By JEREMY HINES
Guerin Catholic has had a wrestling program for 15 years. Senior Jeff Dunasky is hoping to finally give the program its first state qualifier.
Dunasky has already accomplished many firsts for the Golden Eagles. He’s the first sectional champion the school has had in wrestling. He’s the first two-time sectional champion. He’s the first Circle City Conference champion. But, being the first state qualifier would be the icing on the cake for the Guerin senior.
“I want to do something nobody else has ever done from our school,” Dunasky said. “It would mean so much to me. It would be the reward for all the hard work I’ve put in. All the weight cutting. All the grinding out of hard tournaments. But it wouldn’t just be for me. It would be an accomplishment for my coaches and my practice partners as well. It would be something for the whole school.”
Last season Dunasky fell just short of earning a trip to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse for the state finals. He lost in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate to Warren Central’s Antwaun Graves.
“Last year when Jeff lost in the ticket round, the next Monday he was back in the room hungry to get better,” Guerin coach Andrew Fleenor said. “We watched the state finals the next week and then he wrestled at the Indy Nationals that next weekend. He went everywhere during the offseason. He made Team Indiana. He went to Fargo. He did the Disney Duals. He wrestled several places with the Indiana Outlaws. We were in Brownsburg’s room quite a bit. He trained a lot at Carmel USA with Coach Pendoski. He pushed himself to get better.”
On the mat Dunasky likes to push the pace. He is a takedown artist and has great conditioning. That has helped him climb to the No. 9 spot in the 145 rankings this season.
“He’s quick,” Fleenor said. “He pushes the pace. He has over 500 takedowns in four years. He’s really good on his feet.”
Dunasky agrees with his coach’s assessment.
“I would describe myself as fast-paced and a little bit funky,” Dunasky said. “I am comfortable in awkward situations and I like to use that to my advantage. I go hard and enjoy pushing the pace.”
Dunasky’s favorite wrestling moment in his career so far was winning his first sectional title two years ago.
“That was our school’s first sectional title,” Dunasky said. “It was a big moment for us. It was very memorable. I had people in the school and in the community congratulating me and saying they were proud of me. That really fired me up to get better. I feel like positive reinforcement leads to positive results. That’s why I really started pushing myself even harder.”
In the wrestling room Dunasky often times acts as another coach in the room, helping the younger wrestlers understand moves and wrestling philosophy.
“He definitely fills the leadership role on our team,” Fleenor said. “It’s like having another coach in the room. The team follows his lead, for sure. Without a doubt he sets the tone for our team.”
In addition to chasing the dream of being a state qualifier, Dunasky wants to leave his legacy at Guerin Catholic. He says his faith is the most important thing, but he also wants people to know that hard work can pay off.
“Jeff will be the most decorated wrestler to ever come through our program,” Fleenor said. “He will leave a legacy that other kids will strive for. He’s 114-32. He’s a two-time section champ, three time regional qualifier, two-time semistate qualifier. He won the Mooresville Holiday tournament twice. He’s our first ever conference champion and he won the Robert Porter Invite in Chicago this year.”
Off the mat Dunasky likes to dabble in many things. He enjoys playing video games, rock climbing and even ice skating.
“There are a lot of things to life outside of wrestling and I like to explore all those things,” he said.
When it comes to his future, he plans on going to college although he’s not certain if he will wrestle or not. He does want to stay involved in the sport. Like is the case with his hobbies, he also has several interests for his possible career. He has considered agriculture, criminal law or even something in technology.
“I have a lot of interests and it’s really hard to narrow those down.