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  • King sees Oak Hill earn its first semistate mat crown

    By Y2CJ41
    Published in 

    Andrew King has seen plenty in his 35 years a wrestling coach at Oak Hill High School.
     

    Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Famer King has enjoyed more than 450 dual-meet victories and lots of in-season and postseason championships.
     

    But the 1981 Oak Hill and 1985 DePauw University graduate had never seen the Eagles celebrate an IHSAA semistate team title until Saturday, Feb. 13 at Memorial Coliseum.
     

    “The pieces all fell together,” said King moments after his team hoisted the trophy. “It’s a great feeling for Oak Hill.
     

    “Most people don’t know where Oak Hill is.”
     

    The Grant County school of about 520 students is located in Converse, Ind.
     

    Oak Hill’s first semistate crown came on the day the Eagles had two individual semistate winners — 152-pound senior Aidan Hardcastle and 138-pound junior Brody Arthur — for the first time.
    Hardcastle (36-0 on the 2020-21 season) pinned South Adams junior A.J. Dull in 5:26, bested Huntington North senior Julian Fletcher by 13-2 major decision and edged Adams Central junior Alex Currie 2-1 before besting Carroll senior Evan Ulrick 5-2 in the finals.
     

    Arthur (38-1) scored four pins for his semistate championship — Carroll junior Jared Landez in 3:13, Lakeland junior Ben Miller in 2:11, Columbia City senior Jarrett Forrester in 2:58 prior to Daleville junior Julius Gerencser in 1:38 in the finals.
     

    Seniors Jett Thompson (second at 182) and Harper Dedman (fourth at 126) were also placers for Oak Hill. Thompson goes to Indy at 34-4 while Dedman is 27-4.
     

    Senior Julian Perez (120) and Freshman Tyson Kendall (106) also represented the Eagles at semistate.
     

    The top four in each weight division advanced to the first round of the State Finals Friday, Feb. 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
     

    King talked about all the time put in my his wrestlers and their parents, grandparents and siblings.
     

    “That’s why makes a great wrestling program — the families that are involved,” said King. “It’s a family affair.
     

    “I”m proud to be a part of it. That’s all I am — a part of it — and everybody plays a part.”
     

    With 76.5 points, Oak Hill finished ahead of Western (67.5), Northridge (64.5), Fort Wayne Carroll (63) and the rest of the field.
     

    During all his years of coming to the semistate, King has seen the larger schools earn team titles.
     

    “I like to say that wrestling is classless,” said King. “Whether you’re a big or a little school, we’re all in the same boat.”
     

    In 2020-21, Oak Hill, Western and Kokomo finished 1-2-3 at the Oak Hill Sectional. Western, Wabash and Oak Hill took the top three spots at the Maconaquah Regional.
     

    “We love to hate Western and Western loves to hate us,” said King. “We thrive on it. Steels sharpens steel.”
     

    Like everyone in the athletic world, Oak Hill has had to deal with COVID-19 issues this season.
     

    “I’m a lay coach so when I come to school I have an open mind,” said King. “I’m not going to get mad about it. I deal with it as it is.
     

    “I walk into the school and see my athletic director (Ryan Fagan) coming down the hallway and I cringe because he’s going to tell me which two, three or four kids are now out of for the next 10 days because of social distancing. You just do what you can each day. We’ve had our challenges with that. but our kids have been really good.”
     

    Oak Hill has been extra-diligent about keeping the wrestling practice room clean.
     

    “We’ve gone overboard spraying down the room before practice after practice and in-between practice,” said King. “You can only have one practice partner, you can’t have three, four or five (because of contact-tracing protocols).
     

    “We have to keep doing what we’re doing.”



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    Coach King is a class act.   He is definitely someone young coaches should aspire to be.  I catch myself watching him and listening to him when he's in a wrestlers corner just to see if I can learn something!!  

     

    I'm very happy for you and your team sir!  

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    Congratulations Coach King and to the Oak Hill wrestling team. I can't think of a more deserving coach. You, your assistant coaches, your wrestlers and their parents have worked hard for this accomplishment.  Take time to enjoy it and best of luck next weekend Coach.     -- Trent

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    Heck I know where  Oak Hill is, Thats where Monte Towe went to High School and went on to Beat UCLA in the 1974 NCAA basketball championsip game, Coach Norm Sloan coached Tom Burlison 7'4" center and Monte 5'4" guard at NC State.

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    Arthur looked amazing Saturday.  Made a few outstanding wrestlers look subpar, which they are not!

     

    Just curious, what middle schools feed into that high school and how are they looking?  Is Oak Hill going to keep reloading or are they going to be like Southern Wells (state placers one year, then nobody after they graduate)?

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    1 minute ago, AdamsCoBuschhh said:

    Arthur looked amazing Saturday.  Made a few outstanding wrestlers look subpar, which they are not!

     

    Just curious, what middle schools feed into that high school and how are they looking?  Is Oak Hill going to keep reloading or are they going to be like Southern Wells (state placers one year, then nobody after they graduate)?

    We only have one middle school being Oak Hill Junior High. We hope to keep reloading. The past three years we have sent 10 state qualifiers and won 3 medals. We also have had a feeder program for the past 15 years as well. So no I didn’t think we will end up like Southern Wells.

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    24 minutes ago, bigballerb said:

    We only have one middle school being Oak Hill Junior High. We hope to keep reloading. The past three years we have sent 10 state qualifiers and won 3 medals. We also have had a feeder program for the past 15 years as well. So no I didn’t think we will end up like Southern Wells.

     

    Glad to hear.  I watched those Southern Wells kids since they had velcro wrestling shoes.  Everyone knew as soon as they graduated it would get thin fast.  It's great to see  schools from our area compete in the state tourney.  Good luck next weekend and in the future.

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    2 minutes ago, AdamsCoBuschhh said:

     

    Glad to hear.  I watched those Southern Wells kids since they had velcro wrestling shoes.  Everyone knew as soon as they graduated it would get thin fast.  It's great to see  schools from our area compete in the state tourney.  Good luck next weekend and in the future.

    Yes I agree, love seeing the Ft.Wayne Semi State succeed no matter the school.Its the best time of the year! Thank you!

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    Coach King is a great human being, and I learned as much about life as I did wrestling competing for him,  He was always the guy who taught you to take the hard right instead of the easy wrong. Always there to pump you up for a tough match, as well as pick you up after a bad loss. His positive influence outside the wrestling room with his student athletes cannot be overstated. His contributions to the sport over the past 37 years I hope put him in contention for Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is deserving.  I could not be more happy for Andrew & the team. Good luck.

     

    Sincerely

    Dustin Wilson

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