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By JEREMY HINES
Indianapolis Cathedralâ€™s Blake Rypel is one of Indianaâ€™s most dominating forces on the wrestling mat. His name is recognized by just about everyone who cares even a little bit about the sport in the Hoosier state. Rypel wants more though â€“ he wants everyone in the country to know his name.
â€œI want to be one of the most recognizable names in college wrestling as well,â€ Rypel said. â€œI want to be a four-year contender for the National Championship.â€
Rypel, a senior at Cathedral, will wrestle next season for the Indiana Hoosiers. He currently is 34-0 this season and is riding an 80-match winning streak.
â€œBlake is the kind of wrestler that is tough to coach,â€ Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. â€œHe can do so many things that you really donâ€™t practice. You kind of let him go on that. Heâ€™s so good on the mat, heâ€™s teaching us in the room. Heâ€™s a very special wrestler.â€
Last season Rypel was the state champion at 195 pounds. This year, in order to benefit the Cathedral team, Rypel has cut down to 182 pounds.
â€œHereâ€™s a guy that is committed to IU,â€ McGinley said. â€œHeâ€™s a returning state champ. Heâ€™s ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds. But he decides to drop weight and go down to 182 for the betterment of the team. That right there tells you what kind of kid Blake is.â€
Rypelâ€™s decision to drop to 182 was for the benefit of the team, but it was also to help out his good friend Ben Stewart.
â€œBen is a football player,â€ Rypel said. â€œHe wants to play in college and he wants to be bulking up, not cutting weight. So I said I would go down to 182 so he didnâ€™t have to.â€
Stewart is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 195.
â€œIf Blake doesnâ€™t go down to 182, Ben doesnâ€™t wrestle,â€ McGinley said. â€œSo obviously his decision to drop has greatly helped our team.â€
Rypel finished seventh as a freshman at 160 pounds. He was second his sophomore season at 182 and he won last year at 195.
His freshman year was one of his most trying seasons because his father passed away unexpectedly a few weeks before the start of the season.
â€œThat was terrible,â€ Rypel said. â€œI used it as motivation though. I dedicated a lot of my wins to my dad. Every once in a while I start to dwell on his death, but I try not to.â€
Rypel comes from a basketball family. His dad, brother and sister were all basketball standouts. Ironically, Blake was introduced to wrestling through basketball.
â€œMy basketball coach at the time, I think it was around 2005 or 2006, had a son that wrestled and he told me that I might like it,â€ Rypel said. â€œThe first year I thought wrestling was OK, but in the second year I really started winning and fell in love with the sport.â€
Rypel is already focused on his college wrestling. He has dreamed of going to Indiana University ever since he was little, and he canâ€™t wait to put on that Hoosier singlet.
â€œEvery college I visited was pretty cool,â€ Rypel said. â€œBut I already knew everyone on IUâ€™s team. I have been a Hoosier fan all of my life. I never thought that one day Iâ€™d be good enough to wrestle for them.â€
McGinley believes Rypel will have a lot of success in college because he is a dominating wrestler on top, which suits the college style.
As far as finishing his high school career, he said anything less than a state championship would be a disappointment.
Rypel won the Lawrence Central sectional last week, beating No. 3 ranked Cameron Jones 8-6 in the final.
He hopes Cathedral can also claim the team state championship. The Irish have seven ranked wrestlers still competing: Lukasz Waldensak (No. 13, 106), Jordan Slivka (No. 12, 113), Breyden Bailey (No. 2, 126), Zach Melloh (No. 6, 132), Rypel (No. 1, 182), Stewart (No. 2, 195) and Ryan Guhl (No. 9, 220).
â€œI really believe we have some of the strongest wrestlers in the state,â€ Rypel said. â€œAs long as our guys can place, we have a real good shot at winning.â€