By JEREMY HINES
Last year, when J.D. Farrell was a junior at Fishers High School, he saw that a German foreign exchange student was struggling understanding her math assignments and he knew he had to help her.
“She was struggling with translating her math work and I helped her,” Farrell said. “She didn’t have many friends and I wanted to be there for her to help with that as well.”
That’s what Farrell does. He helps others. He helps his teammates in wrestling understand how to do certain moves. He helps them know what it takes to be successful on the mat.
He also takes a certified nursing assistant (CNA) class and frequently goes to nursing homes to help the elderly. One day he plans to go into the medical field.
“I see people that maybe are struggling, or are less fortunate, and I want to help them any way I can,” Farrell said. “In the wrestling room I don’t just want to improve myself, I want to make everyone better. Outside of wrestling I see others struggle and I feel I’m called to help them. My heart pulls me toward them. God put those people in my life for a reason.”
As nice, polite and helpful as Farrell is off the mat – don’t expect mercy from him on it. He is currently 29-1 this season and ranked No. 4 at 195 pounds. His lone loss came at the hands of returning state champion Silas Allred. Last season he qualified for the state tourney but lost a hard-fought match in the opening session and didn’t place.
“I use my length to my advantage,” Farrell said. “I’m very offensive with my attacks. I look at my opponent’s attacks and plan to not give up anything to them. My goal is to not give anything to my opponent or ever let the ref decide the outcome of a close match.”
Allred, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the class, feeds through the same New Castle semistate as Farrell. Before the season Farrell had the choice of going up a weight to avoid Silas, but that’s not what he wanted to do.
“I see Silas as an opportunity,” Farrell said. “If I see him in semistate, I wouldn’t have to face him early in the state tournament. He is very technical and a great wrestler. When I wrestled him earlier this season, I was not satisfied with how I did. I got to know him pretty well at CIA and he’s a great guy.”
Farrell is a third-generation wrestler. His grandfather wrestled and loved the sport. His dad, Brent finished second in the state during his high school career and his uncle, Brad, was a fifth-place finisher.
“Wrestling is in my family,” Farrell said. “My grandpa liked wrestling a lot and then my uncle and dad started and they saw a lot of success. My brother, Crew Farrell, is in middle school and he’s kicking butt right now.”
Fishers’ coach Frank Ingalls sees Farrell wrestling under the lights in the state finals.
“I’m expecting him to make it to the championship match,” Ingalls said. “He’s 29-1 right now with something like 22 falls. When we need him to bump up to 220, he still gets the job done and usually gets us six point.
“J.D. is a good Christian kid. He’s good in school. He’s a good leader. He does everything you ask him to do and he works hard in the offseason as well.”
During the offseason Farrell wrestled in many big tournaments, but he didn’t go to the Super 32. Instead, he hopped on a plane and traveled to Germany. As it turns out, Farrell finally got the nerve to ask that girl who was struggling with her math homework to be his girlfriend. He asked her toward the end of her stay in America, and she said yes.
“The long-distance relationship is tough,” Farrell said. “But I was glad I missed the Super 32 to go see her. It gave me the break I needed in wrestling, because I had been pushing so hard. When I came back I was ready to get back at it.”
Now, like so many other high school athletes, Farrell has his goal set at making it to the state finals.
“I have gone to the finals with my dad for as long as I can remember, and now I want to close my high school career out by wrestling there myself,” he said.