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    College Rundown – NWCA National Duals Edition

    By Blaze Lowery
     NWCA National Duals Recap --

    The NAIA #7 Marian Knights achieved a historic victory by defeating #5 Indiana Tech for the first time in program history during the NWCA National Duals, with a final score of 21-18. Despite forfeiting at the 149lbs weight class, the Knights were able to secure a win due to Aundre Beatty’s sudden victory at 141lbs over Kyle Kantola. Additionally, the absence of Gimson resulted in Mulkey securing a win over Elijah Anthony which is usually a match the Warriors can count on.
    Marian Box Scores:
    #7 Marian defeated #9 Campbellsville 30-9 
    #3 Southeastern defeated #7 Marian (IN) 21-13 
    #7 Marian defeated #16 Baker (Kan.) 46-5
    #7 Marian defeated #14 Morningside 34-4
    #7 Marian defeated #5 Indiana Tech 21-18
    Indiana Tech Box Scores:
    #5 Indiana Tech defeated #16 Baker (Kan.) 43-5
    #4 Doane defeated #5 Indiana Tech 19-13 
    #5 Indiana Tech defeated #12 Reinhardt (GA) 30-12
    #7 Marian defeated #5 Indiana Tech 21-18 
    The DII #12 ranked Indianapolis Greyhounds secured a commendable 7th place finish at the NWCA National Duals, with a noteworthy victory over the highly ranked #2 Nebraska-Kearney. The match was decided through criteria, with Logan Bailey delivering a decisive pin to secure the win for the Greyhounds. Additionally, during their dual against Central Oklahoma, #11 Derek Blubaugh was able to exact revenge from his loss at last year's National Finals against #1 Dalton Abney in sudden victory. Even with Breyden Bailey and Jack Eiteljorge getting upsets over the Lucas brothers, it was not enough to make an impact over the Bronchos. Cale Gray also seals a dual with a 24 second pin during the Indianapolis – Gannon dual with a final score of 21 – 19.
    Indianapolis Box Score:
    #12 Indianapolis defeated #14 Gannon 21-19
    #1 Central Oklahoma defeated #12 Indianapolis 25-9
    #12 Indianapolis defeated Newberry 23-15
    #5 Lander defeated #12 Indianapolis 21-18
    #12 Indianapolis defeated #2 Nebraska-Kearney 20-19
    Upsets on Upsets
    IU pushes themselves to #17 in the country with win over #16 Maryland earlier this week by tie-breaking criteria (17-16) with #33 Graham Rooks securing a nice win over #22 Ethen Miller.
    The Hoosiers also get it done with a win over the new #16 Rutgers at home with a final score of 24 – 16. Indiana matched up well against the Scarlet Knights and make it hard for their front three to pick up any bonus. Surprisingly, Nick South was down at 165lbs after wresting 184 earlier this week and ended up finding 6 points with a pin early in the third period. With South, Washington, and Bullock picking up bonus, Rutgers stood no chance in the end.
    With their only dual loss being Ohio State, the Hoosiers continue to knock teams out of the rankings.

    Feature Articles
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    #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: It’s all about family for Smith/Banks bunch, Plymouth Rockies

    It’s a word that appears on T-shirts.
    Teams shout it as they break huddles.
    It’s a closeness and a bond they’re building as they work together.
    Plymouth High School head wrestling coach Travis Smith has taken his blended brood of a wife, four boys and a girl and added the members of the Rockies program.
    “We’re like a big family,” says Travis. “I don’t know how many kids stay at my house on a regular basis.
    “I’ve raised my sons to be very loyal to each other. We don’t fight and bicker as a family. I discipline as needed. They don’t argue with each other. I don’t allow that.
    “Because of the family environment we’ve had the privilege of being involved in together we welcome everybody else.”
    It’s a welcoming atmosphere.
    “We draw people to us as a family,” says Travis. “That’s why kids want to be around because of security, safety and they know they can trust us.
    “We’re going to ride and die with them everyday.”
    After a few years as a volunteer under Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bob Read, Smith took over and 2022-23 is his third season in charge at Plymouth.
    Travis is married to Cortney Smith.
    “She’s the glue,” says her husband.
    Their family includes Gavin Banks (22), Dominic Smith (19), Caydn Smith (16), Wesley Smith (16) and Angel Smith (13).
    Gavin Banks (Class of 2018) and Dominic Smith (Class of 2021) are former Plymouth wrestlers, Rockies assistant coaches and Lincoln Junior High head coach and assistant respectively.
    Caydn Smith (152 pounds) and Wesley Smith (145) are juniors on the PHS squad.
    Angel Smith is an eighth grader who will help launch girls high school wrestling at Plymouth in 2023-24.
    Caydn and Wesley appreciate the close atmosphere of Plymouth wrestling.
    Says Caydn, “We try to create strong bonds with everybody on the team.”
    Says Wesley, “We all motivate each other. Nobody (outside the team) really sees that side and what we have to do to prepare for matches. Having those guys in the room are big supporters.”
    Travis Smith started at Valparaiso High School and finished at North Judson-San Pierre Junior/Senior High School, grappling for the Bluejays and graduating in 2001.
    “I was mediocre in school,” says Travis. “When I became a grown man and started training for (Mixed Martial Arts) and Jiu-Jitsu I got the opportunity to train with a lot of good wrestlers. That’s how I ended up being able to pass that on.”
    The owner of Hybrid Combat Club — an MMA gym in Plymouth that teaches Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai and houses the Hybrid Wrestling Club — has witnessed a mat progression in his family.
    “Gavin was the rough draft,” says Travis of the son he adopted when the boy was very young. “Gavin and Dominic didn’t get the resources that Caydn, Wesley and Angel have.
    “(Caydn and Wesley) have been able to piggyback off the mistakes we made coming up together. I didn’t have a lot of experience when I was younger so I had to grow with them as a coach.”
    With 85, Banks is in the top 10 on the Rockies all-time career wins list.
    “My dad and I watched a lot of YouTube and I wrestled a lot of club matches,” says Gavin of his experience in learning the sport. “A lot of it came from at-home work.”
    Gavin assesses his younger brothers.
    “Wesley and Caydn are very knowledgeable, technical wrestlers,” says Gavin. “Wesley is more savvy when it comes to wrestling. He’s stingy and hard to score on. Caydn is a strong, athletic kid who can do a lot.”
    Gavin says having a large arsenal is helpful, but the successful wrestlers have go-to moves.
    “Being great at a few things is much better (than being OK at many),” says Gavin.
    Dominic has learned that the fluidity of Jiu-Jitsu moves translate well to wrestling.
    A club, junior high and high school wrestler at Plymouth, Dominic had Read as head coach his first three seasons and his dad took over his senior year.
    It was his “one-more mentality” that Dominic appreciated about Read.
    “Uno Mas. He said it all the time,” says Dominic. “You’ve always got one more.”
    He says it was a dream to wrestle for his father.
    “He’s a great coach,” says Dominic.
    He recalls Gavin as a wrestler.
    “The big thing that everybody remembers is how natural he was,” says Dominic. “He was always so calm. He never had a worry in the world. He was always ready. We was never going to quit.
    “He was always present in a match.”
    Dominic says each brother has wrestled with this own style.
    “Caydn’s a very, very nasty wrestler,” says Dominic. “He doesn’t care who you are he’s going to press you. Overall, the kid is just mean.
    “Wesley is a very, very technical wrestler. He’s always in good position. He’s always ready for anything coming at him.”
    Caydn describes his strengths as a wrestler.
    “I can just go,” says Caydn. “My cardio is really solid.”
    Caydn subscribes to the idea of less is more.
    “Perfect a few moves and stick to those,” says Caydn. “Just find different ways to hit those moves.”
    Wesley talks about his stinginess and mat approach.
    “I don’t give up a lot of points,” says Wesley. “I don’t give up on my position. Some kids don’t know when to bail and when to fight for position.”
    Angel started grappling about the time she started school.
    “I was born into wrestling and I was always at tournaments with my brothers so I thought I should try it,” says Angel. “I started when I was very young and I’m glad I did because it progressively did get harder.
    “My brothers are very good at teaching a bunch of stuff on my feet. Wesley’s very technical on his feet. A lot of stuff that I do I’ve implemented from Wesley.”
    Angel takes the quote “Don’t Quit - if you re already in pain, already hurt — get a reward” and uses it to drive her.
    “I’ve always thought of that during very tough matches,” says Angel. “When I’m beat up and I feel broke. Getting a reward after that is the greatest feeling.”
    Mishawaka’s 32-team Al Smith Classic which concluded on Dec. 30 saw Plymouth junior Anthony Popi (285) come in second. Wesley Smith placed third at 145 and Caydn Smith lost in the “ticket” round at 152.
    In the Northern Lakes Conference meet Saturday, Jan. 14 at Goshen, top Rockies placers were Wesley Smith (36-1) first at 145, Popi (34-2) at 285, Caydn Smith (30-6) second at 160, sophomore Christopher Firebaugh (26-10) third 132, junior Alonzo Chantea (21-8) fourth 113, junior Seth Wright (22-8) fourth 138 and senior Matthew McCrum (22-9) fourth at 182.
    The Rockies host the Plymouth Sectional Jan. 28. The IHSAA tournament continues with the Penn Regional Feb. 4 and East Chicago Semistate Feb. 11 and concludes with the State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

    Feature Articles

    #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: O'Neill thrives in new role

    Ike O’Neill spent his first year of high school wrestling competing at the junior varsity level. He wasn’t overly strong or fast and his technique was average. There weren’t any real indicators that O’Neill would be a stellar grappler.
    O’Neill may not have had many believers that freshman season, but he would soon change that. O’Neill would prove that wrestling was no different than everything else he did in his life. O’Neill has a worker’s mentality and was willing to do more than anyone else to get the results he wanted.
    That attitude has led him to be a stellar student. His grade point average is 4.3. It also led him to become an Eagle Scout. O’Neill has proven time and time again that whatever he sets his mind to, he masters.
    “Ike is every wrestling coach’s dream, to be honest,” Westfield coach Phil Smith said. “He is a phenomenal student. He’s an Eagle Scout. He’s a phenomenal leader. He’s one of those kids where everything about him is work ethic and being tough.”
    As a sophomore O’Neill cracked the Westfield varsity lineup and eventually qualified for semistate. According to Smith, that’s when they knew that O’Neill could be special.
    Last season, as a junior, O’Neill qualified for state. It was a bittersweet moment for the Shamrock. While Ike wrestled on mat 4 in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate his older brother Thadeus was wrestling on mat 3. As Ike was wrestling, he could hear the crowd’s reaction and knew his brother had lost his match. So, when Ike won, it just didn’t feel right. He cared about his brother and knew what he was going through.
    Thadeus has been able to push Ike to get better in a lot of things. Mainly because the brothers are insanely competitive with each other. Thadeus was going for his Eagle Scout award, so Ike wanted to try and get his first.
    “Thadeus and I were always on the same sports teams growing up,” Ike said. “We did everything together. Naturally we started to compete with each other. If he beat me at wrestling, I wanted to go home and beat him at ping-pong or pool. It has developed into competing in everything.”
    On the mat Ike has a toughness that some people might not expect.
    “My teammates like to poke a little fun at me,” Ike said. “They say I look unathletic in a singlet. I’ve heard it a lot in high school. My friends say I’m the most unathletic kid to ever qualify for state. I just laugh it off.”
    Coach Smith says that a lot of people are surprised by Ike’s physicality and strength.
    “From his freshman year, on the surface, we didn’t know what he could do,” Smith said. “But we think every kid is capable if they put in work. With Ike, he didn’t have flashes of pure wrestling technique that really inspired us – but I think we always knew with him, it was a toughness thing.
    “He’s not the most flashy guy. But after he wrestled someone, his opponents usually come off the mat shaking their heads and thinking, wow, he’s a lot stronger than I thought.”
    Ike’s dad, Terry, was the longtime coach at Westfield. In fact, he was Smith’s high school coach. But Terry never forced Ike into wrestling.
    “He always gave us the option to wrestle,” Ike said. “Now, he says that, but if we stopped, I’m not sure how kindly he would have taken it. But he never wanted us to burn out in middle school. He let us control the pace that we developed.”
    Currently O’Neill is ranked No. 6 in the 145-pound class. His goal this season is to place at state.
    “Where Ike was at and where he is now is amazing,” Smith said. “He’s not the most gifted athlete but he certainly outworks everyone around him and his wrestling technique has really responded. That’s a testament to the kind of kid he is. He’s a no-mess around guy. He’s always there. He’s always trying to improve. He’s been our captain for two years now. He’s found his rhythm and it’s fun to sit back and see how good he can get.”

    Gorilla Radio

    IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 147

    Mike and Joe recap a great weekend of wrestling at IHSWCA Team State

    High School News
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    Bulldog Breakdown: IHSWCA Championships Winds Into Final Stretch of Season

    By Anna Kayser
    On Saturday in Brownsburg, fans from the top two wrestling teams in 4A – and arguably the entire state of Indiana – took to the Bulldog gym for what is likely a preview of the 2023 IHSAA State Championship race on the horizon.
    After making it’s way through a tough slate of opponents in Indianapolis Cathedral and Center Grove, Brownsburg clawed it’s way back from a deep and early deficit against No. 1 ranked Crown Point but ultimately fell short in the IHSWCA Dual State championships, losing 39-24.
    “Crown Point’s really good, and we knew they were really good,” head coach Darrick Snyder said. “Our guys fought and battled hard, they have a handful of guys paired up with some of our guys that aren’t quite at that level yet, so we knew they’d score bonus in those.”
    Crown Point jumped out to a commanding 20-0 lead after the first four bouts, sweeping Brownsburg’s 170-220 weights in style with two pins and a technical fall.
    Brownsburg then countered in dominant fashion, taking each of the next four and six of the next seven to tighten the deficit to just one point (25-24). After heavyweight Leighton Jones put the purple Bulldogs on the board, Revin Dickman (106) followed with a third-period fall and off they went. Jake Hockaday’s technical fall at 120 and Brady Ison’s major decision at 132 tallied bonus points for the team.
    “I thought our guys did everything they could to win, Crown Point’s just a better team right now,” Snyder said. “I thought we battled well, I was proud of the effort but never happy getting second place. Just have to refocus, we have conference coming up and then the tournament series so we’ll get back to work.”
    Dickman, Hockaday and Ison all went 3-0 for Brownsburg on Saturday, with Parker Reynolds going 2-0 over the final two duals.
    “You know who’s really clicking for us right now is Brady Ison,” Snyder said. “We went up to Ironman and he went 1-2, and I don’t remember the last time he didn’t place at a tournament, he’s been wrestling his whole life. I told the guys that when you start taking those losses, there’s two roads – you’re either going to go down the road to get better and fix things, or you’re just going to be happy losing.
    “[Ison] went up to Brecksville and won it, and he looked lights out today.”
    With a four-point lead entering the final two matches of a long day of wrestling, Crown Point clinched it’s second consecutive IHSWCA Dual State title with a technical fall to put the red Bulldog out of reach in the final bout.
    The tournament kicks off a season-ending stretch of strong Indiana-based competition for the purple Bulldogs, culminating in the IHSAA State Championships at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in February. On Jan. 14, they again take to the Brownsburg gymnasium for the HCC Championships. Two weeks later, the state series begins.
    In December, the focus shifted into getting some wrestlers national recognition by battling some of the toughest competition across state lines. Now, they’re looking for that hard work to pay off with a strong performance in the state series.
    “Take a kid like Preston Haines, who in Ohio lost some really tough, close matches at Brecksville then lost a close one in overtime in the semis,” Snyder said. “He’s been in that situation 10 times this year, and this was the first time he didn’t get down on himself.
    “You see guys breathing heavy and a lot of times it’s just anxiety and nerves because the match isn’t going their way. He was calm and collected the entire time, and we’re starting to see more of our guys do that because they’ve been in all of these tough matches.”

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    #MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Fort Wayne Snider 182-pounder Veazy continues to turn heads

    If he wasn’t already on the statewide wrestling radar, De’Alcapon Veazy made more than a blip when he went 35-6 and placed fourth at the 2022 IHSAA State Finals as a 182-pound freshman.
    First introduced to the sport early in his elementary days, Veazy has achieved on the national level in the past two years. He was second at the 16U Freestyle Nationals, third twice at the Greco-Roman Nationals, fifth at the UWW Cadet/17U Greco-Roman Nationals, sixth at the 16U Freestyle Nationals and eighth at the 17U Freestyle Nationals.
    As a Fort Wayne Snider sophomore, Veazy began the 2022-23 season with 20 straight victories and placed second at Mishawaka’s 32-team Al Smith Classic, losing 3-2 to Crown Point senior Orlando Cruz (who placed second at the 2022 State Finals) in the championship match Dec. 30.
    Veazy’s secret sauce?
    “I love to learn and I love to work,” says Veazy. “I learn from mistakes and listen to my coaches.”
    Sam Ocampo is in his first season as Snider head coach after helping out at New Haven in 2021-22. He is a 1996 graduate of Bellmont, where he was a state qualifier at 126 as a junior and placed fourth at 130 as a senior. The Braves earned a state team title in 1994, a state team runner-up finish in 1995 and were state team semifinalists in 1996.
    Bellmont won the Al Smith Classic 10 times 1992 to 2002.
    “There was an expectation,” says Ocampo. “Either you perform or you get pushed out.
    “I don’t think I ever got the mental part because of that. It was just ‘next person, next person’ and were multiple-people deep (at each weight class).”
    Ocampo, who also runs Beast Mode Wrestling Academy in Auburn, says he wants to instill work ethic and discipline for the Snider Panthers, including Veazy.
    “He has a great mentality, knowing I’m going to get it done, nothing’s in my way” says Ocampo. “He’s put in a lot of time and experience to get where he’s at.
    “He’s very dominant. He’s aggressive and goes after it. When you’re the aggressor everybody has to react to you. If you’re the person that’s non-aggressive then you have to react and adjust to what (your opponent does).”
    Veazy appreciates Ocampo’s approach.
    “He likes to work on positioning and technique,” says Veazy. “He’s real big on the small details. Our team has improved (a great deal).
    “He pushes us hard, keep our minds right.”
    Ocampo pushes sportsmanship and leadership.
    “I try to lead by example,” says Veazy.
    As a fullback for a Snider football team that went 11-2 in the fall, Veazy honed skills that also help him wrestling.
    “It helps me be explosive on my feet and with my cardio,” says Veazy. “I’ve been working on trying to move my feet and my hands more.”
    Competing multiple times in a day in a tournament setting, wrestlers do different things between matches.
    “I just try to stay warm and try to think about staying in good position,” says Veazy. “I think about what I’m going to do in the match to win.”
    He also studies film to see what he’s doing well and where he can improve.
    After high school, Veazy sees himself going to college to study Business and wrestling or playing football.
    De’Alcapon (pronounced D-Al Capone because “my mom likes weird, interesting names”) is the son of Eric Veazy and Skye Grigsby. His brother is Everett Green and little sister La’Raya Veazy. Eric and Everett are Snider assistants along with Brian Tun, Conner Gimson and Drake Rhodes. La’Raya is also a young wrestler.
    Sam and Amy Ocampo have 10 children — seven girls and three boys. Sophomore Julianna Ocampo won the 106-pound title at the Al Smith Classic — the first female champion in the 43-year history of the event.
    Veazy and the other Panthers are inspired by Julianna.
    “She’s going to fight through everything,” says Veazy.
    Snider’s remaining regular-season schedule includes a dual at Fort Wayne Carroll Jan. 10, the Wild Bill Invitational at Fort Wayne Concordia Jan. 14, a home dual against Leo Jan. 18 and the Summit Athletic Conference meet at Snider Jan. 21.
    The state tournament series for the Panthers features the New Haven Sectional Jan. 28, Carroll Regional Feb. 4, Fort Wayne Semistate Feb. 11 and the IHSAA State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

    Gorilla Radio

    IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 146

    Joe and Mike dive into team state and preview all four classes. Lots of great breakdowns of each class and the top teams.

    College News
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    New Year College Rundown

    By Blaze Lowery
    Sicker Than a Hound Dog 
    The Greyhounds of Indianapolis look to bounce back this weekend In Louisville at the NWCA National Duals after unfortunate turn of events recently at the Midwest Classic. Heading into the 43rd Midwest Classic, Indianapolis was ranked 4th in the nation with five returning national qualifiers, where they have now dropped to #12 as a team after some illness struck the team and kept them from performing at the level they anticipated.
    Both #3 Logan Bailey and #11 Derek Blubaugh fall to illness early on, keeping them from wrestling the second day of the tournament. Bailey gave up a fall to #2 Gabe Johnson of Central Oklahoma and forfeited out the rest of the tournament. Likewise, Blubaugh took a tough a loss to Western Colorado’s Porter Fox, which has now pushed him down the rankings from #2 to #11 at his weight.
    Cale Gray takes a loss early to #11 Laron Parks of Notre Dame, and another to #7 Zach Ryg of Upper Iowa on the backside which knocked him out of the rankings all together.
    Indianapolis had two wrestlers compete on the second day of the tournament, #8 Breyden Bailey and #8 Jack Eiteljorge. Breyden Bailey ended up taking a loss to #7 Elijah Lusk of Lander in the quarterfinals and started his second day on the backside of the bracket. Consi-semis is where Bailey fell to #5 Eric Bartos of Mercyhurst, sending him to earn fifth place over #9 Collin Metzgar of Colorado Mesa.
    Eiteljorge defeated #12 Drew Weichers of Ashland, who was ranked third before this tournament, to send himself into the semifinals match against returning national champion, Shane Gantz of UW Parkside. After losing to Gantz by decision, Eiteljorge finds himself on the backside where he ends up finishing 6th at 165 for the Hounds.
    Although it was not the best tournament for the Greyhounds, they look to reclaim some ground at the NWCA National Duals in Louisville this weekend with a healthier team and positive outlook.
    Other Indiana-Native Place winners:
    285 Champion Shawn Streck of Central Oklahoma
    157 8th Placewinner Carter Noehre of Colorado Scool of Mines
    Duo at the Due 
    After the Boilermaker’s recent dual losses to both Campbell and Drexel at the Purdue Duals, the team seems to still have some individual talent shine through at the Southern Scuffle in 2023. Placing ninth as a team, Purdue finishes with two finalists, #11 Matt Ramos and #3 Kendall Coleman.
    Ramos defeated #21 Stevo Poulin of Northern Colorado in the semifinals in sudden victory. Then in another close match, Ramos defeated #14 Noah Surtin of Missouri in a 4-3 decision to crown himself as the 125lbs Southern Scuffle Champion.
    Coleman, coming into the tournament with a recent win over #4 Will Lewan of Michigan, seemed to keep the train rolling. He won a close one against #11 Jarrett Jacques in a sudden victory win to push himself to the finals. Coleman then fell to #2 Jared Franek of North Dakota State in an ultimate tiebreaker match.
    It is safe to say that these two wrestlers know how to keep themselves in the dog fight, but will this magic fizzle out by the end of season? The Boilermakers will be put to the test with their dual against Iowa this Sunday at 2:00PM on BTN.
    Best Dual Team in the State? 
    Indiana is proving to be much better in a dual than they are come tournament time. Although they do not have the greatest turnouts in their recent tournements, the Hoosiers are currently undefeated in all their duals thus far. They have a tough schedule ahead, but they have already been knocking on the doors of ranked teams this year.
    #17 Derek Gilcher defeated both #18 Anthony Artalona of Penn and #21 Andrew Clark of Rutgers at Midlands. There have been major shifts happening at the 157lbs weight class and this could mean good things for Gilcher when tournament time rolls around. Jacob Moran also has a decent tournament with an 8th place finish at 125lbs.
    Let’s see if Indiana can keep their undefeated dual record alive as they take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State on Monday, January 9th at 6:30PM on BTN+.
    Other Indiana Wrestling Events: 
    Indiana Tech, Marian, and Indianapolis at NWCA National Duals on Friday, January 6
    Indiana at #22 Maryland on January 9 on BTN+ at 6:30PM
    Trine at Olivet on January 12 at 7:00PM

    High School News

    Bulldog Breakdown: IHSWCA Dual State on Deck for Tough Bulldog Squad

    By Anna Kayser
    After a month of individual focus for the Brownsburg wrestling team with the Walsh Ironman, Carnahan and Brecksville-Broadview Heights Invitationals alongside few one-on-one duals in December, the team focus returns on Saturday as the Bulldogs look for their first IHSWCA Dual State championship since 2019.
    “This weekend isn’t the official IHSAA state champions, but to me whatever team wins dual state any year, that’s the best team,” head coach Darrick Snyder said. “I love it when you go into it and the best kid on your team is just as important as the least talented kid on your team.”
    Over the past month, the Bulldogs have taken strides from top to bottom in individual performance to prepare them for the switch to a team mentality and having a strong lineup through all weight classes.
    At the Ironman Invitational from Dec. 9-10, Revin Dickman (106) and Leighton Jones (HWT) each earned a spot on the podium to in one of the toughest high school tournaments in the country, leading the Bulldogs to place 20th out of 119 teams. One week later, they finished in third place of the Carnahan Invitational at Crown Point with Gunnar Henry (195) winning his bracket and three others reaching the finals.
    To round out December, seven Bulldogs took to the podium on another tough stage, with Brady Ison (132) being crowned as a champion of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Invitational and Dickman and Jones following in second place of their respective weight classes.
    And in the middle of the gauntlet of tough, nationally ranked competition have been practices mapped around these wrestlers peaking at the right time and keeping their bodies fresh for a run at the postseason. Dual meets have gone by the wayside, with Brownsburg’s last dual coming exactly one month ago on Dec. 6 vs. Avon.
    “Our schedule is so much different with being able to go to Ironman and Brecksville… we’re just doing a lot of individual tournaments,” Snyder said. “Which, I think if we’re trying to get our guys national exposure and knock off some nationally ranked guys, that’s probably the best route.”
    That improvement during the season – and even the strides they make in the summer and in the school months leading up to wrestling season – ultimately strengthens the program to a point where they are in the running for state titles in any arena.
    Now that they’ve faced some of the toughest competition in the country, both the mental and physical aspects of wrestling have been strengthened to set up Brownsburg for a run this weekend and in February.
    “I always tell the guys to get as good as you can and keep improving, and that helps the team,” Snyder said. “Whether it’s in a dual meet or it’s at individual state, if you get to a point where you can compete for [an individual] state title in Indiana, you’re going to help us win an Indiana [team] state title and you’re certainly going to help us in a dual meet. We just focus on them continuing to improve.”
    The team mentality comes into play when looking at the scoreboard and the overall team race in an event like this weekend, and that’s the biggest difference between wrestling for an individual title and taking the mat in a dual meet.
    There’s also the ability to pick each other up following individual losses, scoring bonus points to offset opponents’ points on the scoreboard.
    “I think our guys are very unselfish and that’s something I think we’ve kind of created within our culture,” Snyder said. “Our guys know that if they’re the clear-cut better wrestler, they can’t go out and win 5-4, they’ve got to score bonus points. They don’t always do it, but that’s their goal. And our guys that are kind of getting beat up on and falling behind, they know they have to fight off their back and survive because it’s all about the team.
    “There are some rounds where my best kids walk out and I’m like ‘Get me bonus’ and they’re like, ‘Got you, coach.’”
    The 4A bracket of the IHSWCA State Duals tournament will take place on Brownsburg’s home turf as they look to battle through a bracket of strong competition.
    As the No. 2 seed, the Bulldogs open with No. 7 Indianapolis Cathedral and will have to get through either No. 3 Center Grove – a tough opponent to battle in half of the bracket – or No. 6 Evansville Mater Dei. On the other side of the bracket awaits No. 1 Crown Point, which won the tournament in 2022.
    “I’m excited to compete as a team with everybody right there,” Snyder said. “I know our guys are too, we’ve had a great week of practice. We don’t need to say anything, do anything – we talk about winning dual state and IHSAA state, and they were locked in on Monday. They’re ready to roll.”

    Feature Articles
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    #WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Thrines making this year memorable

    Brevan and Tylin Thrine know this is it. This is the only chance they will get in high school to wrestle together. The New Castle brothers are hoping to make this a year to remember.
    Brevan is a senior and Tylin a freshman. They are the heart and soul of a rejuvenated New Castle team. Both wrestlers just took home championships in the annual Connersville Spartan Classic.
    Brevan (145 pounds) won his first two bouts by technical fall before beating Columbus North’s Asher Ratliff 11-2 in the semifinal and cruising to an 8-2 victory over Wester Boone’s Mason Adams in the championship.
    Tylin wrestled in the 126 pound class. In the field was undefeated, No. 14-ranked Jesus Aquino-Morales from Union County and No. 7-ranked Griffin Ingalls of Fishers. Ingalls was a state qualifier in the weight class last season.
    Tylin, who is ranked No. 12, put on his most dominating performance of the season. He pinned his first two opponents setting up a battle with potential regional opponent Aquino-Moral. Tylin pinned the Patriot junior in just 39 seconds.
    That set up a finals match against Ingalls, a senior. Thrine dominated the final, winning 15-7.
    “It was pretty cool winning that,” Brevan said. “I heard we might be the first brothers to do it in the same year. Ty wrestled great. He is so naturally athletic. In my head I knew how tough his opponents were but I also knew he could win it.”
    The Thrine brothers are quite different with how they approach matches. Brevan tends to get nervous before matches and approaches them all with a strategy in mind.
    “Brevan is a great wrestler,” New Castle coach Gary Black said. “He’s a strategist. He’s cautious at times and he’s smart.”
    Brevan is 5-4. At 145 pounds he’s constantly facing opponents that have a length advantage on him.
    “I really am working at staying more consistent,” Brevan said. “I have to stop taking cross shots. I’m built well. I’m strong enough to compete at 145 but I have to stay physical and fast because of my height.”
    Being physical and fast are two of the traits Tylin brings to the table. He’s less cautious than Brevan. He is incredibly athletic and tends to be ultra aggressive on the mat.
    “He’s just a freak athlete,” Brevan said of his brother.
    “Tylin is super explosive,” Black said. “He’s probably the most athletic wrestler I’ve ever been around. They are both athletic, but Tylin wrestled with no fear at all. He’s not afraid to get after it with anyone.”
    The brothers both have a goal this year of placing at state. Last year Brevan qualified for state but lost 12-8 to Center Grove’s Wyatt Kresja in the first round. In his sophomore season Thrine took on Warren Central’s David Pierson in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate. In the first minute Thrine attacked the leg and appeared to get a takedown, but the move was determined to be an illegal slam. Pierson could not continue and therefore was declared the winner. Pierson went on to win the New Castle semistate that day.
    “That match broke me a little bit,” Brevan said. “I wasn’t trying to do anything illegal. I had a leg, picked it up and came down and they said he landed before my knee touched. It was hard having my season end that way, but it has helped motivate me.”
    Brevan is New Castle’s captain this season. Coach Black said Brevan is the team leader verbally and by example.
    “Brevan is just a really great kid,” Black said. “Recently we were at the ECIC tournament and Brevan, on his own, went up to the Jay County coaches and asked if he would be able to wrestle a handicap wrestler they have on the team in an exhibition match. He gave that kid a great memory. I was more impressed with that than I was with anything else he did that day.”
    In that tournament Brevan pinned Jay County’s No. 4-ranked Cameron Clark.
    Brevan is ranked No. 17 at 138 pounds. He has wrestled 145 all season and is not certain what weight he will compete at come tournament time.
    After high school Brevan wants to be a lineman, working on power lines. He has already went to camps and had training for the job.
    Tylin doesn’t wrestle year around. He was a state qualifier in middle school in several events in track. He’s a talented football player in the fall and he wrestled in the winter. In the past he has relied on athleticism to help him win his matches. Now that he’s in high school, he’s dedicating more time to the sport and getting better technique.
    “I want to place in state all four years,” Tylin said. “I want to keep getting better. It helps that I get to wrestle with Brevan a lot in practice. He’s strong and fast. He’s hard to go against him. You don’t see many people built like him and he presents a lot of challenges for me. So that helps me get better.”
    Coach Black believes the brothers will both punch their tickets to state this season.
    “I think they will both make it to state,” Black said. “It’s rare for brothers to go there together and they want to make that happen.”

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