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  • #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Multiplicity of moves favors East Noble senior grappler Sprague

    By Y2CJ41
    Published in 

    By STEVE KRAH
    stvkrh905@gmail.com

    It may not be for everyone, but the way Aidan Sprague approaches wrestling has been good for him.
    “I’m pretty funky and I move on my feet,” says Sprague, an East Noble High School senior. “I’m not the strongest one out there, but I can use my technique and that works in my favor.”
    During Sprague’s prep career, the Knights’ postseason path has gone through the Westview Sectional (2019, 2020 and 2021) and West Noble Sectional (2022), Goshen Regional and Fort Wayne Semistate.
    As a 106-pound freshmen in 2019, Sprague placed second at sectional and regional, fourth at semistate and was a State Finals qualifier.
    As a 113-pound sophomore in 2020, Sprague was a sectional regional champion, semistate runner-up and placed sixth at State.
    As a 120-pound junior in 2021, Sprague took sectional, regional and semistate titles and placed sixth at State.
    As a 126-pound senior, Sprague heads into the 2022 Fort Wayne Semistate at 35-0 with sectional and regional titles to his credit.
    Sam Riesen is in his fourth season as head coach at East Noble after 10 years in charge at Churubusuco High School.
    Sprague, a University of Indianapolis commit, tries to follow the coaching staff’s directive during his matches.
    “I really cut a lot of people and they just want me to look as sharp as I possibly can on my feet,” says Sprague. “I get most of my tech falls like 20-5.
    “They want me to get as many takedowns as I can. I love it because I have a good mindset about it. It gets me in better shape. I’m drilling different types of takedowns almost like it’s like a practice.”
    How many takedowns are in Sprague’s bag of tricks?
    “I do five or six consistently,” says Sprague. “Then I’ll throw some tricky ones out there every once in a while.
    “It’s important to have a lot of stuff. When you only have one or two good things you become one-dimensional. That’s really when people can game plan against you. If everybody knows I have a good dump, they’re not going to let me tie up.
    “It’s so much harder to wrestle someone if they have multiple good moves.”
    Sprague grew up in Kendallville and began wrestling in the sixth grade. When he did not place in the middle school conference meet as a sixth or seventh grader, he spoke with his father Adam about becoming more serious about the sport and put basketball aside.
    As an eighth grader, he was a conference champion and a state qualifier.
    “Aidan is just an extremely focused, driven kid,” says Riesen. “He sets his mind to a goal and really gives everything he can to accomplish it.”
    Sprague plans to study Social Studies at UIndy with plans on being a teacher and coach.
    “It’s awesome to see a young guy going into education at a time where you don’t see colleges filled with people graduating with degrees in teaching,” says Riesen. “It’s exciting to see that.
    “He and his brother have super-supportive parents (in Adam and Susan Sprague, who both teach in the West Noble system).”
    Aidan Sprague is a three-sport athlete — outside linebacker and team captain in football, wrestling and pole vaulter with a personal best of 12-foot-6 on the track and field team.
    Alex Sprague is a 170-pound freshman wrestler and is also in band.
    “His parents are running them all over,” says Riesen. “They find the time to get them to wrestling practices all over the area during the off-season.
    “They go that extra mile to make sure he gets everything he needs.”
    Aidan has traveled to Indianapolis Cathedral to train with the Outlaws.
    While Riesen doesn’t name captains, Sprague has essentially filled that role.
    “He’s a natural leader,” says Riesen. “The team has followed him in a lot of ways — like in terms of attitude. He’s a light-hearted kid but he gets focused when he needs to. That really rubs off on the team.”
    “He’s pretty special in the fact that he doesn’t just have one go-to move. He’s constantly scoring and looking at different techniques and takedowns.
    “In practice, he’s just always innovating and trying new things.”
    East Noble assistant coach Austin Moore, a State Finals qualifier at Central Noble in 2017 and 2018, is a frequent workout partner for Sprague.
    “They do a lot of play wrestling, water wrestling — whatever you want to call it,” said Riesen. “They wrestle through and find different positions.
    “There’s really a lot of spots where he’s pretty comfortable.”
    Aidan Sprague is a three-sport athlete (outside linebacker and team captain in football, wrestling and pole vaulter with a personal best of 12-foot-6 on the track and field team.
    Alex Sprague is a wrestler and is also in the school band.
    “His parents are running them all over,” says Riesen. “They find the time to get them to wrestling practices all over the area during the off-season.
    “They go that extra mile to make sure he gets everything he needs.”
    Aidan has traveled to Indianapolis Cathedral to train with the Outlaws.
    While Riesen doesn’t name captains, Sprague has essentially filled that role.
    “He’s a natural leader,” says Riesen. “The team has followed him in a lot of ways — like in terms of attitude. He’s a light-hearted kid but he gets focused when he needs to. That really rubs off on the team.”
    “He’s pretty special in the fact that he doesn’t just have one go-to move. He’s constantly scoring and looking at different techniques and takedowns.
    “In practice, he’s just always innovating and trying new things.”
    East Noble assistant Austin Moore, a State Finals qualifier at Central Noble in 2017 and 2018, is a frequent workout partner for Sprague.
    “They do a lot of play wrestling, water wrestling — whatever you want to call it,” said Riesen. “They wrestle through and find different positions. There’s really a lot of spots where he’s pretty comfortable.”
    “His freshmen year we butted heads a little and had some debates on which way he should go in terms of being more funky or more traditional.”
    As Sprague has progressed and enjoyed success, the coaching staff has resisted pigeon-holing the wrestler and let do what feels and works best for him.
    Riesen says the first eight minutes of practice are devoted to “roll around” — which allows the athletes to try different positions and finishes and figuring out how to get out of certain spots.
    “I think it really has helped a lot of our kids,” says Riesen. “One thing we do really well as a staff is allow kids to explore different wrestling positions and options and figure out what works for them.”
    Popular among other wrestlers, Sprague has been called “The People’s Champion.”
    “He’s a great kid beyond being an obviously very talented wrestler,” says Riesen. “He’s been an awesome kid to have these last four years.”

     



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