#WrestlingWednesday: Perry Meridian Loading Up for a Deep Run
By JEREMY HINES
Last season Perry Meridian advanced 14 wrestlers out of sectional with 11 champions. They finished 13th in the state â€“ and that leaves a terrible taste in their mouths.
â€œWe werenâ€™t pleased at all with our finish last year,â€ said Falconâ€™s head coach Matt Schoettle. â€œWe really felt like we should have been a top 5 team. We had some guys that should have made it to state that didnâ€™t.â€
Last year was Schoettleâ€™s first year as head coach for Perry Meridian. He had been an assistant coach for 18 years under Jim Tonte, who took the job at Warren Central. Tonteâ€™s Warriors won state in his first year at the helm.
â€œI learned everything from coach Tonte,â€ Schoettle said. â€œHe has three state titles at Perry Meridian and then another one now at Warren Central. I learned dedication and commitment from him and how hard you have to work to get what you want.â€
This yearâ€™s Falcon squad is poised to make a run for the team title. The team returns state placers Sammy Fair (5th at 106) and Noah Warren (7th at 160). Fair is a sophomore and Warren is a junior this season.
â€œSammy is an awesome kid,â€ Schoettle said. â€œHe will run through a brick wall for you. Heâ€™s a great student, a hard worker and every year he wins our extra workout award because he doesnâ€™t quit. I look for very good things out of him this season.â€
As for Warren, Schoettle believes he has a real shot of winning a title this season.
â€œNoah is kind of a clown on the team,â€ Schoettle said. â€œIâ€™m an intense guy and he knows how to lighten the mood. His dad is my middle school coach. He works hard, doesnâ€™t get in trouble but he knows how to make people around him have fun. Heâ€™s a great leader and he had an outstanding summer.â€
The Falcons graduated three state qualifiers. Brett Johnson finished 3rd at 152. Daniel Brookbank was 7th at 132 and Chris Ridle was a state qualifier at heavyweight. But, as it have done so often in the past, Perry Meridian believes they have athletes to step up and get the team to that next level.
â€œI have three or four guys that were semistate guys last year that I think have state place-winner kind of talent,â€ Schoettle said. â€œSunny Nier will be either 120 or 126. Kain Rust will go 138 or 145. Kain has multiple ISWA state titles and he could have a really good year. Jack Serview and Christian Warren could also get to state this year.â€
Incoming freshmen Brayden Littel and Brayden Lowery are also expected to have good seasons for the Falcons.
The team has a lot of depth this season. Tuesday they held an intersquad match and there was a lot of competition at each weight class. There were 12 guys in the 138 bracket alone.
â€œI told them that this bracket might be tougher than our first few tourneys,â€ Schoettle said.
Perry Meridianâ€™s goals are lofty. They want to win the dual team state title and the regular team state title.
â€œWe talk about it every day,â€ Schoettle said. â€œWe have the team that can compete. We have to stay healthy, keep guys fresh and continue to work on improving and conditioning. As with any team, we will also need to get a few breaks. There are a lot of good teams out there this year, but we know we can compete with any of them.â€