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Found 86 results

  1. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Indianapolis Cathedral’s Blake Rypel is one of Indiana’s most dominating forces on the wrestling mat. His name is recognized by just about everyone who cares even a little bit about the sport in the Hoosier state. Rypel wants more though – he wants everyone in the country to know his name. “I want to be one of the most recognizable names in college wrestling as well,” Rypel said. “I want to be a four-year contender for the National Championship.” Rypel, a senior at Cathedral, will wrestle next season for the Indiana Hoosiers. He currently is 34-0 this season and is riding an 80-match winning streak. “Blake is the kind of wrestler that is tough to coach,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “He can do so many things that you really don’t practice. You kind of let him go on that. He’s so good on the mat, he’s teaching us in the room. He’s a very special wrestler.” Last season Rypel was the state champion at 195 pounds. This year, in order to benefit the Cathedral team, Rypel has cut down to 182 pounds. “Here’s a guy that is committed to IU,” McGinley said. “He’s a returning state champ. He’s ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds. But he decides to drop weight and go down to 182 for the betterment of the team. That right there tells you what kind of kid Blake is.” Rypel’s decision to drop to 182 was for the benefit of the team, but it was also to help out his good friend Ben Stewart. “Ben is a football player,” Rypel said. “He wants to play in college and he wants to be bulking up, not cutting weight. So I said I would go down to 182 so he didn’t have to.” Stewart is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 195. “If Blake doesn’t go down to 182, Ben doesn’t wrestle,” McGinley said. “So obviously his decision to drop has greatly helped our team.” Rypel finished seventh as a freshman at 160 pounds. He was second his sophomore season at 182 and he won last year at 195. His freshman year was one of his most trying seasons because his father passed away unexpectedly a few weeks before the start of the season. “That was terrible,” Rypel said. “I used it as motivation though. I dedicated a lot of my wins to my dad. Every once in a while I start to dwell on his death, but I try not to.” Rypel comes from a basketball family. His dad, brother and sister were all basketball standouts. Ironically, Blake was introduced to wrestling through basketball. “My basketball coach at the time, I think it was around 2005 or 2006, had a son that wrestled and he told me that I might like it,” Rypel said. “The first year I thought wrestling was OK, but in the second year I really started winning and fell in love with the sport.” Rypel is already focused on his college wrestling. He has dreamed of going to Indiana University ever since he was little, and he can’t wait to put on that Hoosier singlet. “Every college I visited was pretty cool,” Rypel said. “But I already knew everyone on IU’s team. I have been a Hoosier fan all of my life. I never thought that one day I’d be good enough to wrestle for them.” McGinley believes Rypel will have a lot of success in college because he is a dominating wrestler on top, which suits the college style. As far as finishing his high school career, he said anything less than a state championship would be a disappointment. Rypel won the Lawrence Central sectional last week, beating No. 3 ranked Cameron Jones 8-6 in the final. He hopes Cathedral can also claim the team state championship. The Irish have seven ranked wrestlers still competing: Lukasz Waldensak (No. 13, 106), Jordan Slivka (No. 12, 113), Breyden Bailey (No. 2, 126), Zach Melloh (No. 6, 132), Rypel (No. 1, 182), Stewart (No. 2, 195) and Ryan Guhl (No. 9, 220). “I really believe we have some of the strongest wrestlers in the state,” Rypel said. “As long as our guys can place, we have a real good shot at winning.”
  2. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Indianapolis Cathedral’s Blake Rypel is one of Indiana’s most dominating forces on the wrestling mat. His name is recognized by just about everyone who cares even a little bit about the sport in the Hoosier state. Rypel wants more though – he wants everyone in the country to know his name. “I want to be one of the most recognizable names in college wrestling as well,” Rypel said. “I want to be a four-year contender for the National Championship.” Rypel, a senior at Cathedral, will wrestle next season for the Indiana Hoosiers. He currently is 34-0 this season and is riding an 80-match winning streak. “Blake is the kind of wrestler that is tough to coach,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “He can do so many things that you really don’t practice. You kind of let him go on that. He’s so good on the mat, he’s teaching us in the room. He’s a very special wrestler.” Last season Rypel was the state champion at 195 pounds. This year, in order to benefit the Cathedral team, Rypel has cut down to 182 pounds. “Here’s a guy that is committed to IU,” McGinley said. “He’s a returning state champ. He’s ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds. But he decides to drop weight and go down to 182 for the betterment of the team. That right there tells you what kind of kid Blake is.” Rypel’s decision to drop to 182 was for the benefit of the team, but it was also to help out his good friend Ben Stewart. “Ben is a football player,” Rypel said. “He wants to play in college and he wants to be bulking up, not cutting weight. So I said I would go down to 182 so he didn’t have to.” Stewart is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 195. “If Blake doesn’t go down to 182, Ben doesn’t wrestle,” McGinley said. “So obviously his decision to drop has greatly helped our team.” Rypel finished seventh as a freshman at 160 pounds. He was second his sophomore season at 182 and he won last year at 195. His freshman year was one of his most trying seasons because his father passed away unexpectedly a few weeks before the start of the season. “That was terrible,” Rypel said. “I used it as motivation though. I dedicated a lot of my wins to my dad. Every once in a while I start to dwell on his death, but I try not to.” Rypel comes from a basketball family. His dad, brother and sister were all basketball standouts. Ironically, Blake was introduced to wrestling through basketball. “My basketball coach at the time, I think it was around 2005 or 2006, had a son that wrestled and he told me that I might like it,” Rypel said. “The first year I thought wrestling was OK, but in the second year I really started winning and fell in love with the sport.” Rypel is already focused on his college wrestling. He has dreamed of going to Indiana University ever since he was little, and he can’t wait to put on that Hoosier singlet. “Every college I visited was pretty cool,” Rypel said. “But I already knew everyone on IU’s team. I have been a Hoosier fan all of my life. I never thought that one day I’d be good enough to wrestle for them.” McGinley believes Rypel will have a lot of success in college because he is a dominating wrestler on top, which suits the college style. As far as finishing his high school career, he said anything less than a state championship would be a disappointment. Rypel won the Lawrence Central sectional last week, beating No. 3 ranked Cameron Jones 8-6 in the final. He hopes Cathedral can also claim the team state championship. The Irish have seven ranked wrestlers still competing: Lukasz Waldensak (No. 13, 106), Jordan Slivka (No. 12, 113), Breyden Bailey (No. 2, 126), Zach Melloh (No. 6, 132), Rypel (No. 1, 182), Stewart (No. 2, 195) and Ryan Guhl (No. 9, 220). “I really believe we have some of the strongest wrestlers in the state,” Rypel said. “As long as our guys can place, we have a real good shot at winning.” Click here to view the article
  3. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com Two Indiana Wrestling Hall of Famers will be at the forefront of expanding the state’s college wrestling reach next season. Steve VanDerAa will be Ancilla College’s first wrestling coach beginning in the 2016-2017 season. Steven Bradley will be at the helm of Marian University’s first year program, also beginning next season. “Obviously being the first coach, nobody has been before me,” Bradley said. “There are no footsteps to follow and not a lot of pressure. I get to create my own footsteps. It’s a good thing. When I’m all done, many years from now, hopefully I will have set a standard that other people will want to strive to acheive.” Bradley was a three-time state champion wrestler from Beech Grove High School. He has coached at the college level for 10 seasons. The move to Marian was exactly the kind of job he was looking for. It enables Bradley to be closer to his family. For VanDerAa, who coached Winimac High School for 20 seasons, he couldn’t resist the chance to get back into the coaching game. “I’ve officiated the last couple of years, but I’ve really missed coaching,” VanDerAa said. “I can’t wait to get back into it.” VanDerAa is the first lay coach to be inducted into the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has a coaching record of 404-96 and says all but six of his career losses came at the hands of schools larger than Winimac. He has helped coached Indiana legends like Angel Escobedo and Alex Tsirtsis. Both coaches are excited about the chance to build their programs from the ground up. “That’s the most exciting part,” said VanDerAa. I have a say in how we’re going to put the wrestling room together. We’re ordering all new equipment and when we are recruiting we get to tell them that they are the first and they are going to be the foundation of our program.” Bradley said recruiting has been relatively easy from the start. “It’s been nice,” Bradley said. “I’ve receive a lot of interest already. There are a lot of people contacting me and talking about the school. I’ve started talking to kids. The interest has been amazing at how many people in the first few weeks have sent emails, calls and text to get information. They love that there is another choice out there.” Bradley sees wrestling rising in popularity, especially at the small college level. “The interest is increasing across the country,” Bradley said. “We give kids another option. They can stay close to home and compete. I think it’s a good thing Indiana has more options. It will help Indiana wrestling as a whole. It will help high school kids. The more kids going to college and wrestling, the more young kids will see that and want to follow behind.” Both Bradley and VanDerAa have similar characteristics they look for in a recruit. “Academics are important,” VanDerAa said. “But I’m also looking for athletes that want to be part of our charter program. I want kids dedicated to the sport. I want guys that will do hard work, follow directions and be model young men for the sport.” Bradley is also looking for hard workers. “They have to be able to work hard,” Bradley said. “We need kids with integrity. We want kids that want to do well academically and kids that want to do well on the mats. I want kids that constantly want more for themselves and push themselves towards their goals.” Ancilla College is a part of the National Junior College Athletic Association, while Marian is a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  4. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com Two Indiana Wrestling Hall of Famers will be at the forefront of expanding the state’s college wrestling reach next season. Steve VanDerAa will be Ancilla College’s first wrestling coach beginning in the 2016-2017 season. Steven Bradley will be at the helm of Marian University’s first year program, also beginning next season. “Obviously being the first coach, nobody has been before me,” Bradley said. “There are no footsteps to follow and not a lot of pressure. I get to create my own footsteps. It’s a good thing. When I’m all done, many years from now, hopefully I will have set a standard that other people will want to strive to acheive.” Bradley was a three-time state champion wrestler from Beech Grove High School. He has coached at the college level for 10 seasons. The move to Marian was exactly the kind of job he was looking for. It enables Bradley to be closer to his family. For VanDerAa, who coached Winimac High School for 20 seasons, he couldn’t resist the chance to get back into the coaching game. “I’ve officiated the last couple of years, but I’ve really missed coaching,” VanDerAa said. “I can’t wait to get back into it.” VanDerAa is the first lay coach to be inducted into the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has a coaching record of 404-96 and says all but six of his career losses came at the hands of schools larger than Winimac. He has helped coached Indiana legends like Angel Escobedo and Alex Tsirtsis. Both coaches are excited about the chance to build their programs from the ground up. “That’s the most exciting part,” said VanDerAa. I have a say in how we’re going to put the wrestling room together. We’re ordering all new equipment and when we are recruiting we get to tell them that they are the first and they are going to be the foundation of our program.” Bradley said recruiting has been relatively easy from the start. “It’s been nice,” Bradley said. “I’ve receive a lot of interest already. There are a lot of people contacting me and talking about the school. I’ve started talking to kids. The interest has been amazing at how many people in the first few weeks have sent emails, calls and text to get information. They love that there is another choice out there.” Bradley sees wrestling rising in popularity, especially at the small college level. “The interest is increasing across the country,” Bradley said. “We give kids another option. They can stay close to home and compete. I think it’s a good thing Indiana has more options. It will help Indiana wrestling as a whole. It will help high school kids. The more kids going to college and wrestling, the more young kids will see that and want to follow behind.” Both Bradley and VanDerAa have similar characteristics they look for in a recruit. “Academics are important,” VanDerAa said. “But I’m also looking for athletes that want to be part of our charter program. I want kids dedicated to the sport. I want guys that will do hard work, follow directions and be model young men for the sport.” Bradley is also looking for hard workers. “They have to be able to work hard,” Bradley said. “We need kids with integrity. We want kids that want to do well academically and kids that want to do well on the mats. I want kids that constantly want more for themselves and push themselves towards their goals.” Ancilla College is a part of the National Junior College Athletic Association, while Marian is a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Click here to view the article
  5. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Randy May’s name deserves to be in the mix when talking about Indiana’s all-time best wrestlers. May went undefeated as a sophomore, junior and senior at Bloomington South High School in the 1974-76 seasons. He won three state championships during that span. Perhaps the only thing keeping him off the podium his freshman season was that he was too small (he weighed right at 84 pounds), and he was behind the brother of three-time state champion Jim Cornwell for a spot in the varsity lineup. “I was just too little to make the varsity team,” May said. “My coach, Kay Hutsell, had already won four state championships as a coach. Bloomington had a tradition back then like Evansville Mater Dei does now. And it was almost as hard to crack our varsity lineup as it was to win a state title.” Hutsell had coached Bloomington to team state championships in 1969, 70, 71 and 72. During that span Bloomington had seven individual champions. In 1973 Bloomington split into Bloomington North and Bloomington South. Hutsell became Bloominigton South’s coach, and led them to another state championship in the 1973 season. That season May lost just one time in the reserve matches – to a varsity junior from Owen Valley. “I got beat by him,” May said. “It was a good match. He ended up being one win away from going to the state tournament.” May hurt his back his freshman year and coach Hutsell sent him to help coach the feeder system at Smithville Middle School. “I was mad,” May said. “I wanted to be with the team. I had so much energy for the sport. Eventually coach let me travel with the team on dual meets. That was a privilege. I got to be on the team bus with everyone and I was sort of brought up under their wings. I was with guys like Marty Hutsell and Doug Hutsell (both were two-time state champs).” May knows living in Bloomington when he did was the best possible place for him to grow as a wrestler. He vividly remembers being allowed to go to Indiana University during their clinics and camps. “I had great coaching,” May said. “Everyone thought I would one day go to IU. I was able to go there anytime I wanted and I was able to wrestle kids from all over the country that came in for the clinics and the camps. “In 1975-76 money was very tight and there was a gas shortage. I’d drive to IU after I got off of work and I’d go to one of the wrestling clinics where kids would stay for the whole week from across the country. You would get a new batch of kids each week.” May would bet the kids that he could take them down. If he took them down, they had to pay him a dime. If they took him down, he would pay a dollar. “I took all their candy money,” May said. “That always paid for my gas.” May dominated his foes on the mat during the high school season much like he did at the clinics. He never lost a varsity match. After high school he chose to wrestle at Cleveland State University, which at the time was a national top 20 program. “I had dreams of being a four-time National champion,” May said. “I had my whole future mapped out. I wanted to be an Olympian and then I wanted to coach wrestling.” Things didn’t work out as May had planned. He developed a debilitating disease that changed his life course and took him away from wrestling. He was only able to wrestle one college match. “The disease shuts down the central nervous system,” May said. “It can kill you. But I worked my ass off. They told me I should have been on bed rest, but I didn’t stop working. When I couldn’t stand, I’d pull myself up. I still went to practice every day.” May eventually realized his wrestling career would have to be over. “I was walking with the aid of a cane at the time,” May said. “I was struggling with guys that I knew I should have been able to kick their ass. I wrestled one match against a four-time state champion from West Virginia. He took me down and I said, ‘you have got to be kidding me’. I came back and tied the match and won on riding time. But I knew I wasn’t myself anymore. I knew wrestling was over for me.” May had to refocus his life goals, and his career. He didn’t want to coach the sport he could no longer participate in. He now runs a business in underground utilities and lives in Florida. His son, Randy Jr., took up wrestling in high school and quickly found success. “He was a natural and I loved watching him,” May said. “He took fourth in state his junior year and as a senior he was ranked No. 1 and got very sick and ended up finishing sixth. He won over 100 matches and I was at his practices every day. The team won state his senior year and I was able to travel with the guys.” Six years ago, Randy Jr., passed away. May has suffered more than most his age. But he remains positive. He credits his outlook on life on his upbringing. “I was brought up with a good work ethic,” May said. “We had tasks and chores. My parents wanted them done right. I’d complain, but then I realized if I worked hard and did them right the first time, with a good attitude, I was going to get a reward. I could go play in the woods or go swimming. “I guess I carried that attitude over into life. I always try to have a good work ethic and a positive attitude. That will make you successful in anything you do.”
  6. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Randy May’s name deserves to be in the mix when talking about Indiana’s all-time best wrestlers. May went undefeated as a sophomore, junior and senior at Bloomington South High School in the 1974-76 seasons. He won three state championships during that span. Perhaps the only thing keeping him off the podium his freshman season was that he was too small (he weighed right at 84 pounds), and he was behind the brother of three-time state champion Jim Cornwell for a spot in the varsity lineup. “I was just too little to make the varsity team,” May said. “My coach, Kay Hutsell, had already won four state championships as a coach. Bloomington had a tradition back then like Evansville Mater Dei does now. And it was almost as hard to crack our varsity lineup as it was to win a state title.” Hutsell had coached Bloomington to team state championships in 1969, 70, 71 and 72. During that span Bloomington had seven individual champions. In 1973 Bloomington split into Bloomington North and Bloomington South. Hutsell became Bloominigton South’s coach, and led them to another state championship in the 1973 season. That season May lost just one time in the reserve matches – to a varsity junior from Owen Valley. “I got beat by him,” May said. “It was a good match. He ended up being one win away from going to the state tournament.” May hurt his back his freshman year and coach Hutsell sent him to help coach the feeder system at Smithville Middle School. “I was mad,” May said. “I wanted to be with the team. I had so much energy for the sport. Eventually coach let me travel with the team on dual meets. That was a privilege. I got to be on the team bus with everyone and I was sort of brought up under their wings. I was with guys like Marty Hutsell and Doug Hutsell (both were two-time state champs).” May knows living in Bloomington when he did was the best possible place for him to grow as a wrestler. He vividly remembers being allowed to go to Indiana University during their clinics and camps. “I had great coaching,” May said. “Everyone thought I would one day go to IU. I was able to go there anytime I wanted and I was able to wrestle kids from all over the country that came in for the clinics and the camps. “In 1975-76 money was very tight and there was a gas shortage. I’d drive to IU after I got off of work and I’d go to one of the wrestling clinics where kids would stay for the whole week from across the country. You would get a new batch of kids each week.” May would bet the kids that he could take them down. If he took them down, they had to pay him a dime. If they took him down, he would pay a dollar. “I took all their candy money,” May said. “That always paid for my gas.” May dominated his foes on the mat during the high school season much like he did at the clinics. He never lost a varsity match. After high school he chose to wrestle at Cleveland State University, which at the time was a national top 20 program. “I had dreams of being a four-time National champion,” May said. “I had my whole future mapped out. I wanted to be an Olympian and then I wanted to coach wrestling.” Things didn’t work out as May had planned. He developed a debilitating disease that changed his life course and took him away from wrestling. He was only able to wrestle one college match. “The disease shuts down the central nervous system,” May said. “It can kill you. But I worked my ass off. They told me I should have been on bed rest, but I didn’t stop working. When I couldn’t stand, I’d pull myself up. I still went to practice every day.” May eventually realized his wrestling career would have to be over. “I was walking with the aid of a cane at the time,” May said. “I was struggling with guys that I knew I should have been able to kick their ass. I wrestled one match against a four-time state champion from West Virginia. He took me down and I said, ‘you have got to be kidding me’. I came back and tied the match and won on riding time. But I knew I wasn’t myself anymore. I knew wrestling was over for me.” May had to refocus his life goals, and his career. He didn’t want to coach the sport he could no longer participate in. He now runs a business in underground utilities and lives in Florida. His son, Randy Jr., took up wrestling in high school and quickly found success. “He was a natural and I loved watching him,” May said. “He took fourth in state his junior year and as a senior he was ranked No. 1 and got very sick and ended up finishing sixth. He won over 100 matches and I was at his practices every day. The team won state his senior year and I was able to travel with the guys.” Six years ago, Randy Jr., passed away. May has suffered more than most his age. But he remains positive. He credits his outlook on life on his upbringing. “I was brought up with a good work ethic,” May said. “We had tasks and chores. My parents wanted them done right. I’d complain, but then I realized if I worked hard and did them right the first time, with a good attitude, I was going to get a reward. I could go play in the woods or go swimming. “I guess I carried that attitude over into life. I always try to have a good work ethic and a positive attitude. That will make you successful in anything you do.” Click here to view the article
  7. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Matthew McKinney approaches academics with the same ferociousness he has when he steps on the mat for a wrestling match. “Academics is just another competition for me,” McKinney said. “Whether it’s in the classroom or on the mat, I want to be the best at everything I do.” McKinney is currently ranked No. 15 out of his class of 791 seniors at Warren Central High School. His grade point average is 3.97. “I really take a lot of pride in my academics,” McKinney said. He also takes pride in his wrestling. He is currently ranked fourth in the state at 138 pounds. He is a two-time state qualifier. He advanced to state his freshman year at 106 pounds and again the next season at 120 pounds. McKinney believes he outworks anyone he steps across the mat against. He religiously goes into school early three times a week and either runs or swims. He also stays late after practices and puts in extra conditioning. That hard work has paid off when it comes to the long, three period matches. “I really pride myself on being able to go six minutes as hard as possible and wearing on my opponent with heavy hand fighting,” McKinney said. The practice room at Warren Central is full of practice partners for McKinney. If he wants to work on speed and agility, he faces Warren’s 126 pounder Joel McGhee (ranked No. 6). If he needs to work against stronger opponents, he goes up against Trent Pruitt (ranked No. 4 at 152 pounds). If he’s looking to get as much work in as possible, he has a host of partners he can go against. “We have around 70 guys at practice and we have three mats going on,” McKinney said. “That gives me a lot of partners to push me. For sure that’s an advantage because you never run out of guys to wrestle. When you’re wrestling live, there is always a fresh guy to come in and keep pushing you.” The Warrior team is absolutely loaded this season. Warren Central has ranked wrestlers in 10 of the 14 weight classes. Jim Tonte took over the program this season, after having a very successful career at the helm of Perry Meridian’s program. One thing McKinney noticed right away about Tonte’s coaching style, is that he wanted the team to have a good chemistry. “The biggest difference between last year and this year is that we are a lot closer as a team,” McKinney said. “We hang out outside of wrestling. We have more of a team atmosphere. Coach Tonte stresses team bonding. We’ve gone to the movies together, had hang out sessions. And, a lot of us have been together for four years now so we are naturally close.” Brownsburg defeated Warren Central in the team state championship this year. That doesn’t sit well with the senior Warriors. “We have to give props to Brownsburg,” McKinney said. “They really brought it to us. It was very humbling for our team, but we’re excited for our second chance. Our goal is to win the state championship. I want to win it with my team and individually. We feel we are good enough, and that goal is always on our mind. We break every practice with a ‘Blue Rings’ chant for the blue medal you get when you win state.” McKinney did not qualify for state last season. He was beaten in the ticket round of semistate. But this year he feels he can see a lot of improvement. “I’ve faced seven ranked guys and lost just one,” he said. “I’m right there with the top guys. It gives me confidence to know I can go out and beat anyone in front of me. Last year Nick Lee beat me. He took me down, cut me, took me down, cut me and then pinned me real quick. This year I went the distance with him. The score still wasn’t what I wanted, but I can tell I’ve improved.” Coach Tonte said at the beginning of the season some people wanted McKinney to wrestle at 132 pounds this year. “Matthew spent so much time in the weight room every day that he eventually filled out and made it to be a true 138,” Tonte said. Tonte said it was probably a difficult transition for McKinney to have a new coach for his senior year. “I’ll be honest,” Tonte said. “It was probably somewhat tough for him. He had a competitive match with one of the kids I coached last year and I know it was probably really tough on him to know I was coming in to be his coach. But he has responded very well and he realizes we care about him. He’ll run through a wall for us. He’s responded to everything we are doing.” McKinney is a two-sport athlete at Warren Central. He is the kicker and backup punter for the Warrior football team. He says football is a sport he does for fun, but he really enjoys being part of the program. After high school McKinney would like to wrestle collegiately. He is not sure what he wants to study or where he wants to attend. “Matthew is just one of those kids that you don’t ever have to worry about his future,” Tonte said. “His future is open for whatever he wants to do. He has a great drive, a great family and you can tell he has really been raised well. He will succeed at whatever it is he sets out to do.” For now, he is setting out to win the 138 pound weight class in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
  8. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Matthew McKinney approaches academics with the same ferociousness he has when he steps on the mat for a wrestling match. “Academics is just another competition for me,” McKinney said. “Whether it’s in the classroom or on the mat, I want to be the best at everything I do.” McKinney is currently ranked No. 15 out of his class of 791 seniors at Warren Central High School. His grade point average is 3.97. “I really take a lot of pride in my academics,” McKinney said. He also takes pride in his wrestling. He is currently ranked fourth in the state at 138 pounds. He is a two-time state qualifier. He advanced to state his freshman year at 106 pounds and again the next season at 120 pounds. McKinney believes he outworks anyone he steps across the mat against. He religiously goes into school early three times a week and either runs or swims. He also stays late after practices and puts in extra conditioning. That hard work has paid off when it comes to the long, three period matches. “I really pride myself on being able to go six minutes as hard as possible and wearing on my opponent with heavy hand fighting,” McKinney said. The practice room at Warren Central is full of practice partners for McKinney. If he wants to work on speed and agility, he faces Warren’s 126 pounder Joel McGhee (ranked No. 6). If he needs to work against stronger opponents, he goes up against Trent Pruitt (ranked No. 4 at 152 pounds). If he’s looking to get as much work in as possible, he has a host of partners he can go against. “We have around 70 guys at practice and we have three mats going on,” McKinney said. “That gives me a lot of partners to push me. For sure that’s an advantage because you never run out of guys to wrestle. When you’re wrestling live, there is always a fresh guy to come in and keep pushing you.” The Warrior team is absolutely loaded this season. Warren Central has ranked wrestlers in 10 of the 14 weight classes. Jim Tonte took over the program this season, after having a very successful career at the helm of Perry Meridian’s program. One thing McKinney noticed right away about Tonte’s coaching style, is that he wanted the team to have a good chemistry. “The biggest difference between last year and this year is that we are a lot closer as a team,” McKinney said. “We hang out outside of wrestling. We have more of a team atmosphere. Coach Tonte stresses team bonding. We’ve gone to the movies together, had hang out sessions. And, a lot of us have been together for four years now so we are naturally close.” Brownsburg defeated Warren Central in the team state championship this year. That doesn’t sit well with the senior Warriors. “We have to give props to Brownsburg,” McKinney said. “They really brought it to us. It was very humbling for our team, but we’re excited for our second chance. Our goal is to win the state championship. I want to win it with my team and individually. We feel we are good enough, and that goal is always on our mind. We break every practice with a ‘Blue Rings’ chant for the blue medal you get when you win state.” McKinney did not qualify for state last season. He was beaten in the ticket round of semistate. But this year he feels he can see a lot of improvement. “I’ve faced seven ranked guys and lost just one,” he said. “I’m right there with the top guys. It gives me confidence to know I can go out and beat anyone in front of me. Last year Nick Lee beat me. He took me down, cut me, took me down, cut me and then pinned me real quick. This year I went the distance with him. The score still wasn’t what I wanted, but I can tell I’ve improved.” Coach Tonte said at the beginning of the season some people wanted McKinney to wrestle at 132 pounds this year. “Matthew spent so much time in the weight room every day that he eventually filled out and made it to be a true 138,” Tonte said. Tonte said it was probably a difficult transition for McKinney to have a new coach for his senior year. “I’ll be honest,” Tonte said. “It was probably somewhat tough for him. He had a competitive match with one of the kids I coached last year and I know it was probably really tough on him to know I was coming in to be his coach. But he has responded very well and he realizes we care about him. He’ll run through a wall for us. He’s responded to everything we are doing.” McKinney is a two-sport athlete at Warren Central. He is the kicker and backup punter for the Warrior football team. He says football is a sport he does for fun, but he really enjoys being part of the program. After high school McKinney would like to wrestle collegiately. He is not sure what he wants to study or where he wants to attend. “Matthew is just one of those kids that you don’t ever have to worry about his future,” Tonte said. “His future is open for whatever he wants to do. He has a great drive, a great family and you can tell he has really been raised well. He will succeed at whatever it is he sets out to do.” For now, he is setting out to win the 138 pound weight class in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. Click here to view the article
  9. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Columbus East senior Coy Park has wrestled at 182 pounds his entire high school career. But when coach Chris Cooper told Park it would help the team if he dropped to 170, Park did just that. “Coy said he would cut the weight and get down to 170,” Cooper said. “When I told him it would help the team, there was never any question in his mind. He was going to do whatever he needed to do to help us succeed. Coy is without question our team leader. He leads by example and he can be vocal. He’s 100 percent about the team all the time.” That mindset has driven the Olympians to success this season. Every wrestler on the team will do whatever it takes to make the team better. Cooper feels that his squad can be a legitimate contender to win the team state title as long as they keep getting better. Leading the way for the Olympians is a core of young ranked wrestlers at the lower weights. Freshman Cayden Rooks is the No. 1-ranked 106-pounder in the state. Freshman Jake Schoenegge is ranked No. 14 at 113. Graham Rooks, who finished third last season at 106 pounds, is now ranked No. 4 at 120. Sophomore Dawson Combest is the 14th ranked 126 pounder in the state. “Those guys kind of give you some hammers in your lineup,” Cooper said. “They are the kind of guys that live and breathe wrestling. They are the kind of kids that have been in big meets before, and big situations. That experience, even at a young age, helps everyone on the team.” The only other ranked wrestler on the Columbus East squad is senior heavyweight Sean Galliger. Galliger is ranked No. 5. Rounding out the lineup is sophomore Corbin Pollitt at 132, senior Jake Martindale at 138, freshman Hunter Dickmeyer at 145, senior Ben Wilkerson at 152, junior Austin Wilson at 160, sophomore Lane Goode at 182, junior Seth Turner at 195 and junior Austin Sheckles at 220. Senior Quade Greiwe was a semistate qualifier last season for the Olympians, but had a season-ending ACL injury earlier this year. The Olympians started the season out with a loss to sectional rival Jennings County, 37-28. Cooper is hoping the team has improved significantly since that time. “We are fired up for the state tournament to begin,” Cooper said. “We are not the best team in the state today. We didn’t start out as the best team in the state. But we hope to be one of, if not the best team in the state come tournament time. “Jennings County is tough. They beat us already. They are returning sectional champions. But we hope we are a different team now and up to the challenge.” The Olympians last won the Jennings County sectional title in 2013. In 2014 Columbus East finished fifth behind Greensburg, Jennings County, Madison and Columbus North. Twenty points separated the top five teams that season. Last year Jennings County ran away with the championship – outscoring Columbus East 268-148. Cooper has stressed the importance of summer wrestling to his team – which has bought in to his philosophy. The kids wrestled over 30 matches during the offseason and also bonded as a team. Now they are also buying into Cooper’s philosophy that they have to improve each and every day. “I think that’s one of the biggest keys to success,” Cooper said. “You have to use every day to get better. Every day you have to make a conscious effort to improve in something.” The Olympians have tried to make their schedule very difficult, especially early on. “We want to find out early what our flaws and our weaknesses are,” Cooper said. “That’s why we start with such a tough schedule. Then we can work on those flaws, and as the season progresses we really show how battle tested we are.”
  10. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Columbus East senior Coy Park has wrestled at 182 pounds his entire high school career. But when coach Chris Cooper told Park it would help the team if he dropped to 170, Park did just that. “Coy said he would cut the weight and get down to 170,” Cooper said. “When I told him it would help the team, there was never any question in his mind. He was going to do whatever he needed to do to help us succeed. Coy is without question our team leader. He leads by example and he can be vocal. He’s 100 percent about the team all the time.” That mindset has driven the Olympians to success this season. Every wrestler on the team will do whatever it takes to make the team better. Cooper feels that his squad can be a legitimate contender to win the team state title as long as they keep getting better. Leading the way for the Olympians is a core of young ranked wrestlers at the lower weights. Freshman Cayden Rooks is the No. 1-ranked 106-pounder in the state. Freshman Jake Schoenegge is ranked No. 14 at 113. Graham Rooks, who finished third last season at 106 pounds, is now ranked No. 4 at 120. Sophomore Dawson Combest is the 14th ranked 126 pounder in the state. “Those guys kind of give you some hammers in your lineup,” Cooper said. “They are the kind of guys that live and breathe wrestling. They are the kind of kids that have been in big meets before, and big situations. That experience, even at a young age, helps everyone on the team.” The only other ranked wrestler on the Columbus East squad is senior heavyweight Sean Galliger. Galliger is ranked No. 5. Rounding out the lineup is sophomore Corbin Pollitt at 132, senior Jake Martindale at 138, freshman Hunter Dickmeyer at 145, senior Ben Wilkerson at 152, junior Austin Wilson at 160, sophomore Lane Goode at 182, junior Seth Turner at 195 and junior Austin Sheckles at 220. Senior Quade Greiwe was a semistate qualifier last season for the Olympians, but had a season-ending ACL injury earlier this year. The Olympians started the season out with a loss to sectional rival Jennings County, 37-28. Cooper is hoping the team has improved significantly since that time. “We are fired up for the state tournament to begin,” Cooper said. “We are not the best team in the state today. We didn’t start out as the best team in the state. But we hope to be one of, if not the best team in the state come tournament time. “Jennings County is tough. They beat us already. They are returning sectional champions. But we hope we are a different team now and up to the challenge.” The Olympians last won the Jennings County sectional title in 2013. In 2014 Columbus East finished fifth behind Greensburg, Jennings County, Madison and Columbus North. Twenty points separated the top five teams that season. Last year Jennings County ran away with the championship – outscoring Columbus East 268-148. Cooper has stressed the importance of summer wrestling to his team – which has bought in to his philosophy. The kids wrestled over 30 matches during the offseason and also bonded as a team. Now they are also buying into Cooper’s philosophy that they have to improve each and every day. “I think that’s one of the biggest keys to success,” Cooper said. “You have to use every day to get better. Every day you have to make a conscious effort to improve in something.” The Olympians have tried to make their schedule very difficult, especially early on. “We want to find out early what our flaws and our weaknesses are,” Cooper said. “That’s why we start with such a tough schedule. Then we can work on those flaws, and as the season progresses we really show how battle tested we are.” Click here to view the article
  11. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com In a matter of seconds, Richmond’s Alston Bane caught the attention of the Indiana wrestling community. Last season Bane entered the state tournament as a relative unknown. He was ranked 18th at the time of the tournament. He advanced to state with a fourth place finish in the New Castle semistate, a tournament in which he was pinned by Trent Pruitt and he lost a decision to Evan Smiley. His Friday night draw didn’t seem favorable. He had to go up against the No. 2-ranked grappler in the 145 pound weight class in Yorktown’s Cael McCormick. But Bane loved the draw. “I had wrestled Cael several times when we were younger,” Bane said. “He beat me in Greco each time, but anytime we wrestled and I could touch his legs, I beat him. So I had a lot of confidence going up against him.” Bane ended up scoring a last-second takedown with his signature dump move to beat McCormick 4-3. He wasn’t done quite yet. He went on to knock off No. 5-ranked Blake Jourdan and then avenged two earlier losses to Smiley, the No. 4-ranked guy in the weight class, to take third at state. Bane’s only loss at Banker’s Life Arena was to eventual state champion Jacob Covaciu in a close 4-2 affair. Bane’s third place finish was better than anyone else from the New Castle semistate in that weight class. Now, a year later, a lot more people know about Alston Bane. He has bumped up to the 160-pound weight class where he is currently ranked No. 2 behind only Covaciu. “People knew me before the state tournament last year,” Bane said. “But I never really got a lot of recognition. A lot of people didn’t see me as a threat. Now this year I have a little bit more of a target on my back.” Last season there was a question as to whether Bane would even be able to wrestle in the state tournament. He tore the meniscus in his knee and had to miss the North Central Conference tournament. “That was very tough on me, mentally,” Bane said. “I knew as soon as it happened what it was. It was my third time doing it. I tore the meniscus once on my left knee and it was the second time on my right knee. I couldn’t walk. I was crying as I was sitting on the trainer’s bench and then my dad (Richmond coach Jeremy Bane) came over and when he saw me he started tearing up, too.” Bane knew he had to force himself to recover, and quickly if he wanted any shot at wrestling come sectional time. “I really worked hard and pushed to get my leg where I could walk on it and get stability,” Bane said. “I sat out of the NCC meet, but mentally I knew I just had to push through the pain and get my strength back.” The recovery process, and then his dramatic run through the state tournament have helped Bane to be much more confident this season. He believes that’s the biggest difference for him between last year and this year. “My confidence has improved a lot,” he said. “That is a huge factor for me. I really feel now, especially after state last year, that I can wrestle with anyone.” Coach Bane can see the change as well. “The big thing for Alston now is his confidence and his belief in himself,” Jeremy Bane said. Alston grew up wrestling with some of Indiana’s elite wrestlers. He and Chad Red are good friends dating back to when they were in elementary school wrestling tournaments together. Jeremy and Chad Red Sr., coached together at Red Cobra and Lawrence Central. “We have some of the kids that we coached that are really good at the high school level now,” Jeremy said. “Alston grew up with Chad, Brayton Lee, Blake Rypel and a few others. They are all very successful now.” Bane, a junior, recently won his 100th match. It was one of several goals he has for himself, which culminates in winning a state championship. Eventually Bane would like to wrestle in college. He’s a two-sport athlete who stands out on the football field for the Red Devil defense. As a sophomore Bane recorded 67 tackles and had eight interceptions. This season he moved to strong safety and finished with 88 tackles and an interception. “I’ve talked to a lot of college coaches and I’ve went to so many wrestling camps,” Alston said. “Coaches make it clear that they really like kids that play multiple sports. I love being competitive and football helps me do that, and plus it’s a lot of fun to play.” Bane finds himself having to alter his style slightly to deal with the stronger opponents he is facing this year in the 160-pound class. He tries to utilize his technique and speed more than relying on his strength. “He has unbelievable grip strength though,” coach Bane said. “He isn’t going to get outmuscled by many guys.” Coach Bane says that guys wrestle Alston differently this season, now that they know more about him. “We see a lot of the better wrestlers wrestling Alston with a more defensive approach,” Jeremy said. “They try to take away his offense and they look for certain moves. But he has several ways to score the takedown and he’s been pretty successful.” Bane is currently undefeated on the season. His closest match came in the New Castle Invitational against Lawrenceburg’s No. 7-ranked Jake Ruberg. Bane won the contest 4-3 in double overtime. “We have almost identical styles,” Bane said. “So those matches are very close.” Bane is currently wrestling in Spartan Classic at Connersville. This is a tournament he has never won. He was third as a freshman and lost last year to Evan Smiley.
  12. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com In a matter of seconds, Richmond’s Alston Bane caught the attention of the Indiana wrestling community. Last season Bane entered the state tournament as a relative unknown. He was ranked 18th at the time of the tournament. He advanced to state with a fourth place finish in the New Castle semistate, a tournament in which he was pinned by Trent Pruitt and he lost a decision to Evan Smiley. His Friday night draw didn’t seem favorable. He had to go up against the No. 2-ranked grappler in the 145 pound weight class in Yorktown’s Cael McCormick. But Bane loved the draw. “I had wrestled Cael several times when we were younger,” Bane said. “He beat me in Greco each time, but anytime we wrestled and I could touch his legs, I beat him. So I had a lot of confidence going up against him.” Bane ended up scoring a last-second takedown with his signature dump move to beat McCormick 4-3. He wasn’t done quite yet. He went on to knock off No. 5-ranked Blake Jourdan and then avenged two earlier losses to Smiley, the No. 4-ranked guy in the weight class, to take third at state. Bane’s only loss at Banker’s Life Arena was to eventual state champion Jacob Covaciu in a close 4-2 affair. Bane’s third place finish was better than anyone else from the New Castle semistate in that weight class. Now, a year later, a lot more people know about Alston Bane. He has bumped up to the 160-pound weight class where he is currently ranked No. 2 behind only Covaciu. “People knew me before the state tournament last year,” Bane said. “But I never really got a lot of recognition. A lot of people didn’t see me as a threat. Now this year I have a little bit more of a target on my back.” Last season there was a question as to whether Bane would even be able to wrestle in the state tournament. He tore the meniscus in his knee and had to miss the North Central Conference tournament. “That was very tough on me, mentally,” Bane said. “I knew as soon as it happened what it was. It was my third time doing it. I tore the meniscus once on my left knee and it was the second time on my right knee. I couldn’t walk. I was crying as I was sitting on the trainer’s bench and then my dad (Richmond coach Jeremy Bane) came over and when he saw me he started tearing up, too.” Bane knew he had to force himself to recover, and quickly if he wanted any shot at wrestling come sectional time. “I really worked hard and pushed to get my leg where I could walk on it and get stability,” Bane said. “I sat out of the NCC meet, but mentally I knew I just had to push through the pain and get my strength back.” The recovery process, and then his dramatic run through the state tournament have helped Bane to be much more confident this season. He believes that’s the biggest difference for him between last year and this year. “My confidence has improved a lot,” he said. “That is a huge factor for me. I really feel now, especially after state last year, that I can wrestle with anyone.” Coach Bane can see the change as well. “The big thing for Alston now is his confidence and his belief in himself,” Jeremy Bane said. Alston grew up wrestling with some of Indiana’s elite wrestlers. He and Chad Red are good friends dating back to when they were in elementary school wrestling tournaments together. Jeremy and Chad Red Sr., coached together at Red Cobra and Lawrence Central. “We have some of the kids that we coached that are really good at the high school level now,” Jeremy said. “Alston grew up with Chad, Brayton Lee, Blake Rypel and a few others. They are all very successful now.” Bane, a junior, recently won his 100th match. It was one of several goals he has for himself, which culminates in winning a state championship. Eventually Bane would like to wrestle in college. He’s a two-sport athlete who stands out on the football field for the Red Devil defense. As a sophomore Bane recorded 67 tackles and had eight interceptions. This season he moved to strong safety and finished with 88 tackles and an interception. “I’ve talked to a lot of college coaches and I’ve went to so many wrestling camps,” Alston said. “Coaches make it clear that they really like kids that play multiple sports. I love being competitive and football helps me do that, and plus it’s a lot of fun to play.” Bane finds himself having to alter his style slightly to deal with the stronger opponents he is facing this year in the 160-pound class. He tries to utilize his technique and speed more than relying on his strength. “He has unbelievable grip strength though,” coach Bane said. “He isn’t going to get outmuscled by many guys.” Coach Bane says that guys wrestle Alston differently this season, now that they know more about him. “We see a lot of the better wrestlers wrestling Alston with a more defensive approach,” Jeremy said. “They try to take away his offense and they look for certain moves. But he has several ways to score the takedown and he’s been pretty successful.” Bane is currently undefeated on the season. His closest match came in the New Castle Invitational against Lawrenceburg’s No. 7-ranked Jake Ruberg. Bane won the contest 4-3 in double overtime. “We have almost identical styles,” Bane said. “So those matches are very close.” Bane is currently wrestling in Spartan Classic at Connersville. This is a tournament he has never won. He was third as a freshman and lost last year to Evan Smiley. Click here to view the article
  13. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Nestled in the southeastern corner of Indiana, the modest town of Lawrenceburg has established itself as a tourism hot spot. The town is home to the Perfect North Slopes skiing resort, as well as the immensely popular Hollywood Casino. But lately, the top attraction has been the 220 pound monster that lurks in the wrestling room at Lawrenceburg High School. He goes by the name of Mason Parris. Parris took the state by storm last season as a freshman at 182 pounds. He went undefeated until the state finals, where he lost to eventual champion Chase Osborn 11-10. Parris finished third, with a 54-1 record. Parris was just 15 years old last year, wrestling in a weight class that showcases some of the most physically gifted specimen in the state. He more than proved he belonged. This season, all he has done is put on about 40 pounds of muscle. He’s bigger, stronger, faster and a lot more confident than he was as a freshman. “I thought I had a really good freshman year,” Parris said. “I made mistakes, and was able to learn from them. Going to state and placing well was a good experience. But this year, I want to do better. I am not satisfied. I’m working hard. I’m staying dedicated.” Parris, like most Indiana wrestlers, says he has dreamed of winning a state title since he was very young. Lawrenceburg coach Mark Kirchgassner knew the first time he watched Mason practice that there was something special about him. “I don’t even think Mason was in kindergarten yet,” Kirchgassner said. “I watched him wrestled and told his dad that Mason is going to be something special. He did things naturally that I had a hard time teaching high schoolers to do.” Parris is undefeated so far this season. He hasn’t faced many upper level competitors yet, but he certainly isn’t shying away from them. In one of his first matches this year Parris bumped up to heavyweight so he could go against Union County’s No. 13 ranked Clark Minges. All Parris did was tech fall the bigger Minges. “That was my first match wrestling a really big guy,” Parris said. “I knew I had to stay out from underneath him. I kept pressure on him and really tried to wear him out.” One of Parris’ main partners in the practice room is No. 6-ranked 160 pounder Jake Ruberg. The two have been wrestling together since they were in elementary school. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Ruberg’s speed helps Parris learn to deal with the faster opponents he will face, and Parris’ power helps Ruberg contend with the stronger guys he will go up against. “Mason really pushes me,” Ruberg said. “He really helps my wrestling improve because he is so big and overpowering. And he’s very positive in the room and he helps everyone with technique. I know he can throw me around if he wanted to, but he likes to work on countering my speed.” Parris prides himself on his work ethic. It’s something his coach sees first hand on a daily basis. “Mason has just one gear,” Kirchgassner said. “It’s always go, go, go. He works harder than about any kid I’ve ever seen, in every aspect. Even in his matches he works on his craft. He isn’t content to just go out and beat a guy. If there is a move he’s trying to work on, he will work on it in a match just to make sure he can do it.” Parris is aware that to win a state championship, there is a likelihood he will have to go up against No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Kobe Wood. “Kobe Woods is a very good wrestler and I’ve been preparing for him all year,” Parris said. During the offseason Parris wrestled at the UFC wrestling championships in Las Vegas. He competed at 220 pounds in the 18U division, and won. “That was a great experience, wrestling in the 18U division with a team,” Parris said. “I faced some very good wrestlers.” Parris is also a gifted football player in the fall. He was a junior All-State in class 3A (he’s a sophomore), and was the defensive MVP in Lawrenceburg’s conference. He plays middle linebacker and offensive guard. This year Lawrenceburg finished with a 7-3 record. “I like football and wrestling equally,” Parris said. “I couldn’t choose a favorite.” Right now Parris is solely concentrating on wrestling. He hopes that focus leads to a state title. One thing is for sure, right now Mason Parris is the biggest attraction in Lawrenceburg.
  14. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Nestled in the southeastern corner of Indiana, the modest town of Lawrenceburg has established itself as a tourism hot spot. The town is home to the Perfect North Slopes skiing resort, as well as the immensely popular Hollywood Casino. But lately, the top attraction has been the 220 pound monster that lurks in the wrestling room at Lawrenceburg High School. He goes by the name of Mason Parris. Parris took the state by storm last season as a freshman at 182 pounds. He went undefeated until the state finals, where he lost to eventual champion Chase Osborn 11-10. Parris finished third, with a 54-1 record. Parris was just 15 years old last year, wrestling in a weight class that showcases some of the most physically gifted specimen in the state. He more than proved he belonged. This season, all he has done is put on about 40 pounds of muscle. He’s bigger, stronger, faster and a lot more confident than he was as a freshman. “I thought I had a really good freshman year,” Parris said. “I made mistakes, and was able to learn from them. Going to state and placing well was a good experience. But this year, I want to do better. I am not satisfied. I’m working hard. I’m staying dedicated.” Parris, like most Indiana wrestlers, says he has dreamed of winning a state title since he was very young. Lawrenceburg coach Mark Kirchgassner knew the first time he watched Mason practice that there was something special about him. “I don’t even think Mason was in kindergarten yet,” Kirchgassner said. “I watched him wrestled and told his dad that Mason is going to be something special. He did things naturally that I had a hard time teaching high schoolers to do.” Parris is undefeated so far this season. He hasn’t faced many upper level competitors yet, but he certainly isn’t shying away from them. In one of his first matches this year Parris bumped up to heavyweight so he could go against Union County’s No. 13 ranked Clark Minges. All Parris did was tech fall the bigger Minges. “That was my first match wrestling a really big guy,” Parris said. “I knew I had to stay out from underneath him. I kept pressure on him and really tried to wear him out.” One of Parris’ main partners in the practice room is No. 6-ranked 160 pounder Jake Ruberg. The two have been wrestling together since they were in elementary school. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Ruberg’s speed helps Parris learn to deal with the faster opponents he will face, and Parris’ power helps Ruberg contend with the stronger guys he will go up against. “Mason really pushes me,” Ruberg said. “He really helps my wrestling improve because he is so big and overpowering. And he’s very positive in the room and he helps everyone with technique. I know he can throw me around if he wanted to, but he likes to work on countering my speed.” Parris prides himself on his work ethic. It’s something his coach sees first hand on a daily basis. “Mason has just one gear,” Kirchgassner said. “It’s always go, go, go. He works harder than about any kid I’ve ever seen, in every aspect. Even in his matches he works on his craft. He isn’t content to just go out and beat a guy. If there is a move he’s trying to work on, he will work on it in a match just to make sure he can do it.” Parris is aware that to win a state championship, there is a likelihood he will have to go up against No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Kobe Wood. “Kobe Woods is a very good wrestler and I’ve been preparing for him all year,” Parris said. During the offseason Parris wrestled at the UFC wrestling championships in Las Vegas. He competed at 220 pounds in the 18U division, and won. “That was a great experience, wrestling in the 18U division with a team,” Parris said. “I faced some very good wrestlers.” Parris is also a gifted football player in the fall. He was a junior All-State in class 3A (he’s a sophomore), and was the defensive MVP in Lawrenceburg’s conference. He plays middle linebacker and offensive guard. This year Lawrenceburg finished with a 7-3 record. “I like football and wrestling equally,” Parris said. “I couldn’t choose a favorite.” Right now Parris is solely concentrating on wrestling. He hopes that focus leads to a state title. One thing is for sure, right now Mason Parris is the biggest attraction in Lawrenceburg. Click here to view the article
  15. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com In an instance Kadin Poe went from a wrestling standout, to someone broken so badly he wasn’t sure he’d be able to wrestle again. It happened on a Monday evening in May, near Murray St., in Indianapolis. Poe and his friend Kyle Dicecco were just walking home. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark colored Chrysler 300 came barreling down the street, right into Poe. He hit the windshield and landed on the side of the road. The car never stopped. To this day, the driver’s identity is not known. But what is known is that Poe, who had qualified for the IHSAA state championships as a wrestler earlier in the year, was now in a battle for his life. He had a broken neck, a concussion, his eyes were swollen, his hands and back were scraped badly. “I was just walking to get my book bag from my buddy’s house,” Poe said. “He lived two streets over at the time. I was walking back with him. I stopped at the stop sign and then a car came and hit me.” At first Kyle tried to chase the car down to get more information. But he quickly returned to his friend, picked him up and walked him home. Poe was quickly transported to the hospital, where he spent several days. Doctors initially weren’t sure if Poe would be able to wrestle again, because of the severity of the neck injury. But soon he was told that he would have no permanent damage. That’s when the recovery began. Poe was going to wrestle again – and nothing was standing in his way. “My mom really helped me more than anything,” Poe said. “She and my coaches pushed me, even when I didn’t want to be pushed.” Poe had gained a lot of weight due to the recovery process. At first he wasn’t allowed to exercise, so he sit at home on medication. He quickly got up to over 150 pounds. “The hardest part of battling back was getting back into shape and getting my weight back down,” Poe said. “A lot of people were doubting me. Everything at that point was just tough.” But Poe did make it back. This season he opened the year wrestling a match at 138 pound. He pinned his opponent. But in his next match he injured his shoulder and is expected to miss two to three more weeks because of the injury. He is hoping he can be back sooner, and be trimmed down to 126 pounds in the process. “I want to win a state title within the next two years,” Poe, a junior at Decatur Central, said. “Then I want to go on and win nationals in college. I will bounce back from this.” Poe’s coach, Angelo Roble, believes in his wrestler. “I remember him sitting in the hospital with tubes running all through him,” Roble said. “But I never doubted that he would be back because he’s a tough kid. What makes him a great wrestler isn’t as much his technique, as it is his fight. He hates to lose more than he loves to win.” Poe believes going through this adversity has just fueled his desire to get stronger, and better on the mat. “It’s been a real struggle,” he said. “At first I was starting to think my career was over. And now I’m back to wrestling. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m back.” Roble credits Poe’s mentality for his rapid progression. “Anything this kid puts his mind to, he does well,” Roble said. “We do a lot of things to have fun in practice, like playing football. He always wants to be the quarterback. He wants to have the ball if he is playing basketball and in the wrestling room he wants center circle so everyone knows it’s his room. I hope that attitude carries over to everything in life. All he has to do is put in the effort and he will be successful.”
  16. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com In an instance Kadin Poe went from a wrestling standout, to someone broken so badly he wasn’t sure he’d be able to wrestle again. It happened on a Monday evening in May, near Murray St., in Indianapolis. Poe and his friend Kyle Dicecco were just walking home. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark colored Chrysler 300 came barreling down the street, right into Poe. He hit the windshield and landed on the side of the road. The car never stopped. To this day, the driver’s identity is not known. But what is known is that Poe, who had qualified for the IHSAA state championships as a wrestler earlier in the year, was now in a battle for his life. He had a broken neck, a concussion, his eyes were swollen, his hands and back were scraped badly. “I was just walking to get my book bag from my buddy’s house,” Poe said. “He lived two streets over at the time. I was walking back with him. I stopped at the stop sign and then a car came and hit me.” At first Kyle tried to chase the car down to get more information. But he quickly returned to his friend, picked him up and walked him home. Poe was quickly transported to the hospital, where he spent several days. Doctors initially weren’t sure if Poe would be able to wrestle again, because of the severity of the neck injury. But soon he was told that he would have no permanent damage. That’s when the recovery began. Poe was going to wrestle again – and nothing was standing in his way. “My mom really helped me more than anything,” Poe said. “She and my coaches pushed me, even when I didn’t want to be pushed.” Poe had gained a lot of weight due to the recovery process. At first he wasn’t allowed to exercise, so he sit at home on medication. He quickly got up to over 150 pounds. “The hardest part of battling back was getting back into shape and getting my weight back down,” Poe said. “A lot of people were doubting me. Everything at that point was just tough.” But Poe did make it back. This season he opened the year wrestling a match at 138 pound. He pinned his opponent. But in his next match he injured his shoulder and is expected to miss two to three more weeks because of the injury. He is hoping he can be back sooner, and be trimmed down to 126 pounds in the process. “I want to win a state title within the next two years,” Poe, a junior at Decatur Central, said. “Then I want to go on and win nationals in college. I will bounce back from this.” Poe’s coach, Angelo Roble, believes in his wrestler. “I remember him sitting in the hospital with tubes running all through him,” Roble said. “But I never doubted that he would be back because he’s a tough kid. What makes him a great wrestler isn’t as much his technique, as it is his fight. He hates to lose more than he loves to win.” Poe believes going through this adversity has just fueled his desire to get stronger, and better on the mat. “It’s been a real struggle,” he said. “At first I was starting to think my career was over. And now I’m back to wrestling. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m back.” Roble credits Poe’s mentality for his rapid progression. “Anything this kid puts his mind to, he does well,” Roble said. “We do a lot of things to have fun in practice, like playing football. He always wants to be the quarterback. He wants to have the ball if he is playing basketball and in the wrestling room he wants center circle so everyone knows it’s his room. I hope that attitude carries over to everything in life. All he has to do is put in the effort and he will be successful.” Click here to view the article
  17. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com There were times growing up as a wrestler in Portage that Darren Elkins wished he could have punched his opponent in the teeth. The 2004 state champion never acted on those impulses in high school. Now he makes a living trying to knock guys out. Elkins is a seasoned mixed martial arts fighter who is currently ranked No. 12 in the world in the UFC featherweight division. Elkins was the first featherweight to win five consecutive fights. “I always tell people this,” said Elkins. “I like to get wrestlers into the gym and I tell them why I like MMA. I think back to all the times in wrestling when I was like, man, I just want to punch this guy. Maybe he was taking cheap shots at me, or elbowing me. There was nothing I could do about it then. But now, if I want to punch my opponent, that’s encouraged. They pay me to do it.” In 2004 Elkins was one of a host of state champions that went on to have great careers after high school. The list of state champions that year include Angel Escobedo (won an NCAA championship), Reece Humphrey (on the USA wrestling team), Elkins, Matt Coughlin and Alex Tsirtsis. Eric McGill, another former Indiana great, was a runner-up that year. Elkins credits his wrestling background, and the mentality he got from coach Ed Pendowski at Portage, for part of his MMA success. “Wrestling teaches you to train hard,” Elkins said. “I’ve always put in the work. I put in the time training and each fight I strive to be better than I was before. I think the grinding style we had at Portage transferred to MMA very well. Coach Pendowski was all about takedowns. We would take people down, then let them up. In MMA you want those takedowns but you aren’t staying on the guys because they can get you in a submission.” He also credits some of his toughness from growing up with an older brother, Rickie, who was a state runner-up in high school. “Rickie was always bigger than me,” Darren said. “He always got the best of me. He was ranked No. 1 in high school in his weight class. It wasn’t until I took on fighting and he started getting out of shape a little that I could beat him.” Elkins has a professional record of 20-5. He is hoping to get back in the UFC Octagon soon. Right now he trains six days a week in Indiana. Before his last fight, a unanimous decision over Rob Whiteford in UFC Fight Night in October, Elkins had trained in Sacramento with Team Alpha Male. Elkins is hoping to climb back in to the top 10 rankings, a place he has been before. “Right now it’s just about climbing back into that top 10,” he said. Although Elkins says having a wrestling foundation is a huge asset in MMA, you have to be able to develop more skills to be successful. “You really have to develop your all around fighting techniques,” he said. “You can’t just rely on wrestling.” Elkins also knows the importance of staying healthy. He does not eat processed food. He cuts down on sugar and salt and only eats organic. That has helped with maintaining his weight for fights. As far as athletic highlights, Elkins doesn’t have one favorite. “I’ve had so many great moments, and I really don’t put one over the other,” he said. “Winning state was one of my best moments. It was something I dreamed of since I was 5-years-old. Then, getting called to fight in the UFC, and then winning in the UFC. Those are all very great memories for me.” Elkins is married and has an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. His daughter swims competitively and his son has started wrestling. “Right now it’s his first year,” Elkins said. “I don’t want to push him. I want him to enjoy it. Right now my daughter goes to practices too because she said if my son gets to wrestle, she does too.”
  18. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com There were times growing up as a wrestler in Portage that Darren Elkins wished he could have punched his opponent in the teeth. The 2004 state champion never acted on those impulses in high school. Now he makes a living trying to knock guys out. Elkins is a seasoned mixed martial arts fighter who is currently ranked No. 12 in the world in the UFC featherweight division. Elkins was the first featherweight to win five consecutive fights. “I always tell people this,” said Elkins. “I like to get wrestlers into the gym and I tell them why I like MMA. I think back to all the times in wrestling when I was like, man, I just want to punch this guy. Maybe he was taking cheap shots at me, or elbowing me. There was nothing I could do about it then. But now, if I want to punch my opponent, that’s encouraged. They pay me to do it.” In 2004 Elkins was one of a host of state champions that went on to have great careers after high school. The list of state champions that year include Angel Escobedo (won an NCAA championship), Reece Humphrey (on the USA wrestling team), Elkins, Matt Coughlin and Alex Tsirtsis. Eric McGill, another former Indiana great, was a runner-up that year. Elkins credits his wrestling background, and the mentality he got from coach Ed Pendowski at Portage, for part of his MMA success. “Wrestling teaches you to train hard,” Elkins said. “I’ve always put in the work. I put in the time training and each fight I strive to be better than I was before. I think the grinding style we had at Portage transferred to MMA very well. Coach Pendowski was all about takedowns. We would take people down, then let them up. In MMA you want those takedowns but you aren’t staying on the guys because they can get you in a submission.” He also credits some of his toughness from growing up with an older brother, Rickie, who was a state runner-up in high school. “Rickie was always bigger than me,” Darren said. “He always got the best of me. He was ranked No. 1 in high school in his weight class. It wasn’t until I took on fighting and he started getting out of shape a little that I could beat him.” Elkins has a professional record of 20-5. He is hoping to get back in the UFC Octagon soon. Right now he trains six days a week in Indiana. Before his last fight, a unanimous decision over Rob Whiteford in UFC Fight Night in October, Elkins had trained in Sacramento with Team Alpha Male. Elkins is hoping to climb back in to the top 10 rankings, a place he has been before. “Right now it’s just about climbing back into that top 10,” he said. Although Elkins says having a wrestling foundation is a huge asset in MMA, you have to be able to develop more skills to be successful. “You really have to develop your all around fighting techniques,” he said. “You can’t just rely on wrestling.” Elkins also knows the importance of staying healthy. He does not eat processed food. He cuts down on sugar and salt and only eats organic. That has helped with maintaining his weight for fights. As far as athletic highlights, Elkins doesn’t have one favorite. “I’ve had so many great moments, and I really don’t put one over the other,” he said. “Winning state was one of my best moments. It was something I dreamed of since I was 5-years-old. Then, getting called to fight in the UFC, and then winning in the UFC. Those are all very great memories for me.” Elkins is married and has an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. His daughter swims competitively and his son has started wrestling. “Right now it’s his first year,” Elkins said. “I don’t want to push him. I want him to enjoy it. Right now my daughter goes to practices too because she said if my son gets to wrestle, she does too.” Click here to view the article
  19. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com MANCHESTER – Kevin Lake wasn’t a great wrestler back at New Haven High School. He was just a one-time regional qualifier. But what Lake lacked in wrestling success, he has made up for in coaching success. He has found his calling in coaching the sport he loves. “I was very average in high school and college,” Lake said. “But I felt like I blossomed as a coach after traveling around and learning from some of the best coaches out there. I was always a mat rat. I was always in the coaches’ rooms trying to learn more about the sport. When you become a coach, you learn things better than when you are an athlete. You get a different perspective.” Lake was recently hired as the new head wrestling coach at Manchester University. While he doesn’t have the athletic pedigree some coaches have, Lake has certainly immersed himself in learning the sport of wrestling. Lake grew up in a coaches’ home. His dad, Gary, was a long time football coach at New Haven, Ft. Wayne Wayne and Ft. Wayne Elmhurst. “Coaching was a big part of my childhood,” Lake said. “Some of my fondest memories are with my dad in the locker rooms and on the sports field. Sports really played a huge role in my life.” Gary Lake is a member of the Manchester Hall of Fame. So is Kevin’s twin sister, Leanne. “My sister was a much better athlete than me,” Lake said. “She played basketball and softball at Manchester. She’s also in the Hall of Fame there. I’m the only one not in the Hall of Fame. I guess my only shot now is to get there by coaching.” Lake wrestled at Manchester under coach Tom Jarman. Lake refers to Jarman as a legend in the coaching world and as a mentor. After graduating from Manchester, Lake pursued his graduate degree at Central Michigan University. There he got involved with the wrestling program, and was able to learn from coach Tom Borrelli. “Central Michigan is really where I got the confidence and understanding of what it took to become a high level wrestling coach,” Lake said. “Even today, what I bring to the table is a lot of what I learned as a graduate assistant.” Lake took his first head coaching job at Division III, Mac Murray in Jacksonville, Ill. That job became a spring board to go to Princeton University as the head assistant coach. I coached an All-American there in Greg Parker,” Lake said. After Princeton, Lake spent a year at South Dakota State and worked with coach Jason Liles – who was an extremely successful Division II coach working his first job in Division I. Lake’s travels didn’t end there, however. That summer he got a call from a good friend, Shawn Charles, who was just hired as the head coach at Fresno State in California. Lake became his head assistant and moved his family out west. Fresno State dropped its wrestling program after just two years. Lake got out of the college coaching realm for a while at that point. He joined Beat the Streets in Los Angeles, a program that helps teach responsibility and values through wrestling. “I always had coaching in my heart and in my blood,” Lake said. “I knew if the right opportunity came up, I’d take it. That’s when the job at Manchester came open and I jumped at the chance.” Lake is married with two daughters. He moved to Manchester about a month ago, and recently his daughters saw snow for the first time. “The snow was like one of those slaps in the face welcome homes,” Lake said. “I didn’t realize how soft I had gotten. The snow is beautiful, but man is it cold.” Lake believes he has taken a little bit from each coach he worked with or was coached by over the years. “At Central Michigan I learned how to lead and how to run practices,” Lake said. “My time at Fresno State I learned under one of the best technicians in the sport. Shawn Charles taught me knowledge and technique. “At Princeton, the philosophy of Princeton athletics as a whole really related to how I want my athletes to be. It was a value of higher education and pursuit of excellence that I really liked.” At Manchester, Lake knows the program isn’t going to become a national powerhouse overnight. But he wants his athletes to all be high achievers in athletics, character and wrestling. “I want them to be the best in the classroom, on the mats and to act with class on the streets,” Lake said. Lake said when looking for wrestlers for his program, he looks for kids with a workmanlike attitude. He likes aggressiveness – guys that will push the pace and also have good defensive skills. He wants smart wrestlers with strong core values. “I look for effort, too,” Lake said. “Often times you can tell more about how a kid comes back from barely losing a match. You can tell if he’s hungry and has something to prove. Those are the kids that I think can thrive. I want those type of kids.”
  20. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com MANCHESTER – Kevin Lake wasn’t a great wrestler back at New Haven High School. He was just a one-time regional qualifier. But what Lake lacked in wrestling success, he has made up for in coaching success. He has found his calling in coaching the sport he loves. “I was very average in high school and college,” Lake said. “But I felt like I blossomed as a coach after traveling around and learning from some of the best coaches out there. I was always a mat rat. I was always in the coaches’ rooms trying to learn more about the sport. When you become a coach, you learn things better than when you are an athlete. You get a different perspective.” Lake was recently hired as the new head wrestling coach at Manchester University. While he doesn’t have the athletic pedigree some coaches have, Lake has certainly immersed himself in learning the sport of wrestling. Lake grew up in a coaches’ home. His dad, Gary, was a long time football coach at New Haven, Ft. Wayne Wayne and Ft. Wayne Elmhurst. “Coaching was a big part of my childhood,” Lake said. “Some of my fondest memories are with my dad in the locker rooms and on the sports field. Sports really played a huge role in my life.” Gary Lake is a member of the Manchester Hall of Fame. So is Kevin’s twin sister, Leanne. “My sister was a much better athlete than me,” Lake said. “She played basketball and softball at Manchester. She’s also in the Hall of Fame there. I’m the only one not in the Hall of Fame. I guess my only shot now is to get there by coaching.” Lake wrestled at Manchester under coach Tom Jarman. Lake refers to Jarman as a legend in the coaching world and as a mentor. After graduating from Manchester, Lake pursued his graduate degree at Central Michigan University. There he got involved with the wrestling program, and was able to learn from coach Tom Borrelli. “Central Michigan is really where I got the confidence and understanding of what it took to become a high level wrestling coach,” Lake said. “Even today, what I bring to the table is a lot of what I learned as a graduate assistant.” Lake took his first head coaching job at Division III, Mac Murray in Jacksonville, Ill. That job became a spring board to go to Princeton University as the head assistant coach. I coached an All-American there in Greg Parker,” Lake said. After Princeton, Lake spent a year at South Dakota State and worked with coach Jason Liles – who was an extremely successful Division II coach working his first job in Division I. Lake’s travels didn’t end there, however. That summer he got a call from a good friend, Shawn Charles, who was just hired as the head coach at Fresno State in California. Lake became his head assistant and moved his family out west. Fresno State dropped its wrestling program after just two years. Lake got out of the college coaching realm for a while at that point. He joined Beat the Streets in Los Angeles, a program that helps teach responsibility and values through wrestling. “I always had coaching in my heart and in my blood,” Lake said. “I knew if the right opportunity came up, I’d take it. That’s when the job at Manchester came open and I jumped at the chance.” Lake is married with two daughters. He moved to Manchester about a month ago, and recently his daughters saw snow for the first time. “The snow was like one of those slaps in the face welcome homes,” Lake said. “I didn’t realize how soft I had gotten. The snow is beautiful, but man is it cold.” Lake believes he has taken a little bit from each coach he worked with or was coached by over the years. “At Central Michigan I learned how to lead and how to run practices,” Lake said. “My time at Fresno State I learned under one of the best technicians in the sport. Shawn Charles taught me knowledge and technique. “At Princeton, the philosophy of Princeton athletics as a whole really related to how I want my athletes to be. It was a value of higher education and pursuit of excellence that I really liked.” At Manchester, Lake knows the program isn’t going to become a national powerhouse overnight. But he wants his athletes to all be high achievers in athletics, character and wrestling. “I want them to be the best in the classroom, on the mats and to act with class on the streets,” Lake said. Lake said when looking for wrestlers for his program, he looks for kids with a workmanlike attitude. He likes aggressiveness – guys that will push the pace and also have good defensive skills. He wants smart wrestlers with strong core values. “I look for effort, too,” Lake said. “Often times you can tell more about how a kid comes back from barely losing a match. You can tell if he’s hungry and has something to prove. Those are the kids that I think can thrive. I want those type of kids.” Click here to view the article
  21. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com When the Indiana High School rankings are revealed, it will appear that there is one glaring omission. Paul Konrath, who finished second at 106 pounds his freshman year and third at 113 pounds as a sophomore, has chosen to not wrestle this high school season. Konrath is also a Flo and a Fargo champion. “This was a tough decision,” Konrath said. “There was quite a bit of thought behind it. My dad and I weighed the opportunities we saw with not wrestling for a high school and decided that was probably the best option for me.” Konrath, who had previously wrestled for Mt. Vernon High School, has also decided to complete his education at Indiana Connections Academy, and online school. The change in school to an online program will allow Konrath to wrestle in multiple national tournaments throughout the year. Those national tournaments are what the family is hoping will bring the most competition and the most college exposure to Paul. Tim Konrath, Paul’s dad, didn’t like that Paul had to miss out on several tournaments due to high school. “We went to as many tournaments as we could last year,” Tim said. “But the school frowns on missing too many days and we really pushed that envelope. His grades are very good, but they still want you in class.” With the online schooling, that frees Paul up to do more traveling. Paul will compete in Las Vegas, Missouri and in several other states this year. The Konrath family believes that by entering so many national tournaments, they will get more college exposure than wrestling the high school season. They also are excited that they will get to train with top notch coaches they have met through some of the big tournaments. Another reason for the decision, is that the rigors of high school wrestling have taken a toll on Paul, physically. Paul has dislocated his elbow, cracked his sternum and broken his nose more times than he can remember. He has also dislocated his knee cap multiple times. He had surgery on his knee earlier this year. “He really has to get some rest,” Tim said. “The high school season seems to always be hardest on his body, and the least rewarding as far as furthering his collegiate career.” Paul, a devout Christian, doesn’t have a specific college he’s looking to attend. He doesn’t know yet what he wants to study or what he wants to do after college. He said all of those things he has left undecided, waiting to hear what God has in store for him. “I know I may sound like a broken record,” Paul said. “But for me it’s a big deal to make sure I’m going where God wants me to, and doing what God wants me to do. I don’t want to get any ideas in my head about college or a career and it not be God’s plan.” That doesn’t mean Paul doesn’t have goals. He wants to climb the national rankings as high as he can and he wants to keep getting better. He also hopes to stay healthy. Paul is one of six Konrath brothers. His older brother Andrew was the best wrestler of the group, until Paul came along. Andrew was a two-time state qualifier. “All of my boys, except Paul, started wrestling when they got to high school,” Tim said. “None of them started young like Paul. The boys actually pushed me to get Paul in a program early. “I didn’t know how he would do. Then the coach called and told me that Paul was some sort of freak of nature, and I thought, ‘Yeah right, he’s a momma’s boy’. Then I went out and watched him and saw how much he loved wrestling and how he was pretty good at it. He won that tournament and we’ve been doing tournaments ever since.” Paul said his favorite moment in wrestling was after he won at Fargo and was able to talk about God during his video interview. “I’ve went to church my whole life and I have a passion for talking to the people around me about God,” Paul said. “That’s why whenever we go to a tournament I always meet new friends and I get to tell them about what Jesus has done for me. I love that.” Whether or not the decision to not wrestle in high school will help Paul’s recruitment process has yet to be determined. The Konraths are going all-in with the idea that increasing Paul’s national presence can only help. Paul still has strong ties with the Mt. Vernon wrestling family. His former high school coaches have been supportive. Paul plans to be at as many meets as he can, as a fan, and to be the team’s biggest supporter. “It’s tough because Paul really loved the kids in that program, and the coaches,” Tim said. “But we feel we are still representing Mt. Vernon whenever he goes to these big tournaments. Not only is Paul representing Mt. Vernon, he’s representing Indiana and that’s something he takes very seriously.”
  22. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com When the Indiana High School rankings are revealed, it will appear that there is one glaring omission. Paul Konrath, who finished second at 106 pounds his freshman year and third at 113 pounds as a sophomore, has chosen to not wrestle this high school season. Konrath is also a Flo and a Fargo champion. “This was a tough decision,” Konrath said. “There was quite a bit of thought behind it. My dad and I weighed the opportunities we saw with not wrestling for a high school and decided that was probably the best option for me.” Konrath, who had previously wrestled for Mt. Vernon High School, has also decided to complete his education at Indiana Connections Academy, and online school. The change in school to an online program will allow Konrath to wrestle in multiple national tournaments throughout the year. Those national tournaments are what the family is hoping will bring the most competition and the most college exposure to Paul. Tim Konrath, Paul’s dad, didn’t like that Paul had to miss out on several tournaments due to high school. “We went to as many tournaments as we could last year,” Tim said. “But the school frowns on missing too many days and we really pushed that envelope. His grades are very good, but they still want you in class.” With the online schooling, that frees Paul up to do more traveling. Paul will compete in Las Vegas, Missouri and in several other states this year. The Konrath family believes that by entering so many national tournaments, they will get more college exposure than wrestling the high school season. They also are excited that they will get to train with top notch coaches they have met through some of the big tournaments. Another reason for the decision, is that the rigors of high school wrestling have taken a toll on Paul, physically. Paul has dislocated his elbow, cracked his sternum and broken his nose more times than he can remember. He has also dislocated his knee cap multiple times. He had surgery on his knee earlier this year. “He really has to get some rest,” Tim said. “The high school season seems to always be hardest on his body, and the least rewarding as far as furthering his collegiate career.” Paul, a devout Christian, doesn’t have a specific college he’s looking to attend. He doesn’t know yet what he wants to study or what he wants to do after college. He said all of those things he has left undecided, waiting to hear what God has in store for him. “I know I may sound like a broken record,” Paul said. “But for me it’s a big deal to make sure I’m going where God wants me to, and doing what God wants me to do. I don’t want to get any ideas in my head about college or a career and it not be God’s plan.” That doesn’t mean Paul doesn’t have goals. He wants to climb the national rankings as high as he can and he wants to keep getting better. He also hopes to stay healthy. Paul is one of six Konrath brothers. His older brother Andrew was the best wrestler of the group, until Paul came along. Andrew was a two-time state qualifier. “All of my boys, except Paul, started wrestling when they got to high school,” Tim said. “None of them started young like Paul. The boys actually pushed me to get Paul in a program early. “I didn’t know how he would do. Then the coach called and told me that Paul was some sort of freak of nature, and I thought, ‘Yeah right, he’s a momma’s boy’. Then I went out and watched him and saw how much he loved wrestling and how he was pretty good at it. He won that tournament and we’ve been doing tournaments ever since.” Paul said his favorite moment in wrestling was after he won at Fargo and was able to talk about God during his video interview. “I’ve went to church my whole life and I have a passion for talking to the people around me about God,” Paul said. “That’s why whenever we go to a tournament I always meet new friends and I get to tell them about what Jesus has done for me. I love that.” Whether or not the decision to not wrestle in high school will help Paul’s recruitment process has yet to be determined. The Konraths are going all-in with the idea that increasing Paul’s national presence can only help. Paul still has strong ties with the Mt. Vernon wrestling family. His former high school coaches have been supportive. Paul plans to be at as many meets as he can, as a fan, and to be the team’s biggest supporter. “It’s tough because Paul really loved the kids in that program, and the coaches,” Tim said. “But we feel we are still representing Mt. Vernon whenever he goes to these big tournaments. Not only is Paul representing Mt. Vernon, he’s representing Indiana and that’s something he takes very seriously.” Click here to view the article
  23. Photo by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers are Warriors By JEREMY HINES jerhines@cinergymetro.net When Reece Humphrey was in sixth grade he told his dad he wanted to try wrestling. He remembers his dad, Jim, having a big smile on his face when he learned the news. Soon Jim started showing up to Reece’s practices. Then he started running the practices. Reece thought his dad running practice was a little odd, until he found out that his dad was a World silver medalist and a two time Olympic wrestling coach. “I didn’t go out for wrestling because of my dad,” Reece said. “I didn’t even know about his career. I went out for wrestling because my friends talked me into it.” Now, over a decade later, Reece wrestles for a living. He is the United States’ top 61kg freestyle grappler and will represent his country at the World Championships this week in Las Vegas. Reece grew up in Indiana, where he was a three-time state champion representing Lawrence North High School. He then went to Ohio State where he earned All-American honors twice with the Buckeyes. “I remember back in high school, a state championship meant everything to me,” Humphrey said. “Then in college I wanted to be an NCAA champion. I ended up finishing second. But now, the ultimate goal is to win the World Championships, and I really feel like this is my year to do it.” Humphrey advanced to the Worlds by beating Daniel Dennis 12-1, 4-1 in the qualifying round. Now, at 29, he’s the second oldest member on the US team. Humphrey is joined by Tony Ramos (57kg), Brent Metcalf (65kg), James Green (70kg), Jordan Burroughs (74kg), Jake Herbert (86kg), Kyle Snyder (97kg) and Tervel Diagnev (125kg). “I’ve been practicing twice a day, 11 times a week all year long for this,” Humphrey said. “I love what I do. Wrestling is 24-7 for me.” Humphrey has cut nearly 30 pounds to get down to his competition weight. “That’s all I’m thinking about every second,” Humphrey said. “I’m on a strict diet. Making this weight is very tough for me. I’m pretty lean around 160 pounds.” His class, 61kg, is 134 pounds. This time at the World Championships Humphrey feels it is his time to take gold. “The first time I competed at World I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “The second time I lost a close one to a two-time medalist. Now I know how to train, how to prepare. The competition is on home soil and I’m so ready to go out and do this.” Humphrey feels this is his last chance to win a World medal. “I’m anxious, nervous and excited,” he said. “I feel the pressure, but I love it. You don’t get that many shots at winning a world title. You have to take each one seriously. This really could be my last chance. I want to go out on top.” Reece is proud of the fact he grew up in Indiana. “Indiana isn’t known as one of the best wrestling states,” he said. “But when I was wrestling we had about 10 really tough kids that did really well at nationals. Angel Escobedo is my training partner. He was a four-time champ from Indiana.” Humphrey teaches at a lot of camps throughout the state as a way of giving back. “I do a lot of camps,” he said. “I plan on opening a club (in Ohio, where he currently resides) when I’m done with the Olympics in Rio. I’m all around the country doing camps. I have no weekends, ever. But I love working with the kids and spreading my knowledge. It’s my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so many opportunities.” Wrestling allows Reece to be able to spend a lot of time with his family. He and his wife Meredith have two children – Parker, 4 and Reace, 3. “I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time at home with the kids,” Reace said. “And when they start school I’ll be retired. I get to be a huge part of their life.” This has been one of Humphrey’s most successful wrestling years so far. He won the US Open, made the world team and is now competing for a title. “Aleksander Bogomoev (Russia) is very tough,” Humphrey said of the top ranked 61kg grappler. “But I feel like I can go out and compete with anyone right now. I’m at the top of my game.”
  24. Photo by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers are Warriors By JEREMY HINES jerhines@cinergymetro.net When Reece Humphrey was in sixth grade he told his dad he wanted to try wrestling. He remembers his dad, Jim, having a big smile on his face when he learned the news. Soon Jim started showing up to Reece’s practices. Then he started running the practices. Reece thought his dad running practice was a little odd, until he found out that his dad was a World silver medalist and a two time Olympic wrestling coach. “I didn’t go out for wrestling because of my dad,” Reece said. “I didn’t even know about his career. I went out for wrestling because my friends talked me into it.” Now, over a decade later, Reece wrestles for a living. He is the United States’ top 61kg freestyle grappler and will represent his country at the World Championships this week in Las Vegas. Reece grew up in Indiana, where he was a three-time state champion representing Lawrence North High School. He then went to Ohio State where he earned All-American honors twice with the Buckeyes. “I remember back in high school, a state championship meant everything to me,” Humphrey said. “Then in college I wanted to be an NCAA champion. I ended up finishing second. But now, the ultimate goal is to win the World Championships, and I really feel like this is my year to do it.” Humphrey advanced to the Worlds by beating Daniel Dennis 12-1, 4-1 in the qualifying round. Now, at 29, he’s the second oldest member on the US team. Humphrey is joined by Tony Ramos (57kg), Brent Metcalf (65kg), James Green (70kg), Jordan Burroughs (74kg), Jake Herbert (86kg), Kyle Snyder (97kg) and Tervel Diagnev (125kg). “I’ve been practicing twice a day, 11 times a week all year long for this,” Humphrey said. “I love what I do. Wrestling is 24-7 for me.” Humphrey has cut nearly 30 pounds to get down to his competition weight. “That’s all I’m thinking about every second,” Humphrey said. “I’m on a strict diet. Making this weight is very tough for me. I’m pretty lean around 160 pounds.” His class, 61kg, is 134 pounds. This time at the World Championships Humphrey feels it is his time to take gold. “The first time I competed at World I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “The second time I lost a close one to a two-time medalist. Now I know how to train, how to prepare. The competition is on home soil and I’m so ready to go out and do this.” Humphrey feels this is his last chance to win a World medal. “I’m anxious, nervous and excited,” he said. “I feel the pressure, but I love it. You don’t get that many shots at winning a world title. You have to take each one seriously. This really could be my last chance. I want to go out on top.” Reece is proud of the fact he grew up in Indiana. “Indiana isn’t known as one of the best wrestling states,” he said. “But when I was wrestling we had about 10 really tough kids that did really well at nationals. Angel Escobedo is my training partner. He was a four-time champ from Indiana.” Humphrey teaches at a lot of camps throughout the state as a way of giving back. “I do a lot of camps,” he said. “I plan on opening a club (in Ohio, where he currently resides) when I’m done with the Olympics in Rio. I’m all around the country doing camps. I have no weekends, ever. But I love working with the kids and spreading my knowledge. It’s my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so many opportunities.” Wrestling allows Reece to be able to spend a lot of time with his family. He and his wife Meredith have two children – Parker, 4 and Reace, 3. “I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time at home with the kids,” Reace said. “And when they start school I’ll be retired. I get to be a huge part of their life.” This has been one of Humphrey’s most successful wrestling years so far. He won the US Open, made the world team and is now competing for a title. “Aleksander Bogomoev (Russia) is very tough,” Humphrey said of the top ranked 61kg grappler. “But I feel like I can go out and compete with anyone right now. I’m at the top of my game.” Click here to view the article
  25. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES jerhines@cinergymetro.net When Tony Ersland took the job as Purdue University’s head wrestling coach he knew it would be a challenge to compete in arguably the toughest wrestling conference in the country. He embraced the challenge. Ersland’s Boilermakers finished the season ranked in the top 25 in the country. Purdue finished with a dual record of 10-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten. Eight Boilermaker wrestlers will compete in the NCAA National Championships this week, starting Thursday. “There were a lot of positives for us this year,” Ersland said. “This was my first year in the program with the kids. We set the foundation for how we are going to operate. Overall, I’m happy with the progress we made this year. Ersland comes to Purdue from Nebraska, where he was an assistant coach for the past eight seasons. He has coached several top wrestlers, including Craig Brester who was a two-time NCAA finalist and a Big 12 champion. “Craig is one athlete who is near and dear to my heart,” Ersland said. “He started out as a walk on at the University of Nebraska. Then he became a two time All-American. He’s the type of athlete that makes coaching worthwhile. He poured his heart and soul into wrestling. He was a special wrestler, and his work is what made him that way.” Purdue’s Danny Sabatello, Brandon Nelsen, Nick Lawrence, Doug Welch, Patrick Robinson, Chad Welch, Patrick Kissel and Braden Atwood will all be competing in the NCAA Championships. “Our goal is to have national champions and All-Americans,” Ersland said. “That’s the mindset we are going in with. We want to go in and perform at a high level. We’ve wrestled outstanding competition all year long. The Big Ten is a brutal grind. It’s like SEC football. We’ve had four out of the top five teams in the country in the Big Ten. “It’s extremely competitive. It’s tougher sometimes to win in the conference than it is in a national bracket. There are no illusions going into the national tournament. You know exactly what you need to do.” Ersland likes the quality of wrestlers he has been able to look at in Indiana. He feels that there is great talent in the state. “Purdue is in the middle of a great wrestling state,” Ersland said. “Indiana turns out a lot of good talent and we want to see those wrestlers stay at home. We don’t want the Jason Tsirtsis out there to look elsewhere.” When asked about Indiana’s high school tournament format, Ersland said he prefers to keep a one-class system. “Personally I like the one class tournament,” Ersland said. “I can understand a two class format as well. But as far as evaluating talent, I really enjoy the one class. You don’t end up with a watered down system. “I think Michigan’s system sort of waters it down. They have four classes and that’s too many. One or two tops is the way to go.” Ersland is married to wife Carolyn. They have twin sons, Jaxon and Mason. “They will always have a wrestling partner,” Ersland said of his sons. “My hope is that they will fall in love with the sport as much as I have. But right now they are just four years old. They love to come to practice and watch the guys roll around. I try to get them in bed, but sometimes they just want to stay up and watch wrestling on T.V.” The NCAA championships begin at noon on Thursday in St. Louis.
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