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.
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.”
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#WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Thrines making this year memorable
By JEREMY HINES
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.”
High School Wrestling Weekly Season 4 Episode 8
Rex Brewer and Dane Fuelling take a look back at wrestling over the holiday break, and also unveil the brackets for the Team State Tournaments this Saturday.
High School Wrestling Weekly Season 4 Episode 7
Rex Brewer and Dane Fuelling recap the week that was in wrestling, and announce the teams voted to take part in Team State. They are also joined by special guests: South Adams Coach Jesse Gaskill, Owen Valley Coach Steve Spicer, and Greenfield Central Coach Josh Holden.
IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 145
Another marathon episode where Joe and Mike go over the recent holiday tournament results. Lots of great information and insight.
IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 144
Joe and Mike are joined by our favorite southerner Dustin Bentz and he rants and raves about Team State. There is a lot of information and a dose of comedy in this episode.
#MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Chesterton’s Torres keeps his composure while piling up victories
By STEVE KRAH
Stay Calm and Wrestle.
It’s an approach that has worked well for Chesterton High School senior grappler Aidan Torres.
“I always try and keep my composure and don't let little things get to me,” says Torres, who is 27-0 in 2022-23 after winning the 145-pound title at Mishawaka’s Al Smith Classic Dec. 29-30. “If the ref makes a bad call, leave it to the coaches to argue it. Don’t let it get in my head.
“I’m always to try to keep my composure and never lash out.”
In reigning at Mishawaka, top seed Torres earned a first-period pin and major decision on the first day and technical fall, 4-1 decision and first-period pin on the second day.
Torres, an Indiana University commit who turns 18 in January, bested Westfield senior Ike O’Neill in the finals and helped Chesterton placed 10th in the 32-team event.
A three-time IHSAA State Finals placer, Torres placed sixth at 126 in 2020, eighth at 132 in 2021 and third at 145 in 2022.
He is the son of Leelo and Jennifer Torres. He has three older brothers — Nicholas, Isaac and Hunter. Seventh grader Noah is his younger brother and wrestler.
Andy Trevino is in his second season as head wrestling coach at Chesterton.
Trevino took over the program from Chris Joll, who led Chesterton to state runner-up team finishes in 2017 and 2021 and produced 10 sectional, two regional and two semistate championship squad. There were 47 individual state qualifiers and five state champions.
To compete with the best in the state, Trevino says a team has to have its share of year-round wrestlers mixed in with multi-sport athletes.
“You embrace the grind and enjoy the process,” says Trevino. “You’ve got to learn by making mistakes. If you’re afraid to do anything you’re never going to get better.
“Kids have to learn grit and battle through some things. The better kids are working harder. There’s a lot of them.”
The 2022-23 coaching staff also features Brian Bolin, Mike Engberg, Scott Mundell and Brock Peele.
Trevino was a 140-pound state champion for Calumet in 1991 — his senior year. Trained by Warriors head coach Jim Wadkins, he was also a state qualifier at 119 in 1989 and placed fourth at 125 in 1990. His career record was 127-7.
He earned four letters and 70 victories and was a two-time Big Ten placer, NCAA Championship qualifier and team captain at Indiana University for Hoosiers head coaches Joe McFarland and Duane Goldman.
As a coach, Trevino was an assistant at Lake Central, head coach at East Chicago Central and assistant in wrestling and football at Calumet before coming to Chesterton, where he is also a physical education teacher.
Trevino, who has known Torres for a long time having also worked with him at the club level, assesses the athlete.
“He’s a hard-working kid that at a young age decided to love the sport,” says Trevino of Torres. “He’s a student of the sport and he’s always looking to better himself.
“He’s very knowledgable in wrestling. He flows very well. He transitions from move to move. He makes it look simple.”
In serving as a leader for the Trojans, Torres does his best to keep it positive.
“Wrestling’s a very hard sport and it’s a love-hate relationship for sure,” says Torres. “I try to keep everybody happy and always be excited about hard work, getting better.”
Says Trevino, “He’s not real vocal, but what he does everybody sees it because as a team leader he’s doing it first and he’s doing it right. He can speak to the team and he’s sat them down and explained to them that there’s no magic to wrestling or being good at anything other than being consistent, training more often, being on the mat more often and believing in yourself.
“That’s what he does all the time.”
Torres has taken to the mental training promoted by Engberg.
“He makes sure you’re in the right mental state,” says Torres. “Before a match if there’s any negative thought in my head I instantly replace it. You can’t cut out all doubt, but you can easily replace it with a positive thought like nobody’s worked as hard as me.
“So any doubt I have we’re trying to flush it right now.”
Torres plans to pursue Environmental and Sustainable Energy Studies at IU.
“I took AP Environmental Science last year and I got my college credit,” says Torres. “I thought it was super interesting.
“I’m thinking that there will be a lot of job openings too, because of how our world is leaning towards renewable energy.”
Chesterton has Duneland Athletic Conference duals against Michigan City Jan. 4 and at Valparaiso Jan. 11.
The DAC meet at LaPorte is Jan. 14, followed by a dual against LaPorte Jan. 18. Then comes the Lake Station Super 8 Jan. 21.
The state tournament series for the Trojans features the LaPorte Sectional Jan. 28, Crown Point Regional Feb. 4, East Chicago Semistate Feb. 11 and IHSAA State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
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2023 IHSWCA Team State Information
Date: January 7th, 2023
Click here to see the qualification procedures for teams participating
Click here to see the leaderboard throughout the state series
Team State Pick'ems
Click here to access the pick'ems
1A and 3A- Franklin Community High School
2A- Jay County High School
4A- Brownsburg High School
Doors open 8:00am
Wrestling beings at 9:00am
$15- Adults and Students
Preschool and IHSWCA members FREE
1A Event Link
Adams Central, Bluffton, Cascade, Cowan, North Posey, Prairie Heights, Rochester, Southmont, Tell City, West Central, Winamac
Vote-In: South Adams
2A Event Link
Bellmont, Delta, Garrett, Hamilton Heights, Heritage Hills, Jay County, New Prairie, Norwell, Rensselaer Central, Wawasee, Western
Vote-In: Owen Valley
3A Event Link
East Central, Floyd Central, Hobart, Mishawaka, Roncalli, Terre Haute South
Vote In: Greenfield-Central and Columbus East(New Haven withdrew from the event)
4A Event Link
Brownsburg, Carmel, Center Grove, Crown Point, Evanville Mater Dei, Indianapolis Cathedral, Penn
Vote In: Perry Meridian
****Including Streaming Info****
Streaming is through TrackWrestling/FloWrestling and cost is a yearly subscription of $150.
Click here to access the event on TrackWrestling
Click here for FloWrestling Streaming page
*Note: If you want a monthly subscription option you can subscribe to FloBowling and utilize that membership to watch wrestling or any other sports they offer. The cost is $30 per month for a monthly option.
Location: Martinsville High School, Franklin Community High School, and Brownsburg High School
1A: Tell City
3A: Columbus East
4A: Crown Point
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Franklin Community High School, and Brownsburg High School
1A: Tell City
3A: East Central
4A: Evansville Mater Dei
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1A: North Posey
3A: Indianapolis Cathedral
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1A: Adams Central
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1A: Prairie Heights
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1A: Prairie Heights
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1A: Prairie Heights
Location: Ball State
1A: Adams Central
3A: Evansville Mater Dei
Location: Westfield High School
Location: Westfield High School
1A: Adams Central
3A: Perry Meridian
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#WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Cougars read for first taste of Team State
By JEREMY HINES
Ed Hamant loved everything about the team state tournament. The longtime Greenfield-Central assistant coach never got to see one of his team’s compete in team state. He tragically passed away last year.
Hamant coached the Cougars for 40 years. During that time Greenfield never made it to team state. This year the Cougars were the vote-in team for class 3A.
“For us, getting here has been a long, long time coming,” Greenfield coach Josh Holden said. “The big thing on our mind is that this is something Ed Hamant loved. Ed coached for 40 years at Greenfield. He loved the individual state tournament but the team state really had a special place in his heart. He always dreamed of taking a team to it but never got to. When we were selected to compete a lot of people got really excited because they knew Ed would have loved to see this.”
Greenfield is a bit of a mystery team, according to the rankings and the team state selections. The Cougars are ranked No. 3 in 3A, but they were the last team to get selected to the field in team state.
“We are in an interesting situation,” Holden said. “Are we the eighth best team or are we one of the top three that can go in and make some noise? We have to look at ourselves as one of the top teams. We are excited to be there. We feel blessed and humbled and even honored that people would vote us in and we just want to compete and showcase what we can do.”
The Cougars aren’t one of those squads loaded with ranked wrestlers. In fact, Greenfield has just two individuals ranked at all.
Junior Clay Guenin is ranked No. 3 at 170 pounds. He’s the top ranked grappler at that weight in the New Castle semistate.
“Clay is about 6’4,” Holden said. “Our whole team looks like basketball players. Clay hates to lose. He’s probably the most intense kid in our room. He does basic things on the mat, but he does them very well. He’s so aggressive and hard-nosed that you can’t wear him down. He’s an arm bar kid. He’s old school and he pins almost everyone he goes up against.
“Clay is also a 4.1 student. He’s an all-around great kid. We have an entire group of outstanding men and women on this team.”
The only other ranked grappler on the Cougar squad is Isaiah Holden, the coach’s son. Isaiah, a senior, is ranked No. 18 at 152 pounds.
For Isaiah, wrestling is not his only focus. He is very involved with choir. He’s in show choir. He was the lead in a school musical last year. He also is known around Hancock County as the Greenfield Spider-Man. He dresses up as Spider-Man and performs at birthday parties.
“Isaiah is just one of those special kids that has his hands in a little bit of everything,” coach Holden said. “He’s the best teammate I’ve ever been around. I don’t say that because he’s my son, I just truly believe that. If he had the choice between winning state himself or one of his teammates winning, I am sure he would pick for his teammate to win all day, every day.”
Holden has coached at Greenfield for 20 years and he believes this is the best team Greenfield has had during that span.
“I don’t know what the difference is, exactly,” Holden said. “We’ve had good teams in the past. We only have two ranked wrestlers and I have five freshmen in my lineup. I really thought we would struggle this year. But this is such a fantastic group of wrestlers. They make good decisions and work hard. If you asked my team right now how many of them get up in the morning and make their bed, I would bet 99 percent of them do. Everything they do is the right way.”
Holden also says this is the most fun he’s had coaching.
“I told my kids at the beginning of the season that I don’t know what my future holds, but I want to make this a special year,” Holden said. “And we’re doing that. We’re getting ready for team state for the first time ever. We’re going to the Connersville tournament and we’re hoping to win that. There are all kinds of first that we’re trying to get. This has been the most fun year I’ve had coaching.”
Nobody in the Cougar lineup has ever qualified for state. Two years ago Greenfield advanced seven wrestlers to regional, but a Covid spread caused the school to close down all activities and prohibited the Cougars from competing from that point.
The decision was disappointing to the wrestlers, but it also taught them a lesson.
“We know now that you’re never promised tomorrow,” Holden said. “You can’t look to next year or next week. You have to be ready. You don’t always have as much time as you think. You never know when it will be your last match so you have to go out and treat everyone as if it could be.”
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#MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Bohn uses speed, smarts to win matches for Munster Mustangs
By STEVE KRAH
Munster High School wrestlers are taught about the 5 P’s — Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
“If you properly prepare for your stuff, you won’t be as nervous,” says Mustangs junior mat standout Chris Bohn. “You won’t perform badly.”
Bohn, 17, began wrestling as a second grader with Griffith Wrestling Club. He moved from Griffith to Munster in sixth grade.
Prior to high school, he got much of his training with Region Wrestling Academy.
Bohn is currently 82-6 for his career and 13-3 for 2022-23 at 138 pounds. He was 42-2 and a and IHSAA State Finals qualifier at 120 in 2021-22. As a freshman in 2020-21, he went 27-1 and qualified for semistate.
From all the time in the circle, Bohn knows many moves.
“I’ve got a decent-sized arsenal,” says Bohn. “I know a good amount of technique.
“I focus on a few things.”
Going from 120 to 138, Bohn knows he is meeting opponents this season who are stronger.
“I rely on speed a lot at 138,” says Bohn, who stands about 5-foot-10.
Fourth-year head coach Zach Slosser sees a fierce competitor and a smart athlete in Bohn.
“He wants to wrestle competition,” says Slosser. “He’s not going to run away from anybody.
“What makes him a good wrestler is his knowledge of the sport. He’s very knowledgable about positioning and all those fine details. He uses technique over strength. He’s a very smart kid.”
Bohn is carrying a weighted grade-point average above 3.6 and counts Advanced Placement Computer Science as his current favorite class.
“I’m good with computers,” says Bohn, who can see himself studying software engineering in college and would like to wrestle at the next level.
With 40 grapplers on the team, the Mustangs head into the post-Christmas part of their schedule at 11-5 overall and 2-0 in the Northwest Crossroads Conference.
“The team aspect (of wrestling) is very important because you need your teammates to help you, work out with you, motivate you and push you in practices,” says Bohn. “You can also have people hang out with and relate with.
“It’s an individual sport because you’re the only one (on the mat), but the team is a big part of it.”
Bohn’s primary drill partners are junior Joey Bartusiak (145) and senior Ezekiel Gomez (132).
“Joey’s fast and he’s a pretty hard worker,” says Bohn. “He doesn’t give up.
“Zeke is solid with technique. It’s usually a battle when we wrestle.”
Munster makes its first appearances in the Mooresville Holiday Classic Dec. 28-29.
“We plan to make some statements there and get some matches for everyone,” says Bohn.
His support system includes parents Christopher Sr., and Angelic.
During a tournament, Bohn spends time between his matches rooting for teammates and he also studies film. His father — a former high school wrestler — shoots video of all his son’s matches.
“I’ll watch my last match to see what I’ve done well, what’ve I’ve done wrong, what I can do better,” says Bohn.
While there is plenty of noise in the gym or arena and the headgear doesn’t make it any easier, Bohn manages to hear his coaches offering instruction from the corner.
“I know what they sound like,” says Bohn.
Munster has an NCC away dual against Lowell Jan. 5, the Lake County Tournament at Hanover Central Jan. 7, an NCC home dual against Hobart Jan. 7 and the NCC meet (with Andrean, Highland, Hobart, Kankakee Valley and Lowell) at Lowell Jan. 14.
The state tournament series includes the East Chicago Sectional (with East Chicago Central, Gary West Side, Hammond Bishop Noll, Hammond Central, Hammond Morton, Merrillville and Whiting) Jan. 28, Hobart Regional Feb. 4, East Chicago Semistate Feb. 11 and IHSAA State Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Feb. 17-18.
Moving through the Region at tournament time is tough.
“It’s hard competition no matter what,” says Slosser. “You’ve always got to be on your game.”
Slosser, who was an assistant to Mike Crary for four years before becoming head wrestling coach, also coaches football and is an administrative assistant in the Munster athletic office. He has worked hard to recruit athletes for high school, middle school and the Munster Wrestling Club.
“I’ve been working hard to try to make a program,” says Slosser. “Two years ago K through 12, we had 47 kids in the program. Now K through 12, we have 126.
“There were seven middle school wrestlers two years ago and that number has jumped to 45.”
Says Bohn, “It’s not me, but in the time I’ve been here I’ve seen the program grow a lot and it’s cool to see.”
A wrestling club was started at Munster when Slosser was 6, but it went away.
“I said you know what? — this program needs to keep back up and running,” says Slosser, 27. “We’re just a young program fighting to get back.”
Munster has won 11 sectional titles in program history. The last four came in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 when former Evansville Mater Dei wrestler Dan Gelarden was Mustangs head coach.
“(Gelarden) was a very intelligent coach,” says Slosser. “We had (the IHSAA team tournament) back then and he knew how to move the lineup the right way.”
Slosser dealt with injuries throughout his prep mat career and was a semistate qualifier as a junior.
He earned a Business Management degree from Calumet College of Saint Joseph’s in Whiting, Ind., in 2018.
Slosser’s coaching staff features two of his former coaches — Tim Maldonado and Bobby Joe Maldonado — plus Jeff Jorge, Steve Marks and Matt Gille. The middle school season was in the fall. That team was coached by Juan Lopez, Bobby Joe Maldonado and Markus Ciciora. Those men also help out at the high school level.
Slosser is pleased to see former Munster wrestlers who are now parents getting involved with the current Mustangs.
Bohn credits nutrition as a big part of his success. He estimates he takes in about 2,500 calories a day and burns off at least that many.
“I eat a lot of raspberries,” says Bohn. “I love raspberries. You can eat less calories and feel more energized. You just won’t feel like crap when you’re in your match.
“Normally I’m good about (eating) unless it’s a holiday. I don’t cut. I’m going eat good food. It would be rude not to, but that’s the only time I stray away from good nutrition.”
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#WrestlingWednesday: Perry Meridian's Billerman bothersome to coaches and opponents
By JEREMY HINES
Perry Meridian wrestling coach Matt Schoettle stands in front of his team of grapplers with a goal in mind. He wants to teach them a technique that will help the young men become better wrestlers and gain an advantage over their opponents. But, as he teaches, a voice resonates from within the team. It’s senior Toby Billerman and he’s smirking as he tells the coach that the moves he’s teaching simply won’t work.
It's not that the technique actually won’t work – it’s just that Billerman has a knack for getting under Schoettle’s skin a little.
“He’s kind of a smart ass,” Schoettle said.
“He calls me that in practice too,” Billerman said. “I always give him a hard time. I mess with him some when he’s showing moves.”
Although Billerman likes to keep the room loose and have fun, he’s a very serious wrestler. Almost to a fault.
Over the summer Billerman put in so much work on the mat that Schoettle went to him and told him he needed to try and take some breaks.
“His dedication and commitment are unique,” Schoettle said. “Over the summer I thought he wrestled too much. He’s been doing that for years. He just loves to practice and compete.”
Billerman defends his workload by saying it’s something he loves to do.
“Coach tells me all the time that I do too much,” Billerman said. “I tell him it’s OK. It’s a sport I love to do. I realized toward the end of the summer that I was doing way too much, and I tried to take a few breaks to relax and hang out with my friends. But even then, I was thinking about wrestling. It’s what I love to do.”
That work ethic has led to an enormous amount of success on the mat for the 120-pound senior. Billerman is currently ranked No. 3 in his weight class. Last year he finished second in the same weight and as a sophomore he finished third at 106 pounds. This year he’s hoping to walk away with a state championship.
Winning state is never easy, but the 120-pound class is loaded. There are 13 former state qualifiers in the top 20. LaPorte senior Ashton Jackson is currently sitting on top of the hill. Jackson is a two-time state champion, winning 106 in 2021 and 113 last season.
Right behind Jackson in the rankings is returning 106-pound state champ Jake Hockaday, a sophomore from Brownsburg. There are other proven winners in the weight class as well, like Sullivan senior Lane Gilbert (ranked No. 8). Gilbert has placed the past three seasons, with his best finish coming in 2021 when he placed third at 120 pounds. Other 120 pounders, such as Kokomo junior Jalen May, Evansville Mater Dei sophomore Isaiah Schaefer, Delta junior Neal Mosier, Western junior Tanner Tishner, Columbus East senior Liam Krueger and Center Grove sophomore Eddie Goss have all placed in state before as well.
“Ashton Jackson has to be the favorite right now,” Schoettle said. “He beat Toby a few years ago in the semis. But I would never count Toby out. He can beat anyone.”
Billerman’s practice partner in the Perry Meridian room is senior Kenton Morton. Morton is ranked No. 16 at 132 pounds and is a two-time state qualifier.
“They have been wrestling together for the last 13 years,” Schoettle said.
Although winning an individual title is a major goal for Billerman, he would also love to win the Team State title. The Falcons have a very solid squad with five ranked wrestlers in the lineup. In addition to Billerman and Morton, Hruai Liam, Zach Huckaby and Andy Warren are all ranked in their respective weight classes.
After team state, Billerman and company will shift their focus to the individual tournament.
“I just want to go into the tournament and have fun,” Billerman said. “I want to wrestle hard. I want to compete. And, from there, whatever happens, happens.”
After high school Billerman will wrestle at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is currently considering studying nursing but admits that might change.
“Toby is a slick wrestler on the mat,” Schoettle said. “He’s got great technique and he is pretty physical. No doubt he’s a team leader and has been for a while. But he’s also a great kid. A great student and he never gets in trouble. He’s a very good role model for the younger guys.”
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#MondayMatness with Steve Krah: Wawasee Warriors manage to successfully mix focus on team, individuals
By STEVE KRAH
Embracing the group component with many eyes on personal achievement, Wawasee High School wrestlers are having another win-filled season.
The Warriors head into the week of Dec. 19 at 12-4 in varsity duals (including 4-0 against Northern Lakes Conference goes). Senior 170-pounder Gavin Malone is unbeaten so far in 2022-23. Seniors Hunter Miller (152) and Logan Stuckman (138) have one loss apiece and junior Kaleb Salazar (106) has two setbacks.
Asked to name his best qualities as a wrestler, Malone says “being dedicated and hard work. I’m trying to be the best leader I can be.”
Depending on the situation, Malone leads either by example or vocally.
At 18, he’s been grappling since 3.
“There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” says Malone. “Since I joined the Viper Wrestling Club I’ve developed a lot of moves that I can use in a match.”
The Wawasee Wrestling Club has about 80 members and about 20 of them with the advanced/competition-ready Vipers.
Malone is driven by the advice of several coaches — present and past.
Middle school coach Kevin Taylor, who was Wawasee’s head coach for six seasons, talks about hard work and dedication.
Former assistant Jesse Espinoza said “jam, jam, jam” — the idea of being tough on top and being the hammer rather than the nail.
From Bumgardner, Malone heed the call to keeping pushing and focusing and staying in good position.
From Garrett Stuckman, it’s “keep fighting and always be moving.”
Malone says the team’s main focus at the beginning of the season is the State Duals.
“Wrestling is an individual sport with a team part,” says Malone. “At the end we strive for our goals. I hope everybody’s goal is to be a state champion.”
Gavin’s primary workout partner is senior Cameron Zimmerman (182) though he also drills with Miller or junior Donovan Blair (195).
“If I can use by strength with the technique it will get me a lot further,” says Malone.
After high school, he hopes to wrestle in college and study Criminal Justice.
Miller, 17, has been wrestling since he was 3.
“I have a lot of tricks in my bag, but I focus on two or three good moves in each position,” says Miller, who counts Malone and Stuckman as practice partners. (Logan is) quick and he holds pretty good position like me.
“It makes us able to capitalize on mistakes.”
He sees himself and Malone as by-example leaders and Stuckman and Zimmerman as vocal leaders.
Hunter also likes the individual part of the sport.
“My goal is to be a state champ,” says Miller. “You don’t have anybody holding you back.
“You’ve got to get it done for yourself.”
After high school, Miller plans to study engineering in college at either Purdue University or Trine University. He says scholarship opportunities and which school he chooses will have a bearing on whether he wrestles at the next level.
Stuckman says he prefers to push the pace and “jam, jam, jam.”
“It’s go, go, go,” says Stuckman, who at 17 has been wrestling for 12 years. “What makes our team stand out is we’re all good at something.
“You have to respect us.”
After high school, Logan says he expects to work in the family business — Stuckman’s Sanitiation.
What makes this team of 42 (35 boys and seven girls) what it is?
“It’s a collection of great human beings,” says Bumgardner. “It’s the way they care about each other and love each other.
“They are extremely coachable. It’s been a lot of fun working with this group so far.”
Bumgardner and his assistants (Jamie Salazar, Braxton Alexander, Mike Deak, Isiah Faurote, Hal Heagy, Hunter Reed, Miguel Rodriguez, Shawn Senter, Garrett Stuckman, Raymon Torres and Dillon Whitacre) have grapplers competing really hard but in a relaxed environment.
“It’s painted on our (practice room) wall — Warrior Tough. It’s a mindset,” says Bumgardner. “We try to do everything to the best of your ability.”
Another motto: “Score points and have fun.”
“We’re not focused on pressure,” says Bumgardner. “There’s a lot going on in the world today and we need to focus on being great human beings rather than letting wrestling athletics consume our identities.”
Braxton Alexander (Class of 2019) is tied atop the career wins list with Kevin Carr (Class of 1999) at 166.
Wawasee is scheduled to host NLC opponent Concord Wednesday, Dec. 21 then gear up for the 32-team Al Smith Classic at Mishawaka Dec. 29-30.
The Warriors make their sixth straight appearances at the IHSWCA Class 2A State Duals Jan. 7. The competition will be held at Jay County.
In the past, the program has placed first in 2018, second in 2019, qualified in both 2020 and 2021 and came in fourth in 2022.
Wawasee hosts the NLC meet (with Concord, Goshen, Mishawaka, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth and Warsaw) Jan. 14.
The IHSAA state tournament series takes the Warriors to the Plymouth Sectional (with Bremen, Culver Academies, Culver Community, LaVille, Plymouth, Tippecanoe Valley, Triton and Warsaw) Jan. 28, Penn Regional Feb. 4, East Chicago Semistate Feb. 11 and IHSAA State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Frank Bumgardner is in his eighth season as Wawasee head coach.
He says the Warriors schedule allows for emphasizing team at the beginning and individuals at the end.
“There are situational awareness things we do,” says Bumgardner of the approach in dual meets where team points are so precious.
He welcomes the challenge of the State Duals where Wawasee wrestlers will “face hammers all day long.”
A graduate of Whitko Junior/Senior High School (2007), Bumgardner was head coach at his alma mater before coming to Wawasee.
Bumgardner earned an Education degree Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne and was teacher. He is now leading training and development at Viewrail, a Goshen-based company which designs, manufactures and installs custom stairs and railing.
IndianaMat Gorilla Radio Episode 143
Mike and Joe recap the past week and look forward to another big weekend of wrestling coming up.
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#WrestlingWednesday with Jeremy Hines: Owen Valley striving for 2A excellence
By JEREMY HINES
The Owen Valley High School wrestling team has one main goal – to make the Class 2A Team state tournament. On Sunday the Patriots will find out if they get invited to the tourney.
“Last year getting to team state was our goal,” Patriot coach Steven Spicer said. “Nothing’s changed for this year. We have talked about it all offseason. The guys know what the goal is. They have bought in. If we get in, it will be huge for our program.”
Last season was the first time Owen Valley’s wrestling team was ever ranked in Class 2A. Spicer felt it would come down to a dual meet between the Patriots and Monrovia for the final spot in the team state field. In that dual meet Monrovia won by three points, and got in.
“I would make a case for our team by saying that we haven’t lost to a 2A school this season,” Spicer said. “We are undefeated in our class. Our community is behind us as well. Right now our wrestling ticket gate is higher than our basketball. The team is already very motivated, and if they get in, they will just be on fire.”
Currently the Patriots are 11-2. Their losses come at the hands of Terre Haute South and Cascade.
The heart and soul of the Patriot squad is junior Branson Weaver. He is currently ranked No. 11 at 138 pounds.
“The kid is a mat rat,” Spicer said. “He loves wrestling. He wrestles year around. He went to Fargo. He’s our leader both vocally and by example. He runs our warmups. When he talks, the team listens.
“On the mat Branson is a freak athlete. He’s explosive, strong, fast and incredibly flexible. His wrestling IQ is very high. He’s always wanting to learn and he asks every coach questions, daily.”
Senior Eli Hinshaw is the highest ranked grappler on the Patriot squad. He is currently ranked No. 10 at 220. Coach Spicer said Hinshaw is a quiet leader on the team. Hinshaw was named All-State in football this season.
Sophomore Emery Jackson is ranked No. 18 at 126 pounds and senior Bryce Mills is currently ranked No. 7 in the Evansville semistate at heavyweight.
Hinshaw is the only wrestler on the team with any wrestling experience before Spicer took over the program five years ago.
“Everyone else on the team started after I took over,” Spicer said. “Bryce started wrestling as a freshman. Eli Hinshaw started as an 8th grader. Jackson started in seventh grade.
“But they have all bought into the offseason,” Spicer said. “They are competing against guys that have wrestled their whole lives. We’ve started doing some sort of wrestling year around and we are always looking for opportunities to get on the mat. We are lucky here that the coaches in other sports are all on board. We are a smaller school, and we all know we have to share athletes.”
When Spicer started with the team there were five wrestlers. Now they have 24. This year he talks about how, for the first time, he has flexibility with the lineup and how that makes a big difference in dual meets.
“Last year we were really solid, but there was no room for us to bump anyone around,” Spicer said. “We couldn’t manipulate our lineup. This year it’s been nice to have some freedom with the lineup.”
Individually, the Patriots are hoping to have several wrestlers punch their ticket to state. Spicer believes a few of the guys can compete for a state title.
But right now the goal is to get into team state. That’s the focus.
“The guys deserve it,” Spicer said. “We went to the Midwest Classic. We went to Disney. We competed as a team and we don’t take anyone that’s not on our team. We could have. We could have been a little tougher that way. But we wanted only Owen Valley guys.
“I truly believe that has made us more competitive this year. In reality, with our guys, we can put up points against any team in the state. I feel we can be competitive with anyone. We are not the most experienced team and we know that. But we want to be the better athletes. We want to be in the best shape and we have to be the toughest team out there. We are athletic, we are in great shape and we are tough and I hope we get to prove that at team state.”