IndianaGirlsWrestling reacted to Y2CJ41 for a article, Indiana natives in the hunt for World Team spots
The spring is always “rather throw you than know you’ season and while our state freestyle and Greco championships are complete the regional and national events are just getting started. Last week saw two Indiana natives make the World Team for women. Kayla Miracle, now wrestling out of Iowa City, won the U23 Trials along with Yorktown’s Alara Boyd making her first Junior World Team.
This weekend we will have the Junior World Team Trials and the final spots for the seniors for Final X determined in Raleigh, North Carolina. There will be a handful of Indiana natives looking to make the World Team and we’ll highlight them for you here.
Junior Men’s Freestyle
Three Indiana natives from the class of 2018 will be looking to join Alara Boyd in Tallinn, Estonia in mid-August. Leading the way will be Lucas Davison who will not wrestle until the best of three series on Saturday. He won the Junior Open, thus giving him an automatic berth in the finals. His biggest competition will be Arizona State’s Kordell Norfleet and North Carolina’s Brandon Whitman. Note that Indiana fans saw Whitman at the Dream Team Classic last year against Mason Parris.
Speaking of Parris, it seems as if he will be entered at heavyweight. He did not wrestle at the open and thus could see his seed affected by that. He also has very limited freestyle credentials, but he is training with Adam Coon, so that should help him. His biggest competition will be Iowa’s Anthony Cassioppi who is sitting until the best of three on Saturday. Cassioppi is also a two-time IHPO champion if you’re keeping track at home.
Brayton Lee is another contender for a trip to Tallinn at 70kg(154lbs). He was second at the open to Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso and should come in as the challenge tournament top seed. Lee’s budding rival, Jacori Teemer, looks to be dropping to 65kg which will make this weight a little “easier.” However, he will have to fend off Missouri true freshman All-American Brock Mauller along with Peyton Robb, and former Dream Teamer Jared Franek. Even without Teemer this is still a really tough weight class.
Thomas Penola had a great redshirt season for Purdue and continued doing well with a 6th place finish in Vegas. At 86kg, he will have to navigate a deep field of top level talent. Currently he is not registered, so we won't know for sure until Friday morning if he is attending the event.
The schedule for Juniors starts on Friday at 10am with the challenge tournament. The winner of the challenge tournament will wrestle Saturday in the best of three series against the Junior Open champion.
One former and one current Indiana Hoosier will be wrestling on the Greco side of things. Current Hoosier sophomore Liam Cronin will be at 60kg, while former Former Hoosier upperweight Lucas Sheridan will be at 97kg where he has been one of the top guys in the country recently.
Senior Women’s Freestyle
With Sarah Hildebrandt automatically advancing to Final X due to her silver medal at last year’s World Championships there is only one Indiana native to watch here. Kayla Miracle made the move from Kentucky to Iowa last year and it seems to have paid dividends. She won the US Open and thus will be in the best of three finals on Sunday. Just last week she earned what seems to be her 100th spot on a World Team by winning the U23 trials. She will be looking to make her first senior world team after advancing to Final X last year and losing to eventual world bronze medalist Mallory Velte.
The schedule for the women’s freestyle portion begins on Saturday with the challenge tournament. The best of three finals will be on Sunday starting at noon.
Senior Men’s Freestyle
Men’s freestyle is always exciting and provides a great crop of dream match-ups throughout the weekend. This weekend we will have four guys with Indiana ties looking to earn a spot in Final X in either Lincoln, Nebraska or Piscataway, New Jersey.
Current college star Ben Harvey is entered at 79kg after finishing 7th at the US Open. Harvey was a state runner-up at Cathedral and made the round of 12 for Army West Point this past season. He is currently a Junior and has one more year of NCAA eligibility left. The 79kg weight class is highlighted by the likes of three-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer, three-time NCAA finalist Mark Hall, and freestyle extraordinaire Chance Marsteller. Harvey will likely be one of the lower seeds due to his US Open placement.
Another state runner-up still making an impact is Riley Lefever. Before he won four DIII NCAA titles for Wabash he was a runner-up for Carroll High School…the one in Fort Wayne. He has been training in State College, Pennsylvania with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club for the past two years. He placed 6th at the US Open and is likely going to slot in at the 5th seed in the challenge tournament at 92kg. He will likely see Ohio State’s Kollin Moore in the round of 8 and then Hayden Zillmer in the semi-finals.
Two others with ties to Indiana to keep your eye on is Indiana University All-American Nate Jackson. He is being coached by former three-time Indiana state champion Reece Humphrey at the New Jersey RTC. He will be entered at 86kg. Last, but not least we always like to keep tabs on Gable Steveson. Even though he is eligible for the Junior age group he has once again entered the Senior division. He didn’t wrestle at the US Open so he will get knocked down a little with his seed. The winner of the challenge tournament here will see Adam Coon in the best of three finals on Sunday.
The schedule for the men’s freestyle will start with the challenge tournament bracket on Saturday and finish with the best of three finals on Sunday. The challenge tournament should be about a 7-10 man bracket for most weight classes. You can follow along on FloWrestling.com and as always check out our social media, especially Twitter(@IndianaMat) for updates throughout the weekend.
Friday May 17
UWW Junior Freestyle: 1st Round, Quarterfinals and Consolation Rd. 1-2
10:00 am – 2:00 pm – UWW Junior Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Greco-Roman: 1st Round, Quarterfinals and Consolation Rd. 1-2
10:00 am – 3:00 pm – Senior Greco-Roman (2 MATS)
UWW Junior Freestyle: Semi-Finals, Finals, Consolation Rd. 3-Semis
4:00 pm – 8:30 pm – UWW Junior Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Greco-Roman: Semi-Finals, Finals, Consolation Rd. 3-Semis
4:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Senior Greco-Roman (2 MATS)
Saturday May 18
Senior Women’s Freestyle: 1st Round, Quarterfinals and Consolation Rd. 1
10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Senior Women’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Men’s Freestyle: 1st Round, Quarterfinals and Consolation Rd. 1-2
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Senior Men’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
UWW Junior Freestyle: Best 2 out of 3 Championship, 3rd Place, True 3rd (If Necessary)
1:30 pm – 5:15 pm – UWW Junior Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Greco-Roman: Best 2 out of 3 Championship, 3rd Place, True 3rd (If Necessary)
1:30 pm – 5:15 pm – Senior Greco-Roman (2 MATS)
Senior Men’s Freestyle: Semi-Finals, Finals and Consolation Rd. 3, Cons-Semis.
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm – Senior Men’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Women’s Freestyle: Semi-Finals, Finals and Consolation Rd. 3, Cons-Semis.
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm – Senior Women’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
Sunday May 19
Senior Men’s Freestyle: Best 2 out of 3 Championship, 3rd Place, True 3rd (If Necessary)
12:00 pm – 3:45 pm – Senior Men’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
Senior Women’s Freestyle: Best 2 out of 3 Championship, 3rd Place, True 3rd (If Necessary)
12:00 pm – 3:45 pm – Senior Women’s Freestyle (2 MATS)
IndianaGirlsWrestling reacted to Y2CJ41 for a article, #MondayMatness: O’Neill returns to Wabash, helps Apaches thrive
By STEVE KRAH
The second time around has been extra sweet for Jake O’Neill and the Wabash High School wrestling program.
O’Neil spent six seasons as Apaches head coach then four as an assistant at his alma mater — Ben Davis in Indianapolis — and is now in his second six as head coach at Wabash.
With the help of several folks, O’Neill and the Apaches have enjoyed a resurgence since he was drawn back to the northern part of Indiana.
“I like where this little school’s going,” says O’Neill. “I’m excited about it.”
“I love this community.”
Wabash has a population of about 10,000 and around 400 attend the high school.
This season, the Apaches will participate in the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association State Duals for the first time. Wabash will be in Class 1A for the Jan. 5 meet in Fort Wayne.
The Apaches’ varsity schedule also includes the Wabash County Invitational, Western Invitational, Whitko Invitational and duals with Maconaquah, Rochester, Lewis Cass, Eastbrook, Peru and Western.
“When you have rivalries and communities meet up it only only helps the sport grow,” says O’Neill. “We had a nice gym going against Maconaquah. It was a fun atmosphere.”
There are 27 wrestlers on the Wabash team.
“We have a really big sophomore group,” says O’Neill. “Quantity helps. Quality is what we’re looking for.”
In the mix are freshman Jared Brooks and sophomore R.J. Steg at 106 and 113, sophomore Ethan Higgins at 120, junior Braden Brooks at 126, junior Jaxon Barnett at 132, sophomore Anthony Long at 138, freshman Brayden Sickafus at 152, junior Traydon Goodwin at 152, sophomore Grant Carandante at 160, sophomore Justin Heckman and sophomore Bryson
Zapata at 170, senior Blake Wiser at 182, senior Luke Voirol at 195, sophomore Grant Warmuth at 220 and senior Justin Samons and junior Blake Price at 285.
Higgins and Braden Books competed in the off-season at the Freestyle and Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo, N.D.
“They got to see guys who will be on the (IHSAA State Finals) podium at the end of the year,” says O’Neill. “Training with them all summer was definitely good for them.”
Carandante is O’Neill’s stepson. His other two children are freshman wrestler Kiersten O’Neill and sophomore basketball player Keegan O’Neill.
Upon his return to Wabash, O’Neill established the Apache Wrestling Club. It now has about 30 grapplers in grades K-6.
There are also about 20 sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the junior high program.
A wall was knocked down in the weight room to double the size of the Wabash wrestling room.
“We’re changing the culture here with the sport,” says O’Neill, who notes that the Apaches scored four points and were down to six wrestlers the season before his return. “The community is starting to see the hard work these young men and women are putting in.
“We want to continue to get kids up on that podium at Bankers Life and get kids up on our little wall of fame at school. We’ve got to aim big. That’s how I want my wrestlers thinking.”
Ross Haughn and Jimmy Olinger are coaching the elementary wrestlers and are part of a high school coaching staff which also includes Tyler Niccum, Jeremy Haupert and Isaac Ray. Ray wrestled at Hamilton Heights High School and at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., about 15 miles from Wabash.
“I have a solid relationship with Coach (Kevin) Lake (at Manchester U.),” says O’Neill. “I use my resources wisely with that.”
Chad Ulmer, who wrestled at Triton High School and Manchester U., has departed Wabash for Hendricks County, where he will serve as a probation officer and likely help coach wrestling at one of the area schools.
At Ben Davis, where O’Neill had graduated in 1995, he joined with then-Giants head coach Aaron Moss to have plenty of mat coaching success.
“We produced some pretty good wrestlers together,” says O’Neill.
O’Neill was dating a Wabash girl — Aimee — and decided to look for a job that would bring him back north. He took an interview at nearby Manchester High School.
By then, principal Jason Callahan had become superintendent of Wabash City Schools.
“(Callahan) made it happen,” says O’Neill of the former Daleville High School wrestling coach. “A job created (at Wabash) within a couple of weeks."
“He believed in me a bunch.”
Jake and Aimee O’Neill have been married for five years.
In his first tenure in town, O’Neill formed some key relationships like those with Peru coach Andy Hobbs and Northfield coach Bill Campbell (now retired).
“They put their arms around me and helped me,” says O’Neill. “I’m proud to call them mentors and friends.”
He’s also grateful to Pat Culp for her role in running tournaments at all levels around Indiana.
“She’s a blessing for everybody,” says O’Neill, who is an Indiana State Wrestling Association director for Cadets. “She encouraged us to host tournaments. She played a big rule in helping us grow this program.”
O’Neill admits that during his first tenure he was looking to go elsewhere. This time, he’s in it for the long haul.
“My first year back at Wabash, I started approaching it looking at the big picture and setting long-term goals with the program,” says O’Neill.
About that time, O’Neill discovered a move-in from North Carolina in his eighth grade physical education class.
Noah Cressell qualified for the IHSAA State Finals twice and placed third at 182 pounds in 2018 — Wabash’s first state placer since heavyweight Tim LaMar won a state title in 1999.
“That kid did a lot with helping this program grow,” says O’Neill of Cressell. “It was not just his wrestling, but his personality. He was a humble kid and everybody loved him. He was the poster boy for our program.”
Cressell is now on the team at North Dakota State University.
And the Wabash Apaches are back on the state wrestling map.