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  1. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Lawrenceburg’s Jake Ruberg has battled some of Indiana’s best wrestlers, and more often than not has emerged victorious. But Ruberg’s true adversary isn’t an opponent standing across from him on the mat. No, for Ruberg, the demons he has wrestled in his own mind are far more vicious and formidable than any opponent could ever be. Ruberg emerged on the state scene four years ago. He was a little-known freshman wrestling for a small school a stone’s throw away from the Ohio state line. He won sectional and regional that year and eventually advanced to
  2. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com A lot has changed in the wrestling room at New Palestine High School over the course of a year. The Dragons have a new coach and a lot younger team. But one thing remains the same – Alec White is still a hammer in the New Pal lineup. White, a senior, is a three-time state qualifier. He placed fourth as a freshman at 106 pounds. As a sophomore he qualified for state at 113 pounds and then returned as a junior in the same weight class and took sixth. This year White is the No. 5-ranked grappler at 126. “Alec is just cool,” first-year New Pal
  3. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com A lot has changed in the wrestling room at New Palestine High School over the course of a year. The Dragons have a new coach and a lot younger team. But one thing remains the same – Alec White is still a hammer in the New Pal lineup. White, a senior, is a three-time state qualifier. He placed fourth as a freshman at 106 pounds. As a sophomore he qualified for state at 113 pounds and then returned as a junior in the same weight class and took sixth. This year White is the No. 5-ranked grappler at 126. “Alec is just cool,” first-year New Palestine
  4. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Two years ago Thomas Penola didn’t crack Zionsville’s varsity lineup. Last year he had a mediocre season, going 24-13. A week ago he entered the prestigious Al Smith Classic as an unranked, unseeded junior competing in arguably the toughest weight class in the tournament. Now, just a week later, Penola’s career has taken a drastic turn. He won the Al Smith at 170 pounds, beating four ranked wrestlers in the process. When the new state rankings came out this week, Penola had one of the biggest jumps in the ranking’s history. He went from not
  5. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Two years ago Thomas Penola didn’t crack Zionsville’s varsity lineup. Last year he had a mediocre season, going 24-13. A week ago he entered the prestigious Al Smith Classic as an unranked, unseeded junior competing in arguably the toughest weight class in the tournament. Now, just a week later, Penola’s career has taken a drastic turn. He won the Al Smith at 170 pounds, beating four ranked wrestlers in the process. When the new state rankings came out this week, Penola had one of the biggest jumps in the ranking’s history. He went from not being in
  6. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com One and a half points. That’s all that separated North Montgomery from winning the Crawfordsville sectional championship last year. The Chargers were defeated by Southmont, their arch rival by a score of 242-240.5. It was the closest score between the top two teams in all of the state last year in sectional action. “Southmont is our county and they are our biggest rivals,” North Montgomery coach Maurice Swain said. “Our kids have been seeing those guys since elementary school. We’re hoping this year we can turn that score around.”
  7. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com One and a half points. That’s all that separated North Montgomery from winning the Crawfordsville sectional championship last year. The Chargers were defeated by Southmont, their arch rival by a score of 242-240.5. It was the closest score between the top two teams in all of the state last year in sectional action. “Southmont is our county and they are our biggest rivals,” North Montgomery coach Maurice Swain said. “Our kids have been seeing those guys since elementary school. We’re hoping this year we can turn that score around.” North Mont
  8. By STEVE KRAH stvkrh905@gmail.com Robert Faulkens is the face of wrestling at the Indiana High School Athletic Association office. As an assistant commissioner, he administers IHSAA wrestling (as well as football and boys and girls track and field). Faulkens, who also sits on several National Federation of State High School Associations committees, oversees an annual online rules meeting for IHSAA wrestling officials and coaches. He also likes to take advantage of face-to-face opportunities, like the recent St. Joseph Valley Officials Association gathering in Granger. There,
  9. By STEVE KRAH stvkrh905@gmail.com Robert Faulkens is the face of wrestling at the Indiana High School Athletic Association office. As an assistant commissioner, he administers IHSAA wrestling (as well as football and boys and girls track and field). Faulkens, who also sits on several National Federation of State High School Associations committees, oversees an annual online rules meeting for IHSAA wrestling officials and coaches. He also likes to take advantage of face-to-face opportunities, like the recent St. Joseph Valley Officials Association gathering in Granger. There,
  10. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Burk Van Horn remembers being with his dad and brothers driving down the highway on their way to Nebraska, and seeing several cars trying to get their attention. Turns out, Van Horn had accidentally left the gates open on the family’s cattle trailer they were hauling, and some of the cattle was walking toward the opening. “The cows were just about to jump out when we stopped,” Van Horn said. “We had stopped to eat and I checked on the cattle, but forgot to close the gates.” Van Horn is a little more careful these days, both with cattle
  11. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Burk Van Horn remembers being with his dad and brothers driving down the highway on their way to Nebraska, and seeing several cars trying to get their attention. Turns out, Van Horn had accidentally left the gates open on the family’s cattle trailer they were hauling, and some of the cattle was walking toward the opening. “The cows were just about to jump out when we stopped,” Van Horn said. “We had stopped to eat and I checked on the cattle, but forgot to close the gates.” Van Horn is a little more careful these days, both with cattle and on th
  12. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Beech Grove’s Ethan Smiley isn’t big on talking about himself. After repeated questions for this article about his wrestling and other accomplishments, Smiley barely mustered a word. But, when the questions turned to his teammates or his family, he was much more talkative. “Ethan is very quiet,” Hornet coach Matt Irwin said. “He isn’t the first person you notice in the room. He’d be the last person you’d notice. He is humble and it’s hard to get him to brag on himself. That’s how he was raised. He knows how to act and how to carr
  13. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Beech Grove’s Ethan Smiley isn’t big on talking about himself. After repeated questions for this article about his wrestling and other accomplishments, Smiley barely mustered a word. But, when the questions turned to his teammates or his family, he was much more talkative. “Ethan is very quiet,” Hornet coach Matt Irwin said. “He isn’t the first person you notice in the room. He’d be the last person you’d notice. He is humble and it’s hard to get him to brag on himself. That’s how he was raised. He knows how to act and how to carry himself in a good
  14. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Joe Lee won state last year, but didn’t win sectional. Brayton Lee has lost just one match in his Indiana High School career. The common denominator in both stories is a guy named Austin Bethel. Bethel pinned Joe Lee in the sectional final last season. The year before, he shocked most around the state by pinning Brayton Lee in the final 15 seconds of the ticket round match at the Evansville semistate. “A lot of people didn’t think I had much of a chance in either match,” Bethel said. “But I told myself that I’m not wrestling the name
  15. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Joe Lee won state last year, but didn’t win sectional. Brayton Lee has lost just one match in his Indiana High School career. The common denominator in both stories is a guy named Austin Bethel. Bethel pinned Joe Lee in the sectional final last season. The year before, he shocked most around the state by pinning Brayton Lee in the final 15 seconds of the ticket round match at the Evansville semistate. “A lot of people didn’t think I had much of a chance in either match,” Bethel said. “But I told myself that I’m not wrestling the name – I’m wrest
  16. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com The very first time Brayton Lee watched a wrestling match, he ended up vomiting. He was 5 years old and sick that day his father took him to his first high school match, but even after vomiting, he didn’t want to leave. He had instantly fallen in love with the sport. “After I got sick I still stayed until the match was over,” Lee said. Now Lee is one of the top wrestling recruits in the nation. The Brownsburg junior won state last season at 138 pounds and he’s looking to do the same this year at 145. “I’ve coached kids that were
  17. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com The very first time Brayton Lee watched a wrestling match, he ended up vomiting. He was 5 years old and sick that day his father took him to his first high school match, but even after vomiting, he didn’t want to leave. He had instantly fallen in love with the sport. “After I got sick I still stayed until the match was over,” Lee said. Now Lee is one of the top wrestling recruits in the nation. The Brownsburg junior won state last season at 138 pounds and he’s looking to do the same this year at 145. “I’ve coached kids that were three-time
  18. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Last season Perry Meridian advanced 14 wrestlers out of sectional with 11 champions. They finished 13th in the state – and that leaves a terrible taste in their mouths. “We weren’t pleased at all with our finish last year,” said Falcon’s head coach Matt Schoettle. “We really felt like we should have been a top 5 team. We had some guys that should have made it to state that didn’t.” Last year was Schoettle’s first year as head coach for Perry Meridian. He had been an assistant coach for 18 years under Jim Tonte, who took the job
  19. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Last season Perry Meridian advanced 14 wrestlers out of sectional with 11 champions. They finished 13th in the state – and that leaves a terrible taste in their mouths. “We weren’t pleased at all with our finish last year,” said Falcon’s head coach Matt Schoettle. “We really felt like we should have been a top 5 team. We had some guys that should have made it to state that didn’t.” Last year was Schoettle’s first year as head coach for Perry Meridian. He had been an assistant coach for 18 years under Jim Tonte, who took the job at Warren Central
  20. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Travis Barroquillo and Collin Crume developed an intense rivalry on the mat their senior seasons in high school. Back then they had no idea that they would eventually become college roommates and share the NAIA All-American stage together. Barroquillo and Crume squared off in the Goshen regional final in 2011. Barroquillo won that match and then defeated Crume again a week later in the Ft. Wayne semistate championship. The two had very good showings in the state finals that year, both eventually losing only to st
  21. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Travis Barroquillo and Collin Crume developed an intense rivalry on the mat their senior seasons in high school. Back then they had no idea that they would eventually become college roommates and share the NAIA All-American stage together. Barroquillo and Crume squared off in the Goshen regional final in 2011. Barroquillo won that match and then defeated Crume again a week later in the Ft. Wayne semistate championship. The two had very good showings in the state finals that year, both eventually losing only to st
  22. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Thirty-two years ago a spur of the moment idea by Kevin Whitehead resulted in a monumental change to the Indiana high school wrestling state finals. Back then, Whitehead was a table helper at the finals. He had filled in occasionally on the microphone, announcing some matches for Homer Hawkins, the main announcer at the time. Whitehead thought something was missing going in to the finals. So, he grabbed a notebook and a pencil and went on the mat asking each wrestler for information about themselves. “I was
  23. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Thirty-two years ago a spur of the moment idea by Kevin Whitehead resulted in a monumental change to the Indiana high school wrestling state finals. Back then, Whitehead was a table helper at the finals. He had filled in occasionally on the microphone, announcing some matches for Homer Hawkins, the main announcer at the time. Whitehead thought something was missing going in to the finals. So, he grabbed a notebook and a pencil and went on the mat asking each wrestler for information about themselves. “I was i
  24. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Evan Eldred’s dad taught him a valuable lesson when it comes to wrestling. He taught him that Evan doesn’t have to be the best wrestler in the state. Ironically, that advice has molded Edred into a semistate champ and the No. 3-ranked 138 pounder this season. “The best advice I’ve been given in wrestling is when my dad tells me that I don’t have to be the best,” Evan said. “I just have to be better than my opponent for six minutes. It doesn’t matter who I’m wrestling or what they’ve done.
  25. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Evan Eldred’s dad taught him a valuable lesson when it comes to wrestling. He taught him that Evan doesn’t have to be the best wrestler in the state. Ironically, that advice has molded Edred into a semistate champ and the No. 3-ranked 138 pounder this season. “The best advice I’ve been given in wrestling is when my dad tells me that I don’t have to be the best,” Evan said. “I just have to be better than my opponent for six minutes. It doesn’t matter who I’m wrestling or what they’ve done. I took that to heart
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