#WrestlingWednesday Feature: Blast from the Past with Randy May
Brought to you by EI Sports
By JEREMY HINES
Randy Mayâ€™s name deserves to be in the mix when talking about Indianaâ€™s all-time best wrestlers.
May went undefeated as a sophomore, junior and senior at Bloomington South High School in the 1974-76 seasons. He won three state championships during that span.
Perhaps the only thing keeping him off the podium his freshman season was that he was too small (he weighed right at 84 pounds), and he was behind the brother of three-time state champion Jim Cornwell for a spot in the varsity lineup.
â€œI was just too little to make the varsity team,â€ May said. â€œMy coach, Kay Hutsell, had already won four state championships as a coach. Bloomington had a tradition back then like Evansville Mater Dei does now. And it was almost as hard to crack our varsity lineup as it was to win a state title.â€
Hutsell had coached Bloomington to team state championships in 1969, 70, 71 and 72. During that span Bloomington had seven individual champions.
In 1973 Bloomington split into Bloomington North and Bloomington South. Hutsell became Bloominigton Southâ€™s coach, and led them to another state championship in the 1973 season.
That season May lost just one time in the reserve matches â€“ to a varsity junior from Owen Valley.
â€œI got beat by him,â€ May said. â€œIt was a good match. He ended up being one win away from going to the state tournament.â€
May hurt his back his freshman year and coach Hutsell sent him to help coach the feeder system at Smithville Middle School.
â€œI was mad,â€ May said. â€œI wanted to be with the team. I had so much energy for the sport. Eventually coach let me travel with the team on dual meets. That was a privilege. I got to be on the team bus with everyone and I was sort of brought up under their wings. I was with guys like Marty Hutsell and Doug Hutsell (both were two-time state champs).â€
May knows living in Bloomington when he did was the best possible place for him to grow as a wrestler. He vividly remembers being allowed to go to Indiana University during their clinics and camps.
â€œI had great coaching,â€ May said. â€œEveryone thought I would one day go to IU. I was able to go there anytime I wanted and I was able to wrestle kids from all over the country that came in for the clinics and the camps.
â€œIn 1975-76 money was very tight and there was a gas shortage. Iâ€™d drive to IU after I got off of work and Iâ€™d go to one of the wrestling clinics where kids would stay for the whole week from across the country. You would get a new batch of kids each week.â€
May would bet the kids that he could take them down. If he took them down, they had to pay him a dime. If they took him down, he would pay a dollar.
â€œI took all their candy money,â€ May said. â€œThat always paid for my gas.â€
May dominated his foes on the mat during the high school season much like he did at the clinics. He never lost a varsity match.
After high school he chose to wrestle at Cleveland State University, which at the time was a national top 20 program.
â€œI had dreams of being a four-time National champion,â€ May said. â€œI had my whole future mapped out. I wanted to be an Olympian and then I wanted to coach wrestling.â€
Things didnâ€™t work out as May had planned. He developed a debilitating disease that changed his life course and took him away from wrestling. He was only able to wrestle one college match.
â€œThe disease shuts down the central nervous system,â€ May said. â€œIt can kill you. But I worked my ass off. They told me I should have been on bed rest, but I didnâ€™t stop working. When I couldnâ€™t stand, Iâ€™d pull myself up. I still went to practice every day.â€
May eventually realized his wrestling career would have to be over.
â€œI was walking with the aid of a cane at the time,â€ May said. â€œI was struggling with guys that I knew I should have been able to kick their ass. I wrestled one match against a four-time state champion from West Virginia. He took me down and I said, â€˜you have got to be kidding meâ€™. I came back and tied the match and won on riding time. But I knew I wasnâ€™t myself anymore. I knew wrestling was over for me.â€
May had to refocus his life goals, and his career. He didnâ€™t want to coach the sport he could no longer participate in. He now runs a business in underground utilities and lives in Florida.
His son, Randy Jr., took up wrestling in high school and quickly found success.
â€œHe was a natural and I loved watching him,â€ May said. â€œHe took fourth in state his junior year and as a senior he was ranked No. 1 and got very sick and ended up finishing sixth. He won over 100 matches and I was at his practices every day. The team won state his senior year and I was able to travel with the guys.â€
Six years ago, Randy Jr., passed away.
May has suffered more than most his age. But he remains positive. He credits his outlook on life on his upbringing.
â€œI was brought up with a good work ethic,â€ May said. â€œWe had tasks and chores. My parents wanted them done right. Iâ€™d complain, but then I realized if I worked hard and did them right the first time, with a good attitude, I was going to get a reward. I could go play in the woods or go swimming.
â€œI guess I carried that attitude over into life. I always try to have a good work ethic and a positive attitude. That will make you successful in anything you do.â€