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      20146 47 3

      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.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      2. New Haven (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum) | 8:30 am ET
      Feeder Regionals: Carroll (Fort Wayne), Goshen, Jay County, Maconaquah.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      3. New Castle (New Castle Fieldhouse) | 9 am ET
      Feeder Regionals: Frankfort, Pendleton Heights, Perry Meridian, Richmond.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      4. Evansville F.J. Reitz  (Ford Center) | 8 am CT
      Feeder Regionals: Bloomington South, Castle, Jeffersonville, Mooresville.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      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

      13049 35

      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.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      2. New Haven (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum) | 9 am ET  
      Feeder Regionals: Carroll (Fort Wayne), Goshen, Jay County, Maconaquah.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      3. New Castle | 9 am ET  
      Feeder Regionals: Frankfort, Pendleton Heights, Richmond, Southport.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link
      4. Jasper | 10 am ET  
      Feeder Regionals: Bloomington South, Evansville North, Jeffersonville, Mooresville.
      TrackWrestling Brackets
      IndianaMat Brackets
      Pick'ems Link

      11882 3

      2017 State Finals Information Center

      State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals17
      Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis | Website
      Admission: $8 per session or $20 both days. Order Tickets
      Match Results: TrackWrestling.com
      Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
      Wrestler Check-in Time | 3:00-4:30pm ET
      Wrestler Weigh-in | 4:30pm ET
      Doors Open for General Public | 5:00pm ET
      Parade of Champions | 5:45 pm ET.
      First Round | 6 pm ET.
      Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
      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.
      TrackWrestling Link
      IndianaMat brackets(with rankings)
      Video via TrackWrestling's Trackcast
      $10 fee to watch all weekend
      TrackWrestling Link
      Television: Saturday's state championship bouts in each weight class will air live on Fox Sports Indiana.
      List of stations carrying the finals
      Webstream: Friday's first round and Saturday's quarterfinals and consolations will be streamed 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.
      Pick'em Contests
      State Finals Pick’ems
      Mat Burns Pick the Champions
      Featured Articles
      Rankings by the Numbers
      Karl's Komments: First Round Fights
      Karl's Komments: Quarterfinal Clashes
      IHSAA Preview
      Traffic Alert
      Saturday, Feb. 18
      South Street between Delaware and Alabama streets will be completely closed from 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. for the Polar Bear 5 Mile and 5K Run/Walk. Additional streets along the route will have single lane closures from 9 - 11:30 a.m.
      Construction Closures
      Pennsylvania Street between Michigan and New York streets will be closed through Feb. 16 for installation of utilities. Detour on Capitol Avenue via Michigan Street.
      Davidson Street and the easternmost lane of College Avenue will be closed between Maryland and Georgia Streets through the June 1 for construction of the Vue Apartments. Maryland Street is also closed, because it has been vacated for the apartment project. Northbound should detour on College Avenue. Southbound should detour on I-65/70.
      During 2017, Fall Creek bridge reconstruction projects will result in closures of Capitol, Central and College avenues at Fall Creek. More details on timing of the closures will be provided as they become available. Please see www.dfcindy.org for additional details.
      For these events please plan your travel through Downtown, accordingly. There may be parking and sidewalk restrictions for the events. Log onto www.downtownindy.org for additional information about Downtown events.

      10957 13 1

      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.
      Crown Point-1.pdf
      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.
      Jay County-1.pdf
      9. North Montgomery | 9 am ET
      Feeder Sectionals: Crawfordsville, Frankfort.
      North Montgomery-1.pdf
      10. Pendleton Heights | 8 am ET
      Feeder Sectionals: Elwood, Indianapolis Arsenal Technical.
      Pendleton Heights-1.pdf
      11. Perry Meridian | 8 am ET
      Feeder Sectionals: Shelbyville, Southport.
      Perry Meridian-1.pdf
      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.
      Bloomington South-1.pdf
      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


      2018 Dream Team Classic Information

      Date: April 14th
      Location: Brownsburg High School
      1000 S Odell St.
      Brownsburg, IN 46112
      Time: 6pm
      Tickets: Adults $10 
      Students(K-12) $5
      Under 5 Free
      Click here to purchase tickets and gear
      Indiana Lineup
      113: Jose Diaz- Wheeler
      120: Colin Poynter- Portage
      126: Ty Mills- Brownsburg
      132: Graham Rooks- Columbus East
      138: Kris Rumph- Portage
      145: Christian Hunt- Yorktown
      152: Brayton Lee- Brownsbur
      160: Jack Eiteljorge- Carmel
      170: Noah Warren- Perry Meridian
      182: Conner Graber- Northridge
      195: Lucas Davison- Chesterton
      220: Mason Parris- Lawrenceburg
      285: Brandon Streck- Merrillville
      Coaching Staff
      Darrick Snyder- Brownsburg
      Matt Schoettle- Perry Meridian
      Mark Kirchgassner- Lawrenceburg

      Honorary Head Coach
      Dick Neal aka The Ancient Elder
      USA Lineup
      113: Cevion Severado- Christian Brothers, Missouri
      120: Joey Melendez- Montini Catholic, Illinois
      126: Malik Johnson- Christian Brothers, Missouri
      132: Real Woods- Montini Catholic, Illinois
      138: Cole Matthews- Reynolds, Pennsylvania
      145: Alex Lloyd- Shakopee, Minnesota
      152: Jacori Teemer- Long Beach, New York
      160: Jared Franek- Fargo West, North Dakota
      170: Travis Wittlake- Marshfield, Oregon
      182: Jared Krattiger- Waterford, Wisconsin
      195: Tanner Sloan- Alburnett, Iowa
      220: Brandon Whitman- Dundee, Michigan
      285: Jake Levengood- Vacaville, California
      Team USA Coach
      Israel Martinez- Montini Catholic, Illinois

      Special thanks goes out to our sponsors
      Indiana State Wrestling Association
      KC Battlegear
      Invicta Wrestling Academy

      9472 10

      2018 State Finals Information Center

      State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals18
      IndianaMat with rankings
      Pick'em Contest
      State Finals Pick'em Top 8
      Mat Burns Pick the Champions
      Featured Articles
      State Finals by the Numbers
      State #WAYL2
      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

      8268 1

      #MondayMatness: Wrestling a Hard Sell for the Davis Brothers

      It took a little convincing to get brothers Bo, Blake and Beck Davis to see that wrestling is for them.
      But once they committed to the mat sport, success followed and Garrett has been the beneficiary.
      Bo Davis represented the Garrett High School Railroaders twice at the IHSAA State Finals, qualifying as a junior in 2014 and placing third in 2015 — both times at 195 pounds. He became a collegiate wrestler at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.
      Blake Davis (220) was a State Finals qualifier as a junior in 2015 just won Carroll Sectional and Carroll Regional titles as a senior in 2016. He will be a No. 1 in the Fort Wayne Semistate at Memorial Coliseum.
      Beck Davis, who was at 182 as a freshman in 2015, has won at the sectional and regional stages as a sophomore at 195 in 2016. He, too, will be a top seed at semistate .
      Bo, Blake and Beck are part of a family athletic legacy that includes father Chad Davis and mother Lisa (Leichty) Davis (a pair of 1990 Garrett graduates) and grandfather Steve Dembickie (GHS Class of 1971).
      In a family where they take their sports and their academics seriously (Bo, Blake and Beck have all excelled in football for Garrett and Blake and Beck are ranked in the top five of their respective classes), it took some serious coaxing to become wrestlers.
      “In our school wrestling was the weird thing to do,” Bo Davis said after being recruited to wrestling in sixth grade following a less-than-satisfying basketball experience. “I was forced into it, but I loved it.”
      Blake Davis soon followed his older brother into wrestling. But, at first, there was resistance.
      “All of us thought wrestling was a joke,” Blake Davis said, speaking for himself and both his brothers. We didn’t take it seriously. Bo went out and we made fun of him.”
      But something clicked for Bo and Blake. They began to really enjoy wrestling and the all work it takes to do well.
      It took a little more work coaxing Beck to join them.
      “We offered him $250 to come to one practice,” Bo Davis said.
      No sale.
      “I was probably the most stubborn at the start,” Beck said. “I thought it was weird.”
      It was Garrett coach Nick Kraus, who had Beck in a weight training class, that persuaded him to became a wrestler.
      Kraus, in his fifth season with the program and third as head coach, watched the oldest Davis brother grind to make himself into a decorated wrestler.
      “Bo is very coachable and he hated to lose,” Kraus said. “He was very, very persistent.”
      After not placing at Mishawaka’s Al Smith Classic as a senior, Bo bared down week by week and it paid off during the IHSAA state tournament series.
      “He’s a strong kid with an athletic build who got very good at a couple things he did consistently,” Kraus said. “I’ve never coached anybody who worked as hard as Bo Davis.”
      That kind of drive in the classroom turned Davis into Garrett’s 2015 valedictorian and he is now studying biomedical engineering at Indiana Tech. Blake and Beck are ranked in the top five of their classes at Garrett.
      A mean streak has also served Blake well.
      “Blake is the meanest of the brothers,” Kraus said. “He imposes his will on people. He’s almost a bully on the wrestling mat.”
      Lisa (Liechty) Davis, a standout athlete during her time at Garrett (she is a 1990 GHS graduate) and the boys’ mother, has witnessed the rage.
      “Blake is mean,” Lisa Davis said. “If Bo was beating them when they were wrestling, they might throw a punch or two. Five minutes later, they are each others’ best friend.”
      Blake does not shy away from the mean label.
      “I guess since I was little I had anger problems,” Blake Davis said. “I’ve gotten better over the years of channeling it. If you are a competitive person, you don’t want to lose. If you live with them, you’re going to hear about it.”
      Kraus appreciates the hate-to-lose attitude.
      “That’s not a bad thing in wrestling and it’s trickled down throughout the team,” Kraus said. “All the kids are getting that chip on their shoulder.”
      Superior conditioning has been Blake’s calling card.
      “I know I’m not the most talented wrestler, but I can outwork them,” Blake Davis said. “I prefer to pin the guy as quickly as possible, but I can go six minutes.”
      After an injury-filled football season, Blake just reached the wrestling shape of his junior season in recent weeks.
      Using his competitive nature, Blake has avenged early losses or beaten opponents even more convincingly in rematches.
      “(Blake) does have finesse,” Kraus said. “But for the most part, it’s a physical brute style of wrestling.”
      Even at 220, it’s not all bulldozer with Blake.
      “He’s pretty slick,” Bo Davis said of Blake. “He’s athletic for somebody that size. He can pull off some lighter-guy moves that stop people in their tracks sometimes.”
      Kraus said Beck has the potential to be the best wrestling Davis brother.
      “He’s had his brothers to work with all the time,” Kraus said. “He didn’t want to do it at first. Once he started to do it, he was all in. Now he doesn’t miss summer sessions, camps or weight room workouts. There are high expectations with his brothers’ accomplishments, but he doesn’t let it get to him.”
      Following coaching advice, Beck tries to keep moving on the mat and believe in himself.
      “I’ve been working on (constant motion),” Beck Davis said. “And to keep having fun and stay confident.
      “I’m not really technical sound, but I have a decent gas tank and I like to shoot.”

      8145 9

      Richard Jay: Wrestling's Best Friend

      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 didn’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.
      “Tim,” he said. “Go to my house.”
      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 crow’s nest, the one with a “Mat Burns” banner hanging on the rail.
      Richard’s wife was in the hospital. She wasn’t doing well. Truth be told, she was dying.
      The semistate was always one of Richard’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.
      “Go to my house. Don’t try to drive home in this. I’m only a few miles away,” I heard Richard’s voice say, crackling over a cell phone in the middle of Merrillville’s gym.
      “But … but …,” I stammered. “Aren’t you at the hospital?”
      “Yes, but I’ll leave and go let you in,” he said. “The place is yours. I’m going back to stay with my wife.”
      “Richard ….,” I said.
      “Don’t argue about it,” he said. “Just go.”
      I should have. I didn’t.
      In hindsight, out of the many stupid decisions I’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 – mostly at Gavit – 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.
      “Richard had a … a humanity that most coaches don’t have,” said veteran Mishawaka coach Al Smith, who, like most of us, was unprepared when he heard the news.
      Yes. Al Smith.
      “Rich 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,” said Smith. ”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.”
      In the weeks since his death, I’ve been stunned by the number of young wrestlers and coaches who never knew Richard Jay, didn’t even know who he was.
      Trust me on this: You would have liked him.
      The “Pick the Champions” contest, the one you saw at every state meet? That was Richard’s contest.
      The “Quick Pins” list, the one that every wrestler wants to make? That was Richard’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 – if you and your brother or your father or your sister ever stepped onto a mat in Indiana – odds are that you are in Mat Burns. There are thousands of records in that thing.
      Literally. Thousands.
      “I remember he came over here a couple times when he was starting Mat Burns,” said Smith. “He went through our records, he really wanted it to be complete.”
      Richard sold some ads to try and finance it, but most of the money came out of his own pocket. He didn’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 doesn’t help them directly, then … pfffft. They’re gone.
      Richard was never that way. Wrestling came first.
      In reporting Richard’s passing, NWI Times sportswriter Jim Peters repeated a story first told by Calumet coach Jim Wadkins.
      It went like this:
      “Sitting 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:
      “If you're a young coach, regardless of the sport, please put your clipboard and whistle down and read the following carefully.
      “It will help your career.
      “Let me tell you about Rich Jay.”
      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 – 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.
      That’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.

      6479 8

      2015 State Finals Preview

      Chad Hollenbaugh
      IndianaMat Senior Writer

      Cathedral Looks to Repeat, Red to Three-Peat

      A number of great storylines accompany this weekend’s festivities in Indianapolis at the 2015 IHSAA State Wrestling finals. The incredibly deep 120 weight class should have outstanding matches starting early Friday evening and contains this year’s most compelling in season rivalry between Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith and Brendan Black of Hobart. The 170 pound class is wide open with five to six wrestlers that can legitimately make a run for the top of the podium and the heavyweight bracket contains three Division One athletes at the top of the rankings.
      Although all three of these stories will quite compelling, two other stories have a special appeal. The team race currently has Penn High School in the pole position but last year’s champ, Indianapolis Cathedral, has the pieces in place to repeat should Penn falter. Other teams that should be in contention include Perry Meridian, Warren Central, Yorktown, and Avon.
      The second major story will be the Chad Red show. Unbeaten in his first two seasons of high school, Red is a heavy favorite to continue his dominance and win a third straight state championship. If anyone was unsure of just how great Red is, Cael Sanderson’s recent visit to New Palestine should remove any doubts. In his junior season, Red is currently ranked first in the country by Flo Wrestling and number three by Intermat. Much like Stevan Micic last year and Jason Tsirtsis before him, Red appears to be that type of wrestler that seems to be destined to be a factor at the next level.
      This year’s crop of flyweights contain the usual high number of new faces (9 freshmen) that look to make their bones on the Banker’s Life floor. Columbus East semi-state champ Graham Rooks, Hobart’s Tylor Triana and Avon’s Mason Miranda are the frosh poised to make the deepest run in this bracket.
      COLTON CUMMINGS – LOWELL (41-1). Cummings will look to erase his Friday night memory of last year where he was pinned by Columbia City’s Hunter Langeloh in fifty nine seconds. Cummings has been nothing short of dominant (He has a win over Rooks) this year with his only loss coming while wrestling two weight classes up against Perry Meridian’s David Clayton.
      JON ANDERSON – LAFAYETTE JEFF (47-2) and CAINAN SCHAEFER – SOUTH DEARBORN (45-2). Anderson was a surprise runner up at Merrillville where he looked very solid against competition with more press clippings. Schaefer wrestles in the southeast corner of the state and gets very little press but he had a break out performance at the New Castle semi state where he pinned highly regarded Klayton Anderson of Hamilton Southeastern. These two hard chargers may meet Saturday morning with a trip to the semis on the line.
      TYLOR TRIANA – HOBART (37-4) VS. MASON MIRANDA (20-5) – The winner here has a great opportunity to make a run to the finals. Triana is the higher ranked wrestler (5th vs 9th) but Miranda is wrestling very well and his team is in the hunt for state hardware.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Cummings.
      East Noble’s Garrett Pepple has established himself as a force in this weight class but there is also outstanding depth here. Pepple season started with an All-American run at the pre-season Super 32 (4th) and has not been seriously tested. He currently holds top ten rankings nationally by both Flo and Intermat. Last year’s state runner up at 106, Paul Konrath of Mount Vernon seems to be wrestling with a bum leg but dominated the field at the Evansville semi state. Others looking to rain on Pepple’s parade include Hamilton Southeastern’s Austin Holmes, Penn’s undefeated Drew Hildebrandt and Fairfield’s Blake Glogouski (who has only lost to Pepple).
      GARRETT PEPPLE – EAST NOBLE (42-0). All the pieces seem to be in place for the Indiana recruit. Pepple has experience (two runner-up finishes), training (teammate Conner Knapp and coach Andy Uhl), and confidence. If anyone were to topple Pepple, it would be considered a fairly substantial upset.
      BLAKE GLOGOUSKI – FAIRFIELD (49-2). Glogouski was knocked out in the ticket round last year but don’t be surprised if he has an outstanding weekend. The Falcon does have a brutal draw which might include Paul Konrath and Drew Hildebrandt to go along with Friday night’s tussle with New Pal’s Alec White.
      ALEC WHITE – NEW PALESTINE (40-4) VS. BLAKE GLOGOUSKI. White was one of the favorites to win the New Castle semi state but was pinned by Cathedral’s Skylour Turner in the semis. This set up the Friday night fight with Glogouski who finished second at Fort Wayne to Pepple.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Pepple.
      This insanely deep class will be one of the best to watch starting on Friday night. Nearly a half dozen different wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the crown. Top ranked Breyden Bailey of Cathedral is undefeated and has won a couple of close matches with contender Cornelious Elliot of Perry Meridian. The state’s best in season rivalry between Brendan Black of Hobart and Jeremiah Reitz of Griffith could be played out one more time under the lights.
      BREYDEN BAILEY – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Bailey has run the table this season and Cathedral’s schedule is no joke. Hobart’s Black is as hot as any wrestler in the state right now. No easy draws in this bracket.
      TYLER FERGUSON – EVANSVILLE REITZ (10-2). Ferguson has a fifth place medal from last year and started the year ranked first. He has been out of action for most of the season and many thought a comeback was not in the cards. This Panther certainly has the skills to sound that siren.
      BRENDAN BLACK – HOBART (30-3) VS. WILL EGLI – MATER DEI (29-4). Two medalists match up on Friday night in this battle. Other Friday night matches between returning medalists include Elliot vs. Langeloh and Ferguson vs. Reitz. Wow!
      DRINKING THE MILK – Bailey.
      Whereas there was no front runner at 120, the 126 class is about as sure bet as any class this weekend. Chad Red of New Palestine has shown no weaknesses in his game. On his feet, Red dominates. On the mat, Red dominates. He is the complete package. The drama here is who will Red meet in the finals. Portage’s Gaige Torres, Perry Meridian’s Ngun Uk, East Noble’s Nathan Weimer and Cathedral frosh Zach Melloh all could be under the lights.
      POLE POSITION – CHAD RED – NEW PALESTINE (43-0). Red….’Nuff said.
      ZACH MELLOH – CATHEDRAL (36-7). Don’t call him Melloh Yellow, this Irish freshman has flown under the radar but has wrestled tough all season and run to the semi-finals is not out of the question.
      BRANDON TRUVER – LAKE CENTRAL (29-10) VS. DANIEL GUNSETT –BELMONT (32-9). Nineteen losses between these two does not mean either caught a break or were lucky in some way to qualify. These are two high quality kids that can beat anyone in the bracket not named Red.
      Handicapping this bracket is much like the 126 bracket. All you have to do is substitute Mater Dei’s Nick Lee for Chad Red. Lee has been every bit as dominating as Red. The only difference is that Lee ran into the top wrestler in the country at 126 last year in Stevan Micic and finished third. The other side of the bracket offers up a few potential finalists in East Noble’s Conner Knapp, and Griffin Schermer of Bloomington South.
      NICK LEE – MATER DEI (31-0). Lee is currently ranked 4th and 6th in country by Intermat and Flo. He had to spend less than six minutes on the mat last Saturday in winning his second semi state crown. He should not be seriously tested this weekend. He IS that good.
      SAGE COY – DELTA (39-1). Coy has had a series of unfortunate events during his first two high school seasons and his move from the closed down Muncie South to Delta has brought better luck. Coy brings a high energy attack that should be highly entertaining to watch this weekend.
      CONNER KNAPP – EAST NOBLE (41-2) VS. AUSTIN BETHAL – MT. VERNON (37-4). Bethal shocked the state with his stunning pin of super frosh and second ranked Brayton Lee of Brownsburg. Standing in his path on Friday night is veteran stud Conner Knapp of East Noble. Knapp already has two state medals on his resume. Honorable mention goes to Westfield’s Evan Eldred vs. Merrillville semi state champ, Austen Laughlin of South Bend Riley.
      A third straight class where one wrestler stands above the field. Amazingly, that wrestler is not returning state champion Tommy Cash but it is Perry Meridian’s Brandon James. James has three top-5 medals to his name and national rankings of 9th and 12th. You can’t count out returning champ Cash even though he has been beaten a couple of times by James. Out of the south is freshman Joe Lee, who has taken down James earlier in the season during his only loss. Clarence Johnson of Merrillville is wrestling awesome right now and Maldonado Magic always seems to strike during the state finals weekend.
      BRANDON JAMES – PERRY MERIDIAN (41-0). James has been a formidable force in the Falcon line up and a threat to win a state title since his freshman season. The stars seem to be aligned for Coach Tonte’s star grappler this season. He will be relaxed, focused and motivated to win his first title on Saturday night.
      KYLE TODRANK – GIBSON SOUTHERN (43-3). Todrank is largely unknown but has progressed tremendously the past couple of years. He has wrestled Mater Dei super frosh Joe Lee tough the last couple of weeks.
      KASPER McINTOSH – PORTAGE (29-9) VS. CLAYTON MOORE – MANCHESTER (35-1). A four over one potential upset lurks here. Both are big and physical 138s who will mix it up. McIntosh is a freshman who wrestles one of the toughest schedules in the state. Moore is a returning qualifier from a small school where he rarely is tested.
      DRINKING THE MILK – James.
      We finally have a weight class where there is real drama involved. A nice Duneland conference rivalry has developed between returning runner up Jacob Covaciu of Merrillville and returning medalist Steven “Bam” Lawrence of Portage. Covaciu has a win over New Castle champ Trenton Pruitt of Warren Central on his resume. It’s strange to say but Yorktown’s Cael McCormick has kept a fairly low profile despite a dominating season where he often wrestled up a class. It would not be a huge upset if he were to topple Covaciu in the semi-finals.
      JACOB COVACIU – MERRILLVILLE (40-1). Despite his loss in the semi state championship match, Covaciu still has to be considered the front-runner in this class. Lawrence and McCormick are not that far back.
      ANDREW HERRIN – JENNINGS COUNTY (46-2) – Herrin wrestled awesome last weekend at semi state. He avenged one of his regular season losses with a win over Castles Patrick Schnell. Along the way he put the hammer to Mater Dei’s Blake Jourdan. A deep state run would not be out of the question.
      EVAN SMILEY – BEECH GROVE (39-5) VS. ANTHONY VAUGHN – ELKHART MEMORIAL (40-3). Two stud seniors will face off on Friday night. Both have been previous state qualifiers and appear to be evenly matched. Expect a very tight match here.
      DRINKING THE MILK – McCormick.
      Tommy Forte of Mishawaka is the wrestler to beat at 152. He has not been tested this season and I would be surprised if anyone gives him much resistance this weekend. Tommy’s knee is a little dinged up but it doesn’t show and he cruised to the semi state title last weekend. The other side of the bracket holds a few potential finalists in Yorktown’s Dru Berkebile, Lebanon’s Kellen VanCamp, and Forte’s conference rival Jarod Swank of Penn. Evansville Central’s Isiah Kemper deserves mention as he is a three time state qualifier.
      TOMMY FORTE – MISHAWAKA (33-0). Forte is ranked 9th and 15th respectively by Intermat and Flo. He is wrestling next year for Buffalo and former coach Bryce Hasseman. It would be a huge upset if anyone were to beat Forte this year.
      MARQUIS SCHIEBER – JIMTOWN (30-8). I saw Schieber wrestle during a couple of mid-season tournaments and frankly was quite disappointed. He looked disinterested and ready for it to end. After watching him at his conference meet, I saw a rebirth. Athletic and skilled this Jimmie is a difficult match up for anyone and has great momentum going into the state meet.
      ELIJAH DUNN – INDIAN CREEK (42-2) VS. JAROD SWANK – PENN (32-5). A contrast of styles between the funky Dunn and the controlled, methodical Swank should prove interesting. It will likely come down to who can impose their will on the other.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Forte.
      Another weight class where the state’s top ranked wrestler also has national credentials and rankings on his resume. Lowell’s Drew Hughes is a favorite to become Lowell’s second state champ in 2015, joining Colton Cummings. He wrestled under the lights as a frosh and got spladled by Ty Fleenor last year on Saturday morning. Experience and motivation along with an unparalled ability to turn guys on top make Hughes a tough package to deal with.
      HUGHES – LOWELL (40-0). A clear front runner but must face Edgewood’s Gabe Koontz in the quarter finals and possible Delta’s Jacob Gray, Avon’s Brandon Helm or local rival Darden Schurg from Crown Point in the finals.
      TRISTAN GOERING – SOUTH BEND RILEY (37-11). Goering got an absolute great draw for a fourth place finisher and has a good chance to reach the semi-finals for coach Bill Flatt and the Wildcats.
      ADAM DODSON – JOHN GLENN (36-2) VS. ETHAN BRIGGEMAN – CARDINAL RITTER (36-4). Two evenly matched senior studs from lesser known programs make this an interesting matchup. Each will be fighting to get on that podium and wrestle on day two.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Hughes.
      The furious five (Stevenson, Lydy, Jackson, Harvey, Mammolenti) became the splendid six after watching the Google Hangout with state’s ‘experts’. I am convinced that Lawrence North’s Cameron Jones has the goods to challenge for a title as well. It did appear that returning state champ Jacob Stevenson might have seriously injured his leg at semi-state. Let’s all hope he can end his high school career on the mat.
      DYLAN LYDY – BEN DAVIS (42-0). Lydy has wins over Stevenson, Jones and Dillon Jackson of Yorktown. This is just enough to edge Ben Harvey of Cathedral as the pre meet favorite. The top tier here is incredibly close and this should be one of the marquee weights to watch because just about any results are possible.
      CAMERON JONES – LAWRENCE NORTH (38-6) – If things fall right for Jones, he could find himself wrestling under the lights. However it shakes out, Jones has clearly put himself in position to be a serious state title threat as a senior next year.
      ISHMAEL CORNEJO – PORTAGE (29-7) VS. JACOB STEVENSON (34-6). Keep an eye on this match to see how last year’s state champ Jacob Stevenson is wrestling on his injured leg. He can’t expect any sympathy from Portage’s Cornejo.
      Penn’s Chase Osborn is a returning state runner up and has been ranked #1 all season. That should make him the favorite to take home title but I have seen probably more variety of picks in this weight class than any other. Western’s Corey Hinkle, Chesterton’s Andrew Davison, Avon’s Evan Elmore and Lawrenceburg’s Mason Parris are all receiving some love as potential state champions. Osborn and Hinkle have the most experience, Elmore is coming in hot, and both Davison and Parris represent the future will be filled with great upper weight wrestling.
      CHASE OSBORN – PENN (35-0). As mentioned before, Osborn has experience under the lights and an unblemished record this year. This adds up to a number 1 ranking and front runner status.
      GAGE GARPOW – WINAMAC (37-3). Garpow was one of the big surprises of the Merrillville semi state. He had Osborn on the ropes in their match up and dominated state ranked Jake Kliemola of Lake Central.
      CONNER JAMES – RONCALLI (44-1) VS. ANDREW DAVISON – CHESTERTON (38-2). An absolutely brutal Friday night matchup between two wrestlers with three losses between them. The winner will get the honor of facing Western’s undefeated Corey Hinkle. A nasty quarter bracket.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Davison.
      This is one of the few brackets that should hold chalk through the semi-finals with all four semi state champs winning. That does not mean that the winner is in much question at this weight class. Cathedral’s junior Blake Rypel season has been every bit as dominating as Chad Red or Nick Lee. He is just too explosive for anyone to handle in the state of Indiana. Mooresville’s Randy Scott, Perry Meridian’s Tristan Tonte and Yorktown’s Myron Howard will battle it out for the chance to meet Rypel under the lights.
      BLAKE RYPEL – CATHEDRAL (43-0). Rypel has the skills to lap the field here. Ranked seventh by Flo and tenth by Intermat, no one should challenge Rypel this weekend.
      TANNER BRADLEY – MISHAWAKA (26-4). Much like Sampson, there is much power in the hair of Tanner Bradley. Don’t get mesmerized by the mullet, Bradley is an athletic freak who can put you on your back at any time. A run to the finals is not out of the question for this Caveman.
      TRISTON TONTE – PERRY MERIDIAN (40-2) VS. MATT HEDRICK – PORTAGE (29-7). Tonte is a very exciting sophomore who will wrestle with no fear of the big stage. Hedrick wrestled smart tactical matches at semi state to earn his bid to Indy.
      The 220 class is led by preseason top ranked Kobe Woods of Penn. Woods has maintained that ranking by fashioning a perfect 40-0 record. In fact, Woods has even cracked the national rankings at #19 by Flo. This class is by no means a slam dunk (sorry) as several challengers could step up if Woods were to falter. Conference rival and returning state placer, Eliseo Guerra of Elkhart Central has had two tight matches with Woods. Warren Central Courvoisier Morrow was narrowly defeated by Woods at the Al Smith tournament.
      KOBE WOODS – PENN (40-0). The Penn big man has gone wire to wire and has the experience, skill and coaching to bring home the gold.
      EVAN ELLIS – EASTERN (44-2). Ellis was a ticket round causality last year and wrestling at small school Eastern has kept him off many people’s radar. He is a talented wrestler that could make a run deep in this bracket.
      BLAKE DAVIS – GARRETT (47-4) VS. MORGAN KRAL – CROWN POINT (36-2). Davis has been largely over shadowed by his higher ranked older brother but one could argue that Blake has had a slightly better season than his brother Bo. He will face Kral, who is looking for his first state medal and has a state champion older brother in Tyler Kral.
      It looks like a two horse race for the big boys between nationally ranked top ten wrestlers Shawn Streck of Merrillville and Norman Oglesby of Ben Davis. There looks to be lots of purple under the lights on Saturday night. Both big men have state medals and lots of experience wrestling on Banker’s Life floor. Oglesby, a senior, has already accepted a football scholarship to Cincinnati while Streck is a junior who will likely have his pick of offers in both football and wrestling.
      SHAWN STRECK – MERRILLVILLE (42-0). The bracket gods were kind to wrestling fans by putting Streck and Oglesby on opposite sides of this bracket.
      BRYCE BIDDLE – PLAINFIELD (30-3). Plainfield’s promising sophomore Bryce Biddle has had one of the toughest roads to qualify for state going clear back to his sectional. He got a nice draw and could parlay this to a semi-final trip in his sophomore campaign.
      QUINN YORK – FRANKLIN (40-4) VS. JASION BROGAN – WARREN CENTRAL (38-5). These two juniors are just a shade under the top tier heavyweights and will battle Friday night for state hardware.
      DRINKING THE MILK – Streck.

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      #WrestlingWednesday Feature: Blast from the Past with Randy May

      Brought to you by EI Sports

      Randy May’s name deserves to be in the mix when talking about Indiana’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.
      “I was just too little to make the varsity team,” May said. “My 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.”
      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 South’s coach, and led them to another state championship in the 1973 season.
      That season May lost just one time in the reserve matches – to a varsity junior from Owen Valley.
      “I got beat by him,” May said. “It was a good match. He ended up being one win away from going to the state tournament.”
      May hurt his back his freshman year and coach Hutsell sent him to help coach the feeder system at Smithville Middle School.
      “I was mad,” May said. “I 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).”
      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.
      “I had great coaching,” May said. “Everyone 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.
      “In 1975-76 money was very tight and there was a gas shortage. I’d drive to IU after I got off of work and I’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.”
      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.
      “I took all their candy money,” May said. “That always paid for my gas.”
      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.
      “I had dreams of being a four-time National champion,” May said. “I had my whole future mapped out. I wanted to be an Olympian and then I wanted to coach wrestling.”
      Things didn’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.
      “The disease shuts down the central nervous system,” May said. “It can kill you. But I worked my ass off. They told me I should have been on bed rest, but I didn’t stop working. When I couldn’t stand, I’d pull myself up. I still went to practice every day.”
      May eventually realized his wrestling career would have to be over.
      “I was walking with the aid of a cane at the time,” May said. “I 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, ‘you have got to be kidding me’. I came back and tied the match and won on riding time. But I knew I wasn’t myself anymore. I knew wrestling was over for me.”
      May had to refocus his life goals, and his career. He didn’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.
      “He was a natural and I loved watching him,” May said. “He 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.”
      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.
      “I was brought up with a good work ethic,” May said. “We had tasks and chores. My parents wanted them done right. I’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.
      “I 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.”

      6147 35 1

      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)
      February 23rd
      Central at Indy Nationals
      Cost: $45(pay online)
      February 29-March 1st
      Finals at Southport High School
      Cost: $25(pay at the door)
      Informational Page
      Contact Information
      Mark Durham
      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.

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      WrestlingWednesday: Shenandoah Not a Fly By Night Program

      When Gary Black Jr. interviewed for the head wrestling coach at Shenandoah, his goals were clear. He didn’t want to maintain the status quo for the Raiders. He wasn’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 state’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 school’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 school’s first regional title.
      “We had to get a mentality change,” Black said. “We 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.”
      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.
      The Heartache
      Coach Black’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. Levi’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 Levi’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.
      “Both coaches (Gary Jr. and Sr.) are my heroes,” Gee said. “After all they went through, they still took care of us – 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.”
      For Gary Jr., he knew he needed to find a way to honor Levi, yet move forward.
      “The last 16 months have been a huge learning curve for a lot of us,” Black said. “Not 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 I‘m sure the kids – being at that exact same place where everything happened – that make it very difficult. All of our lives have been changed.”
      The Determination
      Last year A.J. Black, Levi and Gary Jr’s youngest brother, tried doing everything he could to honor Levi. At times, the pressure got to him. He didn’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.
      “The 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,” coach Black said. “We talked about it. He had to make a shift in how he honors his brother. He needs to start doing things for himself.
      “I ask him before every match, who he is wrestling for. He now will say ‘Me’ and then give me a hug and go wrestle. He still honors Levi, but by working his hardest and doing his best. That’s all Levi would have wanted.”
      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.
      “Levi was the hardest worker in the room,” A.J. said. “Everyone wants to make him proud by working as hard as they can, every day.”
      Take Allred for example. He is a 14-year old freshman that won’t turn 15 until May 28. He’s wrestling in one of the most physically demanding classes (170). Yet he’s undefeated.
      “We believe success is a mindset,” Allred said. “I 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.”
      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.
      The Coach
      Gary has built the Raider program to be one of the state’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.
      “We see each other at our worst, and we see each other at our best,” said Allred, who has a 4.0 GPA and is ranked third in his class. “When one of us has a down day, the rest of us try and pick him up. This is more than a wrestling team. We’re all friends. We’re all brothers.”
      The leader of the Raider family is undoubtedly the young coach Black. His passion for the team is evident in every match he coaches.
      “On Sundays I’m exhausted,” Black said “It’s hard for me to be on the sideline when I just want to go to war with them. I don’t want to be the general just telling them to go into battle. I want to battle with them. I’ll be the intense guy on the sideline.
      “I want these kids to win as bad as they do. I get extremely emotionally involved in their success. I’d like to think they appreciate it, even though I look ridiculous. I love wrestling and I love watching those kids compete.”
      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 they’ve prepared themselves to complete the journey – just like a young coach interviewing for his first head coaching job seven years ago said they would.

      5810 5

      #MondayMatness: Merrillville is more than about creating championships

      Merrillville High School has enjoyed many championships in David Maldonado's 15 years as head wrestling coach.
      Since that first season in 2002-03, the Pirates have appeared in the IHSAA Team State Finals three times (2006, 2007 and 2008) and won 12 sectionals, seven regionals and four semistates as a team.
      Merrillville has had three top-three places for the Coaches Cup (team score at individual state tournament) on Maldonado's watch with a third in 2005, second in 2006 and third in 2007.
      There have been nine individual state title-takers ” junior Wesley English at 145 in 2005, senior Javier Salas at 119 in 2006, senior Dexter Latimore at heavyweight in 2006, senior Jamal Lawrence at 145 in 2007, sophomore Bobby Stevenson at 170 in 2013, junior Jacob Covaciu at 145 in 2015, junior Shawn Streck at heavyweight in 2015, senior Jacob Covaciu at 160 in 2016 and senior Shawn Streck at heavyweight in 2016.
      Latimore (heavyweight) and Lawrence (145) were senior national champions in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
      Streck (Purdue) and Covaciu (Wisconsin) moved on the college wrestling.
      The number of state qualifiers during Maldonado's time at Merrillville is 68.
      Including his time at Noll, Maldonado went into the 2016-17 season with a dual-meet record of 301-86, including 261-46 with the Pirates.
      But that's not the only way to define success for Maldonado, himself a state champion at 130 as a junior in 1993 and state runner-up at 135 as a senior in 1994 at East Chicago Central.
      David Maldonado, a member of the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame as an individual (along with brother Billy) and as part of the famed Maldonado family (six of David's uncles and several cousins, sons and nephews have been or are wrestlers), gets as much satisfaction for the relationships built and life lessons taught as the crisply-executed headlocks and underhooks.
      For the Merrillville coaching staff, which also features Gene Bierman, Bobby Joe Maldonado, Paul Maldonado, Tim Maldonado, Joe Atria and Tom Kelly, wrestling does not only build character, it reveals it.
      We work every match to get better, Maldonado said. That's all the matters. As long as we do that, everything else will take care of itself. The medals, awards stand, all that stuff takes care of itself.
      For some kids, it happens sooner. For some kids, it happens later.
      Years ago, Maldonado got into the habit of addressing each of his wrestlers immediately after their match.
      It could be a high-five, a word of encouragement or a constructive criticism. He wants the wrestler ” and the wrestler's parents ” to know that he cares.
      A son to parents born in Mexico who teaches Spanish at Merrillville, Maldonado also builds these relationships in the classroom.
      We're all in this together, Maldonado said. Let's communicate. Some coaches and teachers are afraid to call home and talk to parents. I'm not.
      Maldonado, who was also a folkstyle senior nationals champion as a high schooler and then placed third twice and second once in the Big 12 Conference while grappling for Iowa State University and placing second at two more freestyle nationals, takes time every week to talk with parents.
      It's a lesson he learned from his coach at Iowa State ” Bobby Douglas, a former NCAA champion and Olympian.
      Those little things that coaches do to help, Maldonado said. More than anything else, you need to build that relationship with kids. I always feel like we had a successful season because of those relationships and getting better.
      It's about being better at everything ” a better athlete, a better wrestler, a better person.
      Maldonado knows that teenagers can see right through you if you are not genuine. But show that genuine caring and by season's end, they'll be willing to run through a wall for you.
      But the relationships start long high school for many wrestlers. Maldonado is there at kids wrestling club practices and meets and knows them long before they put on a purple singlet for MHS.
      Maldonado also tries to enjoy the ride and wants those around him to do the same.
      He knows that wrestling season can be a grind and it's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment.
      We need to just be grateful for having the opportunity and cherish it no matter how it turns out, Maldonado said. At the end of the year, there's only going to be one happy kid per weight class or one happy coach.
      At the end of the day, you've still got to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

      5780 25

      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.
      Bracket Link
      Banana Bets Links
      Twitter Link

      5716 11

      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.
      TrackWrestling Link
      IndianaMat brackets(with rankings)
      Video via TrackWrestling's Trackcast
      $10 fee to watch all weekend
      TrackWrestling Link
      Streaming and Broadcast Information
      State Finals Pick’ems
      Mat Burns Pick the Champions
      Rankings by the Numbers
      IHSAA State Preview


      2021 IHSWCA Team State Information

      Date: January 2nd, 2021
      Wrestling begins at 10am EST
      Locations: 1A and 2A- Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum
      3A- Franklin Community High School
      4A- Brownsburg High School
      1A: Adams Central, Bluffton, Centerville Cowan, Manchester, North Posey, Prairie Heights, Rensselaer Central, South Adams, Southmont, Tell City, Wabash
      2A: Bellmont, Garrett, Jay County, Jimtown, Monrovia, Mount Vernon (Posey), New Haven, New Prairie, Norwell, Oak Hill, Wawasee, Western
      3A:  East Central, Floyd Central, Franklin, Hobart, Mishawaka, Northridge, Roncalli, Terre Haute South
      4A: Avon, Brownsburg, Carmel, Cathedral, Chesterton, Evansville Mater Dei, Perry Meridian, Warren Central
      Note: Floyd Central, Terre Haute South, Jay County, and Monrovia were late replacements due to quarantine.
      TrackWrestling Link
      ****Including Streaming Info****
      Click here to access the event
      IndianaMat EXCLUSIVE Potential Match-ups
      Click here for brackets and potential match-ups
      Gorilla Zone
      Mike and Joe will highlight and watch big matches as they happen
      YouTube Link
      Facebook Link
      Pick'ems Link


      2015 State Finals: Information Center

      State Finals Hashtag: #INStateFinals15
      Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis | Website
      Admission: $8 per session or $20 both days.
      Match Results: TrackWrestling.com
      Friday, Feb. 20, 2015
      First Round | 6 pm ET.
      Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
      Quarterfinals | 9:30 am ET with semifinals to follow.
      Consolations | 5 pm ET.
      Finals | 7:30 pm ET. Important Links
      TrackWrestling Link
      IndianaMat brackets(with rankings)
      Video via TrackWrestling's Trackcast
      $5 fee to watch all weekend
      TrackWrestling Link
      Streaming and Broadcast Information
      State Finals Pick’ems
      Takedown and Release
      Rankings by the Numbers
      State Finals Preview

      5426 6

      #WrestlingWednesday Feature: Parris is the Newest Lawrenceberg Attraction

      Brought to you by EI Sports

      Nestled in the southeastern corner of Indiana, the modest town of Lawrenceburg has established itself as a tourism hot spot. The town is home to the Perfect North Slopes skiing resort, as well as the immensely popular Hollywood Casino. But lately, the top attraction has been the 220 pound monster that lurks in the wrestling room at Lawrenceburg High School. He goes by the name of Mason Parris.
      Parris took the state by storm last season as a freshman at 182 pounds. He went undefeated until the state finals, where he lost to eventual champion Chase Osborn 11-10. Parris finished third, with a 54-1 record.
      Parris was just 15 years old last year, wrestling in a weight class that showcases some of the most physically gifted specimen in the state. He more than proved he belonged.
      This season, all he has done is put on about 40 pounds of muscle. He’s bigger, stronger, faster and a lot more confident than he was as a freshman.
      “I thought I had a really good freshman year,” Parris said. “I made mistakes, and was able to learn from them. Going to state and placing well was a good experience. But this year, I want to do better. I am not satisfied. I’m working hard. I’m staying dedicated.”
      Parris, like most Indiana wrestlers, says he has dreamed of winning a state title since he was very young.
      Lawrenceburg coach Mark Kirchgassner knew the first time he watched Mason practice that there was something special about him.
      “I don’t even think Mason was in kindergarten yet,” Kirchgassner said. “I watched him wrestled and told his dad that Mason is going to be something special. He did things naturally that I had a hard time teaching high schoolers to do.”
      Parris is undefeated so far this season. He hasn’t faced many upper level competitors yet, but he certainly isn’t shying away from them. In one of his first matches this year Parris bumped up to heavyweight so he could go against Union County’s No. 13 ranked Clark Minges. All Parris did was tech fall the bigger Minges.
      “That was my first match wrestling a really big guy,” Parris said. “I knew I had to stay out from underneath him. I kept pressure on him and really tried to wear him out.”
      One of Parris’ main partners in the practice room is No. 6-ranked 160 pounder Jake Ruberg. The two have been wrestling together since they were in elementary school. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Ruberg’s speed helps Parris learn to deal with the faster opponents he will face, and Parris’ power helps Ruberg contend with the stronger guys he will go up against.
      “Mason really pushes me,” Ruberg said. “He really helps my wrestling improve because he is so big and overpowering. And he’s very positive in the room and he helps everyone with technique. I know he can throw me around if he wanted to, but he likes to work on countering my speed.”
      Parris prides himself on his work ethic. It’s something his coach sees first hand on a daily basis.
      “Mason has just one gear,” Kirchgassner said. “It’s always go, go, go. He works harder than about any kid I’ve ever seen, in every aspect. Even in his matches he works on his craft. He isn’t content to just go out and beat a guy. If there is a move he’s trying to work on, he will work on it in a match just to make sure he can do it.”
      Parris is aware that to win a state championship, there is a likelihood he will have to go up against No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Kobe Wood.
      “Kobe Woods is a very good wrestler and I’ve been preparing for him all year,” Parris said.
      During the offseason Parris wrestled at the UFC wrestling championships in Las Vegas. He competed at 220 pounds in the 18U division, and won.
      “That was a great experience, wrestling in the 18U division with a team,” Parris said. “I faced some very good wrestlers.”
      Parris is also a gifted football player in the fall. He was a junior All-State in class 3A (he’s a sophomore), and was the defensive MVP in Lawrenceburg’s conference. He plays middle linebacker and offensive guard. This year Lawrenceburg finished with a 7-3 record.
      “I like football and wrestling equally,” Parris said. “I couldn’t choose a favorite.”
      Right now Parris is solely concentrating on wrestling. He hopes that focus leads to a state title. One thing is for sure, right now Mason Parris is the biggest attraction in Lawrenceburg.

      5177 4

      #MondayMatness: The Culp Family is Hooked on Wrestling

      By Steve Krah
      When the mat sport attracts a child, it often brings whole family with it.
      Once that flame is lit, it’s next impossible to extinguish.
      An interest sparked into just such a passion for the Culps of Columbia City.
      Two topics come up at family meal time.
      “Wrestling and racing,” Pat Culp said. “That’s all we talk about at our house.”
      Blane Culp, son of Pat and David, loves the mat and dirt track racing and runs a website (http://www.maximumdirt.com/) dedicated to the latter.
      But it’s the love of takedowns, turns and technical falls that has gone on to have a major impact on not only Whitley County but the whole Indiana wrestling community and beyond.
      Introduced to competitive wrestling around age 6, Blane Culp enjoyed early success. He placed second in his weight class in at the Indiana State Wrestling Association state tournament in his second year and was hooked.
      “I lost to a kid named (Angel) Ecobedo (who went on to become four-time IHSAA state champion at Griffith High School and then an NCAA champion and four-time collegiate All-American for Indiana University),” Blane Culp recalls. “I was probably the last one who came close to beating him in Indiana.”
      Blane’s older brother, Josh Ross, also was having a blast and winning matches.
      Around 1996, the Culps — Pat and husband Dave (who had been a wrestler at Lewis Cass High School, where he graduated in 1977) — started the Columbia City Wrestling Club. Blane and Josh were an active part of an organization that went on to be one of the bigger ones around the state with an enrollment consistently over 100.
      While other family members Kayla Culp, David Stahl and Shane Stahl would be involved on the mats at the club and/or high school levels, Josh would go on to compete at 140 pounds in the IHSAA State Finals in his senior year at Columbia City (1998) while 125-pounder Blane placed third in his final prep season (2004).
      Randy Kearby was the Eagles head coach for both boys.
      Blane went on to grappled for two seasons at IU. He was an assistant at Bloomington North High School and is now in his sixth years as head coach at Columbia City.
      With all the knowledge gained as a wrestler and coach, Blane throws a lot of information at his young Eagles and they incorporate what works best for them.
      “I show a lot of stuff and they take what they want,” Blane Culp said. “We have short stocky guys and tall skinny guys. Some run legs and some run cradles. All of our guys are different.
      “There is not a set style in Columbia City and I like that. That’s the way it was when I was in school. I wrestled one way, but could change it for someone else.”
      Columbia City wrestlers generally have three of four options to take on double leg takedowns or finishes and they refine those as the season gets closer to conference and state tournament time.
      “By the end of the year, they’re picking their set-ups and their finishes,” Blane Culp said. “Come January and February, they are fine-tuning their favorite moves. It’s no longer in my hands. It’s in their hands.”
      Pat Culp has kept a hand in the sport because she believes in it.
      “Wrestling builds self esteem,” Pat Culp said. “It’s really good for the kids. That’s why I stayed involved.”
      And involved she is.
      Pat Culp, the Columbia City club president, got so caught up in the fun and excitement that she began helping to organize wrestling tournaments outside her club and became an ISWA Pairing Developmental Director.
      “I love organizing events,” Pat Culp said.
      She routinely runs or oversees multiple tournaments — high school and club — at the same time. She trains workers and is available on-site or by phone as a trouble shooter.
      Mark Dunham, Kyle Keith and Jean Whetstone are other volunteers who keep Indiana wrestling events running like clockwork.
      While more and more tournaments use Trackwrestling for scoring, Pat Culp insists that workers know how to manually score a tournament in case something happens like a computer server going down.
      “We want to keep the tournament running without people realizing what’s going on,” Pat Culp said. “There are a lot of variables, but it’s a lot of fun.”
      She knows that not all tournaments are the same and she tries to cater to each director. Some are ran as duals and other with individual brackets. Scoring for advancement and match points can differ.
      One tournament might be rigid for location of matches and others might go with first available match or use a combination of the two.
      “I don’t put everybody in a box,” Pat Culp said.
      If things are going smoothly at a tournament, like the IHSWCA State Duals which she helped run Saturday, Jan. 2, in Fort Wayne, Pat can watch what’s happening on the mats.
      Blane has noticed.
      “It seems that moms enjoy wrestling more than what dads do sometimes,” Blane Culp said.
      “She’s watched all these (Columbia City) kids grow up. At semistate, I can see her across the arena when we are in a ‘ticket’ round, she’s still biting her nails. She’s still nervous for them. It’s like when I was in school. They’re still her boys.”

      5159 5

      #WrestlingWednesday: Ruberg has overcome more than opponents on the mat

      Lawrenceburg’s Jake Ruberg has battled some of Indiana’s best wrestlers, and more often than not has emerged victorious. But Ruberg’s true adversary isn’t an opponent standing across from him on the mat. No, for Ruberg, the demons he has wrestled in his own mind are far more vicious and formidable than any opponent could ever be.
      Ruberg emerged on the state scene four years ago. He was a little-known freshman wrestling for a small school a stone’s throw away from the Ohio state line. He won sectional and regional that year and eventually advanced to state. He lost just twice as a freshman, once to eventual champion Tommy Cash 2-1 in semistate, and then to Jacob Covaciu in the first round of state.
      Ruberg had sat at the table of the state’s wrestling elite. He developed a taste for that success and became obsessed with getting back there. He stepped on the mat 10 times that sophomore season, and all 10 times he emerged victorious. He was well on his way back to Indiana’s pinnacle – the state finals.
      Ruberg injured his shoulder during football, and thought he would be able to wrestle. But wrestling can be a cruel mistress at times. Ruberg realized that his shoulder needed more time to heal, and that he would have to stop wrestling for the remainder of the season. That injury led to a dark time for Ruberg, one where he would eventually be hospitalized because of a deep depression.
      “I’ve had to deal with some pretty tough stuff,” Ruberg said. “I became very depressed after my shoulder injury and I was in the hospital for a while. It was at the same time that Shenandoah’s Levi Black committed suicide after dealing with a mental illness. I was shocked to see that another kid was having some of the same issues I was having. I knew I had to come out of it.”
      Ruberg made the decision to talk about his issues. He went to therapy. He talked to Levi’s parents and brother (Shenandoah head coach Gary Black). By talking about it, he was starting to get better. He also realized that there might be other kids out there going through similar struggles. So, he made himself available to talk to them.
      “I wanted to make sure I was there for people,” Ruberg said. “Nobody should battle that alone. Mental illnesses are tough. I’ve been dealing with them since I was little. It’s something you have to work out. You can’t just fix yourself in a day. You have to have outlets and people you can talk to. My outlet is wrestling and working out. If I’m feeling bad, I go lift or work out on the mat. Everyone has to find their own outlet to get their mind clear.”
      Ruberg didn’t advance to state as a junior. He lost in the ticket round to Noah Warren in the New Castle semistate. The loss hurt, but Ruberg has learned to deal with the negative emotions and turn them into a positive.
      That was evident this football season. The Tigers advanced to the state championship game, eventually getting second. Ruberg was named the Class 3A Mental Attitude Award winner.
      “Jake is a born leader,” Lawrenceburg coach Mark Kirchgassner said. “He’s been a leader on our wrestling team for four years. He’s a leader on the football field. He’s just a leader in everything he does.
      “With Jake there have been ups and downs. But he has really taken positive steps. He’s done vigils with people battling depression. He’s taken kids under his wings. He helps people along the process and he’s been very open with it to other kids. It takes a lot of courage for a high school guy to tell people that he battles depression.”
      Ruberg is hoping this senior campaign ends with him on the podium at the state meet. He is currently ranked No. 10 at 170 pounds. He has a lost twice this year, once to No. 2-ranked Tanner Webster 3-2, and the other time he was pinned by No. 9-ranked Kameron Fuller.
      “My goal is to win state, and I expect to be in the top three at least,” Ruberg said.
      Ruberg has the luxury of being in the same room with three other highly skilled wrestlers in the upper weights. Nationally ranked Mason Parris is at 220. Jonah Rolfes (ranked No. 5 in the New Castle semistate) is at 182 pounds and Sam Tibbets is at 195 pounds.
      “We are fortunate for a small school to have four guys of that caliber that can battle every day in practice,” Kirchgassner said. “They are really able to push each other.”
      Ruberg loves the success his small school has had recently in wrestling.
      “People try and tell me how much better the Ohio tournament is,” Ruberg said. “I know they have great wrestlers. But we have a tournament where a school of 600 people gets to compete against a school of 6,000. Your ability really shines. You know you are one of the top 16 when you make it to state. If you win, there is no doubt that you are the best. I do wish we had wrestle backs though.”
      After high school Ruberg will wrestle for the University of Indianapolis. He chose Indianapolis because he wanted to remain close to home, and he really liked the coaching staff.
      “Their coach is very down to earth,” Ruberg said. “He will talk to you about anything. He’ll check up with you on the weekends and see how you’re doing. I just really like their program.”
      Ruberg plans to go into nursing. He had people help him when he was at his lowest point, and now he wants to make a career out of helping others.
      “My advice to anyone that might be struggling is to find someone that will listen to you,” Ruberg said. “Find someone you can open up to. Always keep going. There might be bad times, but something greater is always right around the corner.”


      #WrestlingWednesday Feature: Prairie Heights Resurgence Orchestrated by a Basketball Player

      Brought to you by EI Sports

      Four years ago Prairie Heights High School needed a wrestling coach. Applicants weren’t exactly lining up at the door to take over a program that had fallen on hard times.
      So the school’s athletic director approached an unlikely candidate — a former basketball player named Brett Smith.
      Smith, who teaches at the school district’s middle school, had no wrestling experience. He was related to the former wrestling coach, and had helped kids with lifting weights and staying in shape in the offseason. That was the extent of his wrestling knowledge.
      He didn’t shy away from the challenge. Smith told the athletic director he would take the job, but he needed to be able to hire the best assistant coaches he could find.
      Smith called brothers John and Mike Levitz, two of Prairie Heights greatest former wrestlers. John had set nearly all of the Panther’s wrestling records, until Mike came along and broke them. Smith remembers watching the Levitz brothers wrestle in high school. He knew they were the right people for the job.
      There was one more piece to the puzzle Smith was trying to assemble, and the Levitz brothers knew exactly what that was. They called their old high school coach Lee Fry and talked him out of retirement to join in their campaign.
      The first year together the Panthers finished the season with a miserable 12-17 record. The next year they had raised their mark to .500 at 16-16. Last year the team posted a winning record at 17-12.
      This year the Panthers are 21-2 and are the top-seeded Class A team going in to this weekend’s team state tournament.
      It hasn’t been an easy road, by any means, but the kids have bought into the coaches’ system.
      “I think one of the main things that has helped us is that we do everything the wrestlers do,” Smith said. “We do the same lifting and running. The kids see us busting our butts with them, and that pushes them to do the same. They work hard because they can see us working hard for them.”
      Mike and John started coaching kids in their basement several years ago. They had purchased old wrestling mats from a barn nearby. It took hours to clean the mats enough to get them in usable shape. They put them in John’s basement and started working with kids. At first it was just John’s sons Doug (junior, 145 lbs) and Jed (freshman, 160 lbs). But soon the workouts in their basement grew to over 20 kids.
      “Wrestling is just about life for our family,” John said. “My brothers and I, we lived wrestling. When Mike graduated, we were lost. Our parents were lost. We needed wrestling back in our lives.”
      Now wrestling is once again a large part of the Levitz’s daily routine. John’s sons both wrestle, as does Mike’s sons Isiah, Sam and Matt. Mike’s sons are not in high school yet, but they are all dedicated to the sport.
      “Wrestling has taught me so much for life,” Mike said. “It taught hard work and dedication. Wrestling is a family thing. Everyone in the sport is tight.”
      Prairie Heights is a small farming community. That’s a key to the wrestling success as well, according to Smith.
      “We’re just a small farm town,” Smith said. “But all the kids have grown up to be hard workers because of that. We know the kids work hard, and we know their parents work hard. And work ethic in the wrestling room has been what has led us to the success we’re having.”
      The Panthers have goals this year of winning the Northeast Corner Conference, winning team state, and sending at least one wrestler to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse for the wrestling state finals. In their four years of coaching together, they have not had a wrestler go to state yet.
      “We have the potential to change that this year,” John said. “I’d love to see us get more than one there this year.”
      A former basketball player, a retired coach and a couple of brothers who hadn’t coached high school wrestling before isn’t the typical recipe for success on the mats. But it works for Prairie Heights. The team wouldn’t want it any other way.


      2015 State Finals: Rankings by the Numbers

      We hear the saying “rankings don’t matter” all the time, however our IndianaMat rankings have been spot on over the years. Remember that our rankings are finalized before sectional, so they do not take into account the draws at regional or semi-state. This year’s preseason magazine had an astounding 166 wrestlers ranked that made the state finals! Remember, this takes into account incoming freshmen, kids that move out of state, injuries to top wrestlers, and other reasons for top wrestlers not wrestling this year. Here are the previous year’s and how many ranked kids made the state finals.
      2015- 172
      2014- 171
      2013- 171
      2012- 170
      2011- 157
      2010- 159
      2009- 143
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Ben Streeter- Fort Wayne North Side
      Jon Anderson- Lafayette Jefferson
      Levi Miller- North Posey
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Graham Rooks- Columbus East vs. #15 Kory Cavanaugh- Penn
      #8 Christian Hunt- Yorktown vs. #2 Klayton Anderson- Hamilton Southeastern
      #17 Cainan Schaefer- South Dearborn vs. #16 Tanner DeMien- Northwood
      #19 Geoffrey Davis- Fort Wayne Wayne vs. #4 Cameron Diep- New Palestine
      #5 Tylor Triana- Hobart vs. #9 Mason Miranda- Avon
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Anthony Mosser- Adams Central
      Jabin Wright- Kokomo
      Kadin Poe- Decatur Central
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Rickie Rodriguez- Hammond Morton vs. #16 Jacob Skaggs- Avon
      #1 Garrett Pepple- East Noble vs. #10 Ethan Smiley- Beech Grove
      #4 Kyle Luigs- Evansville Mater Dei vs. #17 Dustin Miller- Lafayette Jefferson
      #2 Paul Konrath- Mt. Vernon vs. #9 Michael DeLaPeña- Merrillville
      #5 Alec White- New Palestine vs. #8 Blake Glogouski- Fairfield
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 15
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Dameion Rutledge- Southport
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #9 Kyle Hatch- Warsaw vs. #14 Isaac Gomez- Plainfield
      #1 Breyden Bailey- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #11 Eddie Loraine- Leo
      #7 Tyler Ferguson- Evansville F.J. Reitz vs. #4 Jeremiah Reitz- Griffith
      #5 Brock Hudkins- Danville vs. #19 Ryan Hardesty- Mishawaka
      #15 Hunter Langeloh- Columbia City vs. #3 Cornelious Elliot II- Perry Meridian
      #6 Brendan Black- Hobart vs. #8 Will Egli- Evansville Mater Dei
      #13 Caleb Bocock- Lebanon vs. #16 Ben Cauffman- Carroll (Fort Wayne)
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Chris Diaz- Hammond Clark
      David Lewis- Terre Haute South
      Kobe Raypole- Carroll (Fort Wayne)
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #7 Zach Melloh- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #16 Chayce Young- Madison
      #1 Chad Red- New Palestine vs. #5 Alex Johnson- Evansville Mater Dei
      #12 Daniel Gunsett- Bellmont vs. #11 Branden Truver- Lake Central
      #3 Elliott Molloy- Danville vs. #9 Joel McGhee- Warren Central
      #4 Jason Crary- Munster vs. #8 Owen Doster- New Haven
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 12
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Austen Laughlin- South Bend Riley
      Cale McCoy- Northview
      Fernando Luevano- West Noble
      Jarrett Carden- Cass
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #3 Connor Knapp- East Noble vs. #11 Austin Bethel- Mt. Vernon
      #8 Griffin Schermer- Bloomington South vs. #12 Kyle Egolf- Columbia City
      #5 Jack Chastain- Hamilton Southeastern vs. #10 Zach Donaldson- Crown Point
      #17 Blake Strawsma- Benton Central vs. #7 Nick Ellis- Roncalli
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Alan Dixon- Evansville F.J. Reitz
      Connor Moore- Southmont
      Kasper McIntosh- Portage
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #4 Clarence Johnson- Merrillville vs. #18 Jay Franko- Jimtown
      #6 Keegan Stansberry- Hamilton Southeastern vs. #5 Kyle Todrank- Gibson Southern
      #10 Isaac Eicher- Leo vs. #14 Riley Akers- Crown Point
      #1 Brandon James- Perry Meridian vs. #19 Hunter Castleberry- New Albany
      #17 Triston Rodriguez- Culver Community vs. #7 Brad Laughlin- Yorktown
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 14
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Daylan Schurg- Crown Point
      Tanner Shipley- Huntington North
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #6 Trent Pruitt- Warren Central vs. #19 Doug Levitz- Prairie Heights
      #15 Bryant Haynes- Charlestown vs. #1 Jacob Covaciu- Merrillville
      #2 Cael McCormick- Yorktown vs. #18 Alston Bane- Richmond
      #14 Tavonte` Malone- South Bend Adams vs. #5 Blake Jourdan- Evansville Mater Dei
      #4 Evan Smiley- Beech Grove vs. #7 Tony Vaughn- Elkhart Memorial
      #3 Steven Lawrence- Portage vs. #10 Patrick Schnell- Castle
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Corbin Gregg- Hamilton Southeastern
      Dru Berkebile- Yorktown
      Gleason Mappes- Center Grove
      Isaiah Michaels- Centerville
      Marquis Schieber- Jimtown
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Isaiah Kemper- Evansville Central vs. #13 Mike Krzyston- Andrean
      #7 Elijah Dunn- Indian Creek vs. #4 Jarod Swank- Penn
      #6 Kellen VanCamp- Lebanon vs. #12 Peyton Sturgill- Peru
      #16 Kodie Christenson- Lake Central vs. #10 Cayden Whitaker- Martinsville
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Dezmen Goddard- Warren Central
      Evan Stambaugh- Lebanon
      Jordan Rader- Peru
      Kody Caudle- Danville
      Tristan Goering- South Bend Riley
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Jacob Weimer- East Noble vs. #12 Tristen McDaniel- Tecumseh
      #2 Gabe Koontz- Edgewood vs. #10 Bryce Baumgartner- Bellmont
      #14 Jesse Archer- North Montgomery vs. #3 Darden Schurg- Crown Point
      #7 Adam Dodson- John Glenn vs. #8 Ethan Briggeman- Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Ben Norton- LaVille
      Blake Jeffress- Castle
      Brett Baker- Bellmont
      Zach Davis- Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran
      Zach Worm- Southmont
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #9 Nathan Walton- Brownsburg vs. #10 Hunter Mote- Delphi
      #4 Dillon Jackson- Yorktown vs. #19 Spencer Irick- Hamilton Southeastern
      #17 Ismael Cornejo- Portage vs. #5 Jacob Stevenson- Franklin Community
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Andy Kohler- Jay County
      Caleb Hoots- New Castle
      Gage Garpow- Winamac
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Corey Hinkle- Western vs. #20 Ryan Hammond- Whiteland
      #4 Conner James- Roncalli vs. #3 Andrew Davison- Chesterton
      #5 Mason Parris- Lawrenceburg vs. #9 Jake Kleimola- Lake Central
      #13 Hunter Hiestand- Yorktown vs. #10 Kyle Shaffer- South Putnam
      #17 Matt Hayes- Providence vs. #16 David Eli- Elkhart Memorial
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 11
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Carter Friedt- Bellmont
      Christian Redmond- Jennings County
      Jake LaMar- Castle
      Justin Akers- Crown Point
      Scottie Evans- Delta
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #11 Sam Hipple- Carmel vs. #16 Tanner Bradley- Mishawaka
      #9 Matt Hedrick- Portage vs. #4 Tristen Tonte- Perry Meridian
      #5 Nick Fowler- Calumet vs. #10 Scott Fuller- Zionsville
      #17 Bo Davis- Garrett vs. #18 Garrison Lee- Monrovia
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 13
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Blake Davis- Garrett
      Dustyn Hangen- Winchester
      Tristin Choate- Mt. Vernon
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #2 Eliseo Guerra- Elkhart Central vs. #18 Braden Majewski- Portage
      #9 Kasha Wilder- Ben Davis vs. #13 Erik Hart- Lebanon
      #15 Ryan Guhl- Indianapolis Cathedral vs. #10 Clayton Scroggs- Martinsville
      #5 Gunnar Larson- Avon vs. #17 Noah Grable- New Palestine
      #7 Seth Meyer- Harrison (West Lafayette) vs. #8 Evan Ellis- Eastern (Greentown)
      Number of Ranked Wrestlers Qualifying: 9
      Unranked qualifiers:
      Brendan Sutton- Jennings County
      Dax Hiestand- Yorktown
      Drew Cummings- Columbia City
      Drew Hobick- Zionsville
      Evan Beech- North Miami
      Jordan Shafer- Rochester
      Robert Samuels- Lawrence North
      First round match-ups of ranked wrestlers:
      #7 Quinn York- Franklin Community vs. #8 Jasion Brogan- Warren Central

      4734 1

      #WrestlingWednesday: Ethan Smiley has plenty to smile about

      Beech Grove’s Ethan Smiley isn’t big on talking about himself. After repeated questions for this article about his wrestling and other accomplishments, Smiley barely mustered a word. But, when the questions turned to his teammates or his family, he was much more talkative.
      “Ethan is very quiet,” Hornet coach Matt Irwin said. “He isn’t the first person you notice in the room. He’d be the last person you’d notice. He is humble and it’s hard to get him to brag on himself. That’s how he was raised. He knows how to act and how to carry himself in a good manner.”
      Even though he won’t do it, Smiley has plenty to brag about on the mat and in the classroom. The Beech Grove junior is currently ranked No. 8 at 132 pounds. He has qualified for state both of his previous seasons. Last year he earned a spot on the podium with an 8th-place finish at 120 pounds.
      Off the mat, Smiley is ranked No. 1 in his class.
      “He has a GPA of over 4.2,” Irwin said. “Everything he does, he does it with all his effort. He takes everything seriously. He is an extremely hard worker with a no nonsense approach. He wants to get in, get out and get things accomplished.”
      Ethan would like to place higher at the state level this year than he did last year. It is equally important to him to get a teammate to state this year as well.
      “My goal is just to be grateful for the opportunity to wrestle and be with my teammates,” Smiley said. “We are better than we have been the last few years. I really want to bring some teammates to state this year. We have some decent guys that have a chance. Bailey Moore, our 138 pounder, could have a very good season. He is one of my practice partners.”
      Ethan’s older brother, Evan, was a two-time state qualifier for the Hornets. He finished fourth at 145 pounds his senior season.
      “I started wrestling when I was four,” Ethan said. “My brother was wrestling and I wanted to do it too. He still drills with me when he gets a chance.”
      Currently Evan is wrestling at 141 pounds for the University of Indianapolis.
      “I think Ethan has really taken a lot from Evan’s work ethic,” Irwin said. “Their styles aren’t similar, except that they are both very heavy handed. But they are very big on hard work and not cutting corners.”
      Coach Irwin believes Ethan has the ability to contend for a state title on the mat. Irwin said that Ethan has put a lot of work in during the offseason. He has gotten stronger, really worked with his nutrition and has done all of the right things to put himself in a good position to make a run.
      Last season Ethan wrestled Dylan Culp four times during the state tournament. He lost in the sectional final to Culp 6-0, but then turned it around and beat Culp 4-2 in the regional final. Culp won the semistate championship match 4-2. The two met one more time, in the 7th and 8th place match in the state finals. Culp won that battle 5-4.
      “I think my biggest win last year was at regionals when I finally beat Dylan Culp,” Ethan said. “That was my most satisfying win. He had beaten me numerous times before, but that was the first time I finally beat him.”
      Ethan would like to wrestle in college, but he hasn’t put much thought into that. He’s hoping to go to Purdue and study plant science.
      “I’m really into botany and plant science,” Ethan said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with a Purdue professor and do science research. I’d like to work in agriculture and get a degree in plant science. That’s what I work toward.”
      Wrestling is Ethan’s only high school sport. When he was younger he tried his hand at baseball and golf, but didn’t pursue those sports in high school. He usually shoots in the 90s in golf, he said.
      Ethan also plays guitar a little and loves comic books, especially batman.
      Ethan is very family oriented. He enjoys hanging out with his brother, or his parents Phil and Christa. He also enjoys playing with his dog.
      “Overall, Ethan is pretty serious, but he can be a goofball at times,” Irwin said. “He cares about other people and he wants his teammates to be successful. That is extremely important to him.”


      Where are they now with Brad Traviola

      Wrestler’s Name: Brad Traviolia
      High School: Wawasee
      College: Northwestern University
      Talk a little about your high school wrestling experience:
      Coach Rich Welborn had developed Wawasee into a very respectable wrestling program by the time I reached high school. Our team annually had high expectations. I was part of a group of kids from our area that competed in freestyle competition throughout the spring and summer months from a fairly early age - which I believe was a first for Wawasee. This additional time spent wrestling paid off as Wawasee had a nice run of sectional and regional championships and several state place winners.
      What other sports did you play/enjoy in high school?
      Football. The Wawasee Warriors were state runners-up in Class 3A in 1985. This was the first year in which the state championship format included all teams. Our team was barely over .500 during the regular season but we got hot during the playoffs and made a run all the way to the state finals. It was great fun being part of that experience and playing in the Hoosier Dome.
      Memories of your state championship:
      I recall feeling a sense of relief more than anything else. I lost in the semi-finals as a junior and I put a lot of pressure on myself to finish my senior year on top. I think for any state champion the accomplishment serves as a validation of the time, effort and commitment put forth by that individual or team.
      Summer wrestling & summer camp experiences:
      As part of the Indiana junior freestyle team I attended a week-long training camp at Doug Blubaugh’s “Top of the World Camp” in Bloomington. My parents almost turned around and took me home after arriving and seeing dogs running all over the wrestling mats, the “swimming facility” (an overgrown pond), and several coaching staff members clearing land around the camp with heavy construction equipment in between wrestling sessions. I’m glad I stayed because I learned the front-headlock from one of the very best.
      College wrestling experiences:
      Northwestern was a great fit for me. The campus was close (3 hours drive) but not too close to home. My teammates became my extended family. The camaraderie among my teammates was so important because the hardest part about jumping from high school to college for me was adapting to the high level of competition every day in the practice room. Taking fourth place as a team at the 1990 NCAA Wrestling Championships was definitely the highlight.
      National & international experiences:
      While I competed in a few national freestyle tournaments I never really got into it. High school was great in that football served as a nice break from wrestling and vice versa. After my freshman year of college I didn’t want to see a wrestling mat for months.
      Favorite practice partner & why? (High school or college)
      I was fortunate to have great practice partners in both high school and college. At Wawasee I practiced every day with Lance Lantz who won a state championship at 167 lbs. our senior year. There is no substitute for facing top level competition every day. At Northwestern the talent level was incredible and being a middle weight I found it beneficial to practice with both smaller, quicker guys, as well as, heavier, stronger teammates so I could work on different parts of my style depending my opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
      Who was your toughest opponent and why?
      One of the toughest had to be David Lee of Wisconsin (1989 NCAA Champion at 167 lbs.). He was one of the few opponents that I don’t know whether I could have beaten even on a good day.
      Most memorable match?
      One match that I think about from time to time is an early round match against Marty Morgan of Minnesota at the 1989 NCAA Championships. This was the fourth time I wrestled Marty that year and he had won two of the previous three. I wrestled one of the best matches of my career this time and won our final bout decidedly. The ironic part about it, and probably the reason I think about the match occasionally, is that I lost my next two matches and came up just short of earning All-America honors. Marty went on to eventually earn 6th place while only losing to the same two individuals I did. He just met them later in the brackets because I won our match! So let that be a lesson for all of the youngsters out there - keep your intensity up at all times, especially after a big win!
      What were your main sources of motivation as a wrestler?
      I just wanted to be the best.
      What impact has wrestling had on your life?
      Like many people, sports provided me opportunities to learn from both my successes and failures. The incredible demands of wrestling are what helped me develop my work ethic and my ability to dedicate myself to a goal. Wrestling provided me an education and eventually employment as a coach at Northwestern. It absolutely opened the door for me to continue my career in college athletics.
      What are you duties with the Big Ten and NCAA?
      I’m the Deputy Commissioner of the Big Ten and serve as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the conference. My responsibilities include managing the day-to-day operations of the conference office.
      I also serve on the NCAA Wrestling Committee. The committee reviews the rules and policies that govern collegiate wrestling and can recommend changes that it feels are in the best interest of the sport.
      Where do you see college wrestling in 20 years?
      My optimistic outlook foresees the number of Division I programs staying around 85. I believe that we will continue to see a growth of programs at the Division II and Division III levels. It is my hope that the NCAA will eventually sanction a dual meet championship and that will help re-energize the regular season. If wrestling has a chance to reach a broader fan base it will be through the dual meet format.
      Views on class wrestling based on school enrollment (A big debate within the state of Indiana):
      I must admit that I carry a rather silly sense of additional pride knowing that I won a single-class state championship. A little bit of bragging rights when trash-talking with teammates from other states. However after having seen the benefits that a class system provides, both in promotional value for the sport and a better student-athlete experience, I can’t really argue against it.
      Any last words you would like wrestling fans of Indiana to know?
      It’s great to see more and more quality wrestlers coming out of the state.

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