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Greatest vs. Best


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Been thinking about this, and I'm wanting to know your thoughts.

 

When we discuss the best wrestler ever to come out of Indiana versus the greatest, I wonder who we would select for either category if not one person making both.

 

Greatest vs. Best

  • Best: I believe comes down to skill-set in comparison to anyone who has ever wrestled, regardless of the era.
  • Greatest: I believe comes down to performance against your peers over time.

 

In my opinion, I would say:

  • The best wrestlers I think to ever come out of Indiana are either Brayton Lee, Nick Lee, Jesse Mendez, or Chad Red. Their skills would match-up well against anyone from any era.
  • The greatest wrestler to ever come out of Indiana is Angel Escobedo. He is a four-time state champion with a 223-1 record (223-0 vs. Indiana), a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and 2008 national champion, and two-time United States Senior World Team member, placing 5th in 2013.

Other consideration(s) for greatest: Andrew Howe (Hanover Central/Wisconsin/Oklahoma), Nick Lee (Evansville Mater Dei/Penn State), Jason Tsirtsis (Crown Point/Northwestern/Arizona State), Mason Parris (Lawrenceburg/Michigan), Chad Red (New Palestine/Nebraska)

 

Curious to see your opinions as to who the best and greatest wrestlers in Indiana history are.

Edited by blueandgold
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I think I’d go with Howe even though he only won 3 state titles.  He was very dominating on those 3 seasons.  His one loss was to a kid who was in the process of winning his third state title.  And I think his NCAA credentials were pretty impressive, too.  My recollection was something like 2, 1, 2, 3 … but I’m sure someone with better recollection will correct me.

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I don't like the "greatest versus best" argument. It is splitting hairs for ultimately what means the same thing. I think of how people on sports TV ask is "Tom Brady the greatest ever/best ever/most accomplished or so on" the reality is you can only gauge greatest/best strictly off of accomplishments/results. 

 

That being said my vote goes to Andrew Howe - under any label you want to give him, greatest/best/most dominant and so on. To dominate at the level of Mendez, Seltzer, Howe, Humphrey, Escebedo, Tsirtsis, Bradley, Parris, Brayton and Nick Lee, and a long list of others you have to be technical, physically gifted, smart, and so on. But each of them have earned their place permanently in Indiana wrestling folklore. 

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On 3/4/2022 at 2:40 PM, piscis1956 said:

I think I’d go with Howe even though he only won 3 state titles.  He was very dominating on those 3 seasons.  His one loss was to a kid who was in the process of winning his third state title.  And I think his NCAA credentials were pretty impressive, too.  My recollection was something like 2, 1, 2, 3 … but I’m sure someone with better recollection will correct me.

 When you look how dominant Howe was his Junior year vs. Angel in his junior year there clearly is a difference in levels. Angel won by decision in his matches while Howe teched or pinned the field. Howe lost in the finals his freshman year against  a 3x champ Humphrey in his senior year by 5 points and was booed for stalling during the match. Howe is the best of all time in Indiana. Stop judging by the number of championships or number of wins and look also at how they won those matches, who they lost to in those

matches and also consider the weights that they won these at. 

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20 minutes ago, AlaskanMountie said:

Mauer accomplished very little after HS which is why he is nowhere near the others mentioned. 

True, but it’s not like he just fizzles out in college.  Mauer has a major neck injuries that derailed his career and ended any chance at college level success.  I’m not trying to say he would be a national champ, but he never had a legit shot at proving himself at the college level.  But he has a pre-injury national record against some high leave guys to show he could have been a contender.   

Edited by MattM
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Did Mauer ever dominate the field though? Was there ever a clear difference that he was on a different level from Howe or other state champs of his time?

Edited by Gasman
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Did Mauer ever dominate the field though? Was there ever a clear difference that he was on a different level? If so please give examples

 

ha good point- I’m saying for comparison sake- give examples where he would be ranked higher than Howe- he won in overtime twice, and by decision twice in his championship matches. At the same time, Howe loses once in his career to a 3x champ (5-1)  - mind you there were a total of NINE state championship medals between FIVE different state champions (4 future champs in that weight that year) in his weight class his freshman year. To me someone with one loss in the finals his freshman year and someone with no loses but close wins throughout makes Howe ranked higher. It’s the same reason we don’t have discussions that Josh Harper could be in the mix- Harper won close matches and almost was a 4x as well but didn’t dominate the competition. 

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2 minutes ago, Gasman said:

Did Mauer ever dominate the field though? Was there ever a clear difference that he was on a different level? If so please give examples

 

ha good point- I’m saying for comparison sake- give examples where he would be ranked higher than Howe- he won in overtime twice, and by decision twice in his championship matches. At the same time, Howe loses once in his career to a 3x champ (5-1)  - mind you there were a total of NINE state championship medals between FIVE different state champions (4 future champs in that weight that year) in his weight class his freshman year. To me someone with one loss in the finals his freshman year and someone with no loses but close wins throughout makes Howe ranked higher. It’s the same reason we don’t have discussions that Josh Harper could be in the mix- Harper won close matches and almost was a 4x as well but didn’t dominate the competition. 


I don’t think he’s better than Howe. I think he’s better than you, and you should rephrase your question. 🤣 

 

Why is Howe the GOAT? That’s a better question. 

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Ha cool okay I fixed it to what it should have said. 
 

like I have said before- for Howe- winning the way he won, only loss coming to Humphrey, hands down to me makes him the best of all time. Full disclosure I have only been around Indiana high school wrestling since 1995 so I don’t know how Howe would stack up against Ellis but since 1995 I think Howe is the clear leader, especially when you factor in college and post high school stats. Howe took David Taylor and Burroughs all the way to the final seconds, Howe arguably would have medaled at the Olympics if it were not for Burroughs being in his weight. The way I look at multiple state championships is this- you win 4 - obviously your the best of the best elite- but if you win all of those matches in overtime then your elite but you’re a takedown away from the competition/the second best guy that year. There was everyone else, then a very large gap, then Howe. 

Another way to look at it- if youre a college coach and you are recruiting seniors and a 4x state champ wins in overtime against a 1x state runner up  and you recruit the guy who loses in overtime for your team do you feel like there is a large gap in quality between your runner up and the 4x champ?

 

Demarcus Spencer (a one time runner up) places ahead of Josh Harper 3x champ his senior year- who do you want on your dual team/ who do you think is the better guy at that time?

Edited by Gasman
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2 minutes ago, Gasman said:

Ha cool okay I fixed it to what it should have said. 
 

like I have said before- for Howe- winning the way he won, only loss coming to Humphrey, hands down to me makes him the best of all time. Full disclosure I have only been around Indiana high school wrestling since 1995 so I don’t know how Howe would stack up against Ellis but since 1995 I think Howe is the clear leader, especially when you factor in college and post high school stats. Howe took David Taylor and Burroughs all the way to the final seconds, Howe arguably would have medaled at the Olympics if it were not for Burroughs being in his weight. The way I look at multiple state championships is this- you win 4 - obviously your the best of the best elite- but if you win all of those matches in overtime then your elite but you’re a takedown away from the competition/the second best guy that year. There was everyone else, then a very large gap, then Howe. 


I think we are on the same page.
 

Howe was a monster! Always the hardest working guy in the room. I remember him saying “I take control everything that I can control, that’s all I can do.” ☠️ 

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11 minutes ago, Gasman said:

l The way I look at multiple state championships is this- you win 4 - obviously your the best of the best elite- but if you win all of those matches in overtime then your elite but you’re a takedown away from the competition/the second best guy that year. There was everyone else, then a very large gap, then Howe. 

But if you are going to make that argument then you have to also bring in  the reverse side of that too. What was the level of the top field of competition they faced during that time.  You can look a lot more dominant when some of the possible top competition moved to a weight class above or below you, or you can look a lot less dominate in the box score when you try to find a way to face the top guys. Sure you have to face who is in front of you, but the word dominate can’t work in this discussion without the context of the level of competition.  I’m not directing this at your Howe argument specifically, and agree he was very impressive.  But you have to consider the level of the of competition they faced, and in some cases went out of their way to compete with outside of the regular HS season. 

Edited by MattM
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23 minutes ago, MattM said:

But if you are going to make that argument then you have to also bring in  the reverse side of that too. What was the level of the top field of competition they faced during that time.  You can look a lot more dominant when some of the possible top competition moved to a weight class above or below you, or you can look a lot less dominate in the box score when you try to find a way to face the top guys. Sure you have to face who is in front of you, but the word dominate can’t work in this discussion without the context of the level of competition.  I’m not directing this at your Howe argument specifically, and agree he was very impressive.  But you have to consider the level of the of competition they faced, and in some cases went out of their way to compete with outside of the regular HS season. 


Howe beat Nick Walpol, teched Briar Runyon and Braden Atwood, tech falled his way through the state finals his jr and sr year, aside from majoring Michael Duckworth 22-9 in his final high school match. 
 

Those guys weren’t slouches. 

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16 minutes ago, DrunkJoeNamath said:


Howe beat Nick Walpol, teched Briar Runyon and Braden Atwood, tech falled his way through the state finals his jr and sr year, aside from majoring Michael Duckworth 22-9 in his final high school match. 
 

Those guys weren’t slouches. 

Yes, thus the “I’m not directing this at your Howe argument specifically” statement when replying to Gasman.  I was there, I followed it, and I still point out its one of the most impressive runs I’ve witnessed first hand.  The point was that some of these other guys are still worthy of being in the discussion too and shouldn’t just be discounted based on the perception that they lost a match or two in their career or didn’t run up the score to TF everyone through state.  But rather to also look at who all they have faces in and out of state and their pedigree too. 

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2 minutes ago, MattM said:

Yes, thus the “I’m not directing this at your Howe argument specifically” statement when replying to Gasman.  I was there, I followed it, and I still point out its one of the most impressive runs I’ve witnessed first hand.  The point was that some of these other guys are still worthy of being in the discussion too and shouldn’t just be discounted based on the perception that they lost a match or two in their career or didn’t run up the score to TF everyone through state.  But rather to also look at who all they have faces in and out of state and their pedigree too. 


Yeah, I agree with ya. Wasn’t taking it personal, just saying how impressive it actually was. Maybe I shouldn’t have directly replied to your post. Honestly though, there’s a small group that is in the argument. They all have 4 titles besides Howe. 

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6 minutes ago, MattM said:

Yes, thus the “I’m not directing this at your Howe argument specifically” statement when replying to Gasman.  I was there, I followed it, and I still point out its one of the most impressive runs I’ve witnessed first hand.  The point was that some of these other guys are still worthy of being in the discussion too and shouldn’t just be discounted based on the perception that they lost a match or two in their career or didn’t run up the score to TF everyone through state.  But rather to also look at who all they have faces in and out of state and their pedigree too. 

I think this speaks to my argument more for Howe- when he took second there were 5 state champs in his weight. When he won his sophomore year he beat a state champ going for a repeat championship. 

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19 minutes ago, DrunkJoeNamath said:


Yeah, I agree with ya. Wasn’t taking it personal, just saying how impressive it actually was. Maybe I shouldn’t have directly replied to your post. Honestly though, there’s a small group that is in the argument. They all have 4 titles besides Howe. 

The other hair splitter here is weather to just take the wrestlers for only their HS career (in-season) or count their HS career off season too,  or do you bring in all their future post HS accolades as a part of this argument.  Depending on which matrix a person chooses to use it would completely  reshuffles the list.   

Edited by MattM
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