, NWI Times sportswriter Jim Peters repeated a story first told by Calumet coach Jim Wadkins.
It went like this:
â€œSitting in the bleachers after losing a freestyle wrestling match, Jim Wadkins was approached by then-Gavit coach Rich Jay.
"I remember, I was having a problem with a certain technique," said Wadkins, now the coach at Calumet.
"Rich said, 'Jim, come here.' He took me down to an empty mat and showed me a little tweak that helped me fix the problem. That's the kind of guy he was. He was a good guy, a wrestling guy, somebody who was always there to help you regardless of what school you were from."
It was exactly that reason another Times columnist, Al Hamnik, wrote a piece titled: Rich Jay was the model for all coaches.
It started like this:
â€œIf you're a young coach, regardless of the sport, please put your clipboard and whistle down and read the following carefully.
â€œIt will help your career.
â€œLet me tell you about Rich Jay.â€
And then he described the things that made Richard Jay a great coach, and none of them had a thing to do with wins or losses.
I can tell you about Richard Jay, as well.
Richard was the kind of guy who --while sitting in a hospital room with his dying wife, whom he loved dearly â€“ would look out the window, see a blizzard, and take the time to call a lowly, struggling sportswriter from South Bend, and offer his home as shelter.
Thatâ€™s who Richard Jay was.
As I have grown older, I have become convinced of two things.
There is a God. And he has put angels in this world.
I know, because one of them was just called home.
Rest in Peace, Richard. God Bless you.
Here is a link to Richard Jay's obituary with many pictures from on and off the mat.
#Wrestling Wednesday Feature: State Rivalries
Brought to you by EI Sports
By JEREMY HINES
Rivalries bring a new level of intensity to sports. Itâ€™s what drew thousands to watch Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier go toe-to-toe three times. Itâ€™s why baseball games between the Red Sox and the Yankees are always a little bit more heated, and the fans a little bit more passionate. Itâ€™s why college stadiums sell out anytime Ohio State and Michigan square off.
But rivalries do more than just keep sports interesting. In wrestling, having a rival can be one of the biggest determining factors in an individualâ€™s internal drive to success.
Some of Indianaâ€™s greatest wrestling rivals admit that without their counterpart, they would not have been as good as what they were.
Perhaps the top rivalry in Indiana wrestling history was that of Anderson Highlandâ€™s Camden Eppert and Warren Centralâ€™s Brandon Wright.
The two squared off a total of 12 times in high school. Three of those times came in the championship match of the state finals. Wright owned the overall better record between the two at 7-5, but Eppert won two of the three championship matches.
â€œThere were other people I knew I had to wrestle,â€ Eppert said. â€œBut in the back of my mind I always knew Brandon was going to be in my way. We were always on the opposite side of the bracket in regionals, semistate and state. Everyone wanted to see us collide.â€
Eppert, who was one grade ahead of Wright, defeated Wright 6-3 as a sophomore in 2007 to win the 103 pound class. Wright came back the next season and beat Eppert 5-2 to claim the 112 pound title.
The final showdown between the two ended up being the closest of them all.
The two met under the lights for the 119 pound championship in 2009. After three grueling periods the match went into overtime. Eventually Eppert escaped with a 3-2 victory.
â€œIâ€™m glad I faced him,â€ Eppert said. â€œWe developed something special. Even though I only faced one opponent in all three of the finals matches, I wouldnâ€™t take it back for anything.â€
Wright went on to dominate the 125 pound class the next season, after Eppert had graduated. He easily won the state title with a 9-1 victory.
â€œThat rivalry really grew me as a wrestler,â€ Wright said. â€œIt took both of us to a whole different level. I think it has to be the best rivalry in Indiana history.â€
The two were certainly not the best of friends in high school.
â€œIt was pretty cut throat,â€ Eppert said. â€œI donâ€™t think we hated each other, but when I shook his hand before a match we both knew we were going for blood.â€
Looking back, both wrestlers know that without each other, they may have never gotten as far as they did with the sport.
â€œWe had such intense matches,â€ Wright said. â€œHe made me focus more. Because of him I learned to prepare for matches. All of the hours I put into wrestling, he caused me to become strategic on the mat. Thatâ€™s where I really learned the most. I knew I couldnâ€™t just muscle him, I had to learn to be a better wrestler, mentally, when I went up against Camden.â€
Eppert went on to wrestle at Purdue. Wright is currently wrestling for Grand View where he is a returning NAIA national champion.
Wright knows Eppert was always the one who pushed him the most in wrestling. So when he was in Indianapolis a while back and needed a drill partner, Eppert was the one he called.
â€œI talk to him quite a bit now,â€ Eppert said. â€œHe will win another national championship this year. We stay in touch now and when he needs a drill partner, Iâ€™m there.â€
Another great Indiana rivalry was built in one season. In 2007 Munsterâ€™s Eric McGill and Hobartâ€™s Brennan Cosgrove met seven times at 140 pounds. The two were 3-3 against each other leading up to the championship match. McGill beat Cosgrove 6-5 in the final to win the series 4-3.
â€œOur rivalry was pretty heated,â€ McGill said. â€œWe both wanted the same thing, and we were both standing in each otherâ€™s way.â€
McGill won the first meeting between the two, a dual meet at Hobart. He scored a late takedown to earn the victory.
The second time the two squared off was at their county championship.
â€œThat was probably my favorite of all of them,â€ McGill said. â€œHe threw me in the first 30 seconds. I was down 5-0 and came all the way back and won 10-9. I had to have a bunch of takedowns at the end. I remember my last takedown came with under 20 seconds to go.â€
Cosgrove bounced back though. In their conference meet he defeated McGill 3-1. Cosgrove went on to beat McGill at the Hobart Invitational and regional. He was winning the matchup in semistate as well until an illegal slam gave McGill the disqualification victory.
â€œThat was the most dominating match of them all,â€ McGill said. â€œHe was beating me badly. It was definitely the most one-sided of all of our matches.â€
After losing three in a row, and then winning on a DQ, McGill began to question whether he could beat Cosgrove.
â€œThat year we were head and shoulders above everyone else in the state in our class,â€ McGill said. â€œI major, teched or pinned everyone but him. To have someone that good right here in my backyard that I had to compete against seven times, more than anything, made me a better wrestler.
â€œIt tested my resolve. It was the first time I had experienced a setback where I had lost to someone three times in a row. It was wearing on my mind wondering if I could turn it around. By semistate I started to think he was widening the gap. But our last match, I just told myself that whatever happens, happens. Iâ€™m going to live with the outcome. I wasnâ€™t too nervous or too fired up.â€
Cosgrove remembers wrestling McGill even in elementary school.
â€œWe were the same age group and we went to the same camps together,â€ Cosgrove said. â€œIn high school our matches were intense. It was awesome. I loved every one of them.â€
The two are now friends, although both admit they werenâ€™t at all during high school.
Cosgrove went on to wrestle for Purdue and McGill wrestled at Cornell.
â€œItâ€™s hard to explain what having that rival out there does for you,â€ Cosgrove said. â€œBut my experience with Eric back then was awesome. I hate losing, but when I would lose I walked off the mat knowing I wasnâ€™t going to lose the next one. We pushed each other to be better wrestlers.â€
Rivalries will always develop in wrestling. One of the newest rivalries is that between Fort Wayne Wayne junior Geoffrey Davis and Fort Wayne Northside junior Ben Streeter.
Last season Streeter wrestled Davis one time, and dominated to the tune of a 9-0 win.
Streeter and Davis have wrestled three times this season. They met in the Summit Athletic Conference finals, in regional and then again in semistate.
Davis turned things around at the SAC championship, winning the title.
â€œHonestly I came out at the SAC thinking I could just do what I did last time,â€ Streeter said. â€œI knew he was good competition, but I didnâ€™t realize how much he improved. I wasnâ€™t expecting him to beat me.â€
That defeat refocused Streeter. The next time the two wrestled came in the regional final where he won 12-11.
Davis bounced back to win semistate 9-4 after trailing 4-0.
â€œI honestly think wrestling him makes me better,â€ Davis said. â€œYou have to work twice as hard when you know there is a guy out there that can beat you.â€
Streeter echoes Davisâ€™ sentiments.
â€œIf I win or lose, I know heâ€™s out there working,â€ Streeter said. â€œHe isnâ€™t going to stop. You have to keep going too, because you know heâ€™s going to. He could be that roadblock that I have to learn to get around.â€
Both Streeter and Davis would like to face each other one more time this season. If so, it might mean they are wrestling under the lights against one another.
Perhaps the state championships this year will spawn even more Indiana rivalries.