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Found 85 results

  1. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com It was the moment Cathedral’s Jordan Slivka had dreamed about his whole life. He was about to wrestle under the lights at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse with a weight-class and the team state championship on the line. “Earlier in the day I had told my coaches that I knew it was going to come down to me,” Slivka said. “I just had that feeling. That’s not a dig on my teammates, but I just knew it was going to come down to me. That’s what I wanted. If there was anyone in the state that I would want in that position, I’d choose me.” Slivka battled for six minutes with Yorktown’s undefeated senior Christian Hunt. In the end, Slivka emerged victorious in the narrowest of margins - a 1-0 victory. That win gave Slivka his first state title and also clinched the championship for Cathedral. The Irish outscored the field with a total of 108 points. Brownsburg finished with 100.5 followed by Columbus East with 98.5. “We knew the score and we knew Brownsburg had two big guns left,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “Slivka told me not to worry about it, he was going to take care of it. He said he’s going to get it done. He’s one of the most mentally tough kids I know, and at the end he pulled it out.” The Irish sent 10 wrestlers to the state meet. On Friday night, seven of those 10 won their match to guarantee a top eight finish. “I said at the beginning that our goal was to win a state championship,” McGinley said. “The only way we were going to win was by committee. We did. We brought 10 to the finals and then had a great Friday night. We had seven place winners. We battled and we won the close ones. We pulled a lot out in the last seconds and ended up on top.” In the tournament Cathedral won seven matches by two points or less. Perhaps the most pivotal match of the tournament came at 138 pounds when Cathedral’s Zach Melloh took on Brownsburg’s Blake Mulkey. The match went to the ultimate tie breaker, after a controversial stalling call on Mulkey. Melloh eventually won the match 3-2. “That was two teams going at it right there,” McGinley said. “The thing about Zach Melloh, he’s always going to give us six minutes no matter what. He pushes the pace. Sometimes you are going to get a call, and sometimes you don’t. We got the call in this one and took advantage of it and scored when we needed to.” Cathedral had four wrestlers reach the final. Alex Mosconi (132 pounds), Mellow (138) and Elliott Rodgers (152) all earned runner-up finishes. Slivka was the Irish’s lone champ. Cathedral also got a third-place finish out of 106-pounder Logan Bailey and a fourth by Lukasz Walendzak (120). Jacob Obst (285) finished seventh. Caleb Oliver (113), Andrew Wilson (126) and Anthony Mosconi (160) lost in their respective Friday night matches. “All year we knew we had a group of kids that are really tough to beat,” McGinley said. “We knew we would have our hands full in the finals. The guys we were taking on were all very quality guys and great wrestlers. We were able to pull one out, but for us, it was all about committee. Everyone scored points for us when we needed them.” Another key to Cathedral’s success, according to Slivka, was the team’s swagger. “My motto is ‘Learn to love it’,” Slivka said. “You have to have fun in this sport or you’ll start to hate it. That was really the main key. We went out there and had fun all day. We were confident and we had swagger. I’m not sure coach cared for it too much, but it kept us relaxed and ready to get the job done.” The title was Cathedral’s second in wrestling. The Irish also won the team title in 2014. Next season seven of the 10 state qualifiers will return. Only Melloh, Anthony Mosconi and Obst are seniors.
  2. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com It was the moment Cathedral’s Jordan Slivka had dreamed about his whole life. He was about to wrestle under the lights at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse with a weight-class and the team state championship on the line. “Earlier in the day I had told my coaches that I knew it was going to come down to me,” Slivka said. “I just had that feeling. That’s not a dig on my teammates, but I just knew it was going to come down to me. That’s what I wanted. If there was anyone in the state that I would want in that position, I’d choose me.” Slivka battled for six minutes with Yorktown’s undefeated senior Christian Hunt. In the end, Slivka emerged victorious in the narrowest of margins - a 1-0 victory. That win gave Slivka his first state title and also clinched the championship for Cathedral. The Irish outscored the field with a total of 108 points. Brownsburg finished with 100.5 followed by Columbus East with 98.5. “We knew the score and we knew Brownsburg had two big guns left,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “Slivka told me not to worry about it, he was going to take care of it. He said he’s going to get it done. He’s one of the most mentally tough kids I know, and at the end he pulled it out.” The Irish sent 10 wrestlers to the state meet. On Friday night, seven of those 10 won their match to guarantee a top eight finish. “I said at the beginning that our goal was to win a state championship,” McGinley said. “The only way we were going to win was by committee. We did. We brought 10 to the finals and then had a great Friday night. We had seven place winners. We battled and we won the close ones. We pulled a lot out in the last seconds and ended up on top.” In the tournament Cathedral won seven matches by two points or less. Perhaps the most pivotal match of the tournament came at 138 pounds when Cathedral’s Zach Melloh took on Brownsburg’s Blake Mulkey. The match went to the ultimate tie breaker, after a controversial stalling call on Mulkey. Melloh eventually won the match 3-2. “That was two teams going at it right there,” McGinley said. “The thing about Zach Melloh, he’s always going to give us six minutes no matter what. He pushes the pace. Sometimes you are going to get a call, and sometimes you don’t. We got the call in this one and took advantage of it and scored when we needed to.” Cathedral had four wrestlers reach the final. Alex Mosconi (132 pounds), Mellow (138) and Elliott Rodgers (152) all earned runner-up finishes. Slivka was the Irish’s lone champ. Cathedral also got a third-place finish out of 106-pounder Logan Bailey and a fourth by Lukasz Walendzak (120). Jacob Obst (285) finished seventh. Caleb Oliver (113), Andrew Wilson (126) and Anthony Mosconi (160) lost in their respective Friday night matches. “All year we knew we had a group of kids that are really tough to beat,” McGinley said. “We knew we would have our hands full in the finals. The guys we were taking on were all very quality guys and great wrestlers. We were able to pull one out, but for us, it was all about committee. Everyone scored points for us when we needed them.” Another key to Cathedral’s success, according to Slivka, was the team’s swagger. “My motto is ‘Learn to love it’,” Slivka said. “You have to have fun in this sport or you’ll start to hate it. That was really the main key. We went out there and had fun all day. We were confident and we had swagger. I’m not sure coach cared for it too much, but it kept us relaxed and ready to get the job done.” The title was Cathedral’s second in wrestling. The Irish also won the team title in 2014. Next season seven of the 10 state qualifiers will return. Only Melloh, Anthony Mosconi and Obst are seniors. View full article
  3. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com In middle school Harrison Hadley weighed 60 pounds but had to wrestle in the 75 pound weight class because that was the smallest class available. Today, he’s the big man on campus at Lapel High School. Hadley, a junior 106-pounder for the Bulldogs, became the school’s first wrestler to ever reach the state finals when he defeated South Dearborn’s Eli Otto 13-5 in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate. “I definitely feel like I’m the big man on campus right now,” Hadley said. “The elementary school made this big banner for me and everyone signed it. People are going up to me in the halls and around town telling me congratulations and wishing me luck. The school recognized me for advancing. It’s pretty cool right now.” Lapel has been a school since before the 1870s. At first Lapel was a one-room school house, but over time the location has changed and school buildings have come and gone. The school’s history is one of the oldest in the state. To be the very first athlete to accomplish going to state is something first-year coach Jake Stilwell doesn’t believe has fully sunk in for Hadley yet. “This is huge for Lapel wrestling,” Stilwell said. “There have only been five semistate qualifiers in school history. For our program, this is absolutely huge. The younger kids see that state isn’t something impossible now. They see it can be done. “It’s never occurred here before and most people didn’t think it could happen. Now they see Harrison has done it, and it gives them hope. I don’t even know if Harrison has grasped what has happened. It will take a little time for this to all settle in.” After Hadley won the ticket-round match he immediately wanted to watch film on the match to see what he could have done differently. That’s what he does every match, win or lose. “I like to see what type of positions I exposed myself to,” Hadley said. “I look at how I could have improved. I look for things that will take me to the next level. I always critique myself, even if I tech fall or pin a kid.” Stilwell wanted Hadley to take a moment to take in the importance of what he had accomplished at semistate. “He was very excited when he won,” Stilwell said. “But when he came off the mat he likes to dive right into what just happened and look for ways to improve. We had to stop him and remind him about what he just accomplished. He was excited, but wasn’t showing that emotion. He was still just trying to think of what he could have done differently.” According to Harrison, the person most excited after the ticket round was his mom, Sonya. “She was crying and everything,” Hadley said. “She was telling me how proud she was of me. I’ve never really seen her like that. It was a great moment.” Hadley enters the state tournament with a record of 39 wins and only three losses. Two of those losses came last week at semistate. Hadley fell to Perry Meridian’s Alex Cottey in the semifinal round, then lost to Warren Central’s David Pierson in the consolation match. Hadley, who likes to race 600cc mini sprint cars in his free time, has wrestled 106 pounds his entire high school career. As a freshman he came into the season weighing just 99 pounds. He’s put on about five pounds per year, but is easily able to get down to weight for the wrestling season. Hadley is hoping his victory could help the team. He says it’s great to go to state, but it would be much sweeter going there with teammates also competing. “I see some schools take nine or 10 guys to state,” Hadley said. “I think that would be awesome. Just seeing Cathedral’s team and how well they did at semistate and the bond those guys have, it’s fun to watch. “Our program has struggled. We have never been that strong. But, if we can start advancing more kids it will really help build things up.” Last year Lapel had just eight wrestlers. This year there are 17 on the Bulldog roster. “Lapel is a school that has some good athletes,” Stilwell said. “The challenge is to get those kids to go out for wrestling. I really think Harrison’s success is going to help with that.” Hadley will take on Brownsburg freshman Kysen Montgomery (38-7) in the Friday night match. “For me, wrestling is an escape from everything,” Hadley said. “It’s something that helps me focus on my goals. It helps me in life situations and helps build my character. Right now my major goal is to be able to wrestle in college.”
  4. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com In middle school Harrison Hadley weighed 60 pounds but had to wrestle in the 75 pound weight class because that was the smallest class available. Today, he’s the big man on campus at Lapel High School. Hadley, a junior 106-pounder for the Bulldogs, became the school’s first wrestler to ever reach the state finals when he defeated South Dearborn’s Eli Otto 13-5 in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate. “I definitely feel like I’m the big man on campus right now,” Hadley said. “The elementary school made this big banner for me and everyone signed it. People are going up to me in the halls and around town telling me congratulations and wishing me luck. The school recognized me for advancing. It’s pretty cool right now.” Lapel has been a school since before the 1870s. At first Lapel was a one-room school house, but over time the location has changed and school buildings have come and gone. The school’s history is one of the oldest in the state. To be the very first athlete to accomplish going to state is something first-year coach Jake Stilwell doesn’t believe has fully sunk in for Hadley yet. “This is huge for Lapel wrestling,” Stilwell said. “There have only been five semistate qualifiers in school history. For our program, this is absolutely huge. The younger kids see that state isn’t something impossible now. They see it can be done. “It’s never occurred here before and most people didn’t think it could happen. Now they see Harrison has done it, and it gives them hope. I don’t even know if Harrison has grasped what has happened. It will take a little time for this to all settle in.” After Hadley won the ticket-round match he immediately wanted to watch film on the match to see what he could have done differently. That’s what he does every match, win or lose. “I like to see what type of positions I exposed myself to,” Hadley said. “I look at how I could have improved. I look for things that will take me to the next level. I always critique myself, even if I tech fall or pin a kid.” Stilwell wanted Hadley to take a moment to take in the importance of what he had accomplished at semistate. “He was very excited when he won,” Stilwell said. “But when he came off the mat he likes to dive right into what just happened and look for ways to improve. We had to stop him and remind him about what he just accomplished. He was excited, but wasn’t showing that emotion. He was still just trying to think of what he could have done differently.” According to Harrison, the person most excited after the ticket round was his mom, Sonya. “She was crying and everything,” Hadley said. “She was telling me how proud she was of me. I’ve never really seen her like that. It was a great moment.” Hadley enters the state tournament with a record of 39 wins and only three losses. Two of those losses came last week at semistate. Hadley fell to Perry Meridian’s Alex Cottey in the semifinal round, then lost to Warren Central’s David Pierson in the consolation match. Hadley, who likes to race 600cc mini sprint cars in his free time, has wrestled 106 pounds his entire high school career. As a freshman he came into the season weighing just 99 pounds. He’s put on about five pounds per year, but is easily able to get down to weight for the wrestling season. Hadley is hoping his victory could help the team. He says it’s great to go to state, but it would be much sweeter going there with teammates also competing. “I see some schools take nine or 10 guys to state,” Hadley said. “I think that would be awesome. Just seeing Cathedral’s team and how well they did at semistate and the bond those guys have, it’s fun to watch. “Our program has struggled. We have never been that strong. But, if we can start advancing more kids it will really help build things up.” Last year Lapel had just eight wrestlers. This year there are 17 on the Bulldog roster. “Lapel is a school that has some good athletes,” Stilwell said. “The challenge is to get those kids to go out for wrestling. I really think Harrison’s success is going to help with that.” Hadley will take on Brownsburg freshman Kysen Montgomery (38-7) in the Friday night match. “For me, wrestling is an escape from everything,” Hadley said. “It’s something that helps me focus on my goals. It helps me in life situations and helps build my character. Right now my major goal is to be able to wrestle in college.” View full article
  5. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com There’s cool, and then there’s Jack Eiteljorge cool. The Carmel senior wrestler may even be too cool. “Jack’s the guy I want to do my heart surgery because he’s as cool as a cucumber,” Greyhound coach Ed Pendoski said. “He doesn’t get rattled by anything. But, that’s one of the things we are trying to work on this year. I want him having emotion. We’ve talked to him about how sometimes you have to have emotion, whether it be positive or negative.” Just how cool is Eiteljorge? “He’s so cool that you could sit him down and tell him that someone just walked into his house and killed his dog, Bacon. His reply would be, ‘Oh, OK.’,” Pendoski said. “You could tell him that Taylor Swift is in the hot tub and wants to make out with him, and he’d say ‘Oh, OK’.” Eiteljorge is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 160 pounds. He is a three times sectional and regional champion, but he has never punched his ticket to state. Pendoski thinks opening up and getting a little emotional may be the edge that Eiteljorge needs to finally get to state - and possibly win. “Going into this year, after the Super 32, we had just had two pretty bad losses,” Pendoski said. “We really started dialing in on our mental part. He’s done a good job reacting to that. The phrase we use a lot is that mental toughness is the ability to manage the thoughts in your head. We went back to that simple platform. We talked to him about getting excited. We said let’s get angry. Let’s be happy. Show something.” The plan has worked. Eiteljorge is 33-2. He has pinned or tech falled all of his opponents in the state tournament except for one, and that match he won 18-8. “I’ve been trying to show emotion,” Eiteljorge said. “Coach wants me to, and he has a lot of muscle so I listen to him. He feels that sometimes I’m like a robot on the mat. He wants me to just start having fun. I’ve really been working on that part. It’s a big change from past years. Making myself be less methodical is the key. I have to go out there and make the matches fun.” Eiteljorge isn’t one of the kids that found immediate success in the sport of wrestling. When he was young and just started going to CIA, Pendoski’s wrestling academy, he was the guy getting beat up on. “Jack was in a group with some very, very good wrestlers,” Pendoski said. “He was the beginner. The partners he was with had been around for years and were winning championships. I think Jack went two or three months before he even scored a point. But, he was the guy that would stick around after practice and do pull-ups or pushups.” Eventually he won his first club level state tournament. Pendoski says that was a turning point for him. “That’s the day I knew this little ankle-biter would be OK one day,” Pendoski said. “It was nice to see a guy that started from the beginning, worked his tail off and then started to see the results.” Eiteljorge lost in the first round of semistate his freshman year. As a sophomore and a junior he lost in the ticket round. “This year my goal is to win state,” Eiteljorge said. “My goal is not just to get to state. But, I still know there will be a pressure on me to get past the ticket round. If I win that match, I’ll certainly feel a weight has been lifted.” Eiteljorge isn’t one to talk about personal successes, he’s too cool to brag. But, he’s more than willing to gush about his teammates. “I have really good teammates,” he said. “They are awesome. I love hanging out with them. Carmel’s team chemistry is what helps us be a top program. We are always improving. We have a casual, playful environment. We have fun. But when it’s time to get serious we focus and get the job done.” Next season Eiteljorge will wrestle for the University of Indianapolis. “The University of Indianapolis is going to be real happy with the product they are getting with Jack,” Pendoski said.
  6. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com There’s cool, and then there’s Jack Eiteljorge cool. The Carmel senior wrestler may even be too cool. “Jack’s the guy I want to do my heart surgery because he’s as cool as a cucumber,” Greyhound coach Ed Pendoski said. “He doesn’t get rattled by anything. But, that’s one of the things we are trying to work on this year. I want him having emotion. We’ve talked to him about how sometimes you have to have emotion, whether it be positive or negative.” Just how cool is Eiteljorge? “He’s so cool that you could sit him down and tell him that someone just walked into his house and killed his dog, Bacon. His reply would be, ‘Oh, OK.’,” Pendoski said. “You could tell him that Taylor Swift is in the hot tub and wants to make out with him, and he’d say ‘Oh, OK’.” Eiteljorge is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 160 pounds. He is a three times sectional and regional champion, but he has never punched his ticket to state. Pendoski thinks opening up and getting a little emotional may be the edge that Eiteljorge needs to finally get to state - and possibly win. “Going into this year, after the Super 32, we had just had two pretty bad losses,” Pendoski said. “We really started dialing in on our mental part. He’s done a good job reacting to that. The phrase we use a lot is that mental toughness is the ability to manage the thoughts in your head. We went back to that simple platform. We talked to him about getting excited. We said let’s get angry. Let’s be happy. Show something.” The plan has worked. Eiteljorge is 33-2. He has pinned or tech falled all of his opponents in the state tournament except for one, and that match he won 18-8. “I’ve been trying to show emotion,” Eiteljorge said. “Coach wants me to, and he has a lot of muscle so I listen to him. He feels that sometimes I’m like a robot on the mat. He wants me to just start having fun. I’ve really been working on that part. It’s a big change from past years. Making myself be less methodical is the key. I have to go out there and make the matches fun.” Eiteljorge isn’t one of the kids that found immediate success in the sport of wrestling. When he was young and just started going to CIA, Pendoski’s wrestling academy, he was the guy getting beat up on. “Jack was in a group with some very, very good wrestlers,” Pendoski said. “He was the beginner. The partners he was with had been around for years and were winning championships. I think Jack went two or three months before he even scored a point. But, he was the guy that would stick around after practice and do pull-ups or pushups.” Eventually he won his first club level state tournament. Pendoski says that was a turning point for him. “That’s the day I knew this little ankle-biter would be OK one day,” Pendoski said. “It was nice to see a guy that started from the beginning, worked his tail off and then started to see the results.” Eiteljorge lost in the first round of semistate his freshman year. As a sophomore and a junior he lost in the ticket round. “This year my goal is to win state,” Eiteljorge said. “My goal is not just to get to state. But, I still know there will be a pressure on me to get past the ticket round. If I win that match, I’ll certainly feel a weight has been lifted.” Eiteljorge isn’t one to talk about personal successes, he’s too cool to brag. But, he’s more than willing to gush about his teammates. “I have really good teammates,” he said. “They are awesome. I love hanging out with them. Carmel’s team chemistry is what helps us be a top program. We are always improving. We have a casual, playful environment. We have fun. But when it’s time to get serious we focus and get the job done.” Next season Eiteljorge will wrestle for the University of Indianapolis. “The University of Indianapolis is going to be real happy with the product they are getting with Jack,” Pendoski said. View full article
  7. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com There are times when things get so heated in the wrestling room at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville that brothers Chase and Chris Wilkerson have to be seperated. Like most brothers, they hate to lose to each other. When they practice together, things can start to get a little testy. Those moments certainly aren’t the norm. Chase, a junior and Chris, a sophomore are each other’s biggest fans. They practice together, condition together and talk strategy together. When one brother is struggling, the other is there to pick him up. “They really have a neat dynamic,” Marauder coach Chad Masters said. “Every big match, they are both on the sidelines coaching each other. They are both the first one there to congratulate each other. They console each other after tough losses. They are two of the best kids I’ve ever met. They are the type of people you want in the room and you know they’ll be successful in whatever they do.” This year Chase is ranked No. 11 in the state at 120 pounds and is ranked fourth in the New Castle semistate. Chris is not state ranked, but is No. 6 in the New Castle semistate at 132 pounds. Before his last middle school season started, Chris weighed 170 pounds. He had always wrestled the bigger guys due to his size. But, when he started really focusing on improving, he started to get in better shape as well. He wrestled at 145 pounds by the end of his eighth grade season. Then, in high school, he got down to 132 pounds and he maintained that weight all summer long. This is his second season at that weight class. Last season ended in trying fashion for Chris. He was the No. 2 seed in the Warren Central sectional. He won his first two matches then ran into senior Tim Wright. During that match Wright’s head slammed into Chris’s face. The force from the blow knocked a tooth out of Chris’s mouth, and caused other damage. He had to injury default out of the tournament and go to the hospital immediately. That injury ended his freshman campaign. “That was the worst feeling in my life,” Chris said. “Just hearing that I couldn’t continue. It was the first time I had cried in years. It was awful knowing that all the hard work I had put in, and nobody was going to see that pay off.” That’s when Chase stepped in. “Chase helped me to cope with knowing I was out,” Chris said. “He was telling me to bounce back harder. He told me to work harder. And, he did the same. Seeing him work as hard as he did started pushing me to get better as well.” Chase lost to New Castle’s Trevor Ragle in the first round of semistate 4-1. Ragle went on to advance to the state tournament. Before the Ragle match, Chase had fallen short against other ranked guys as well. “This year started out the same way,” Masters said. “He wrestled Zane Standridge and lost in the last 20 seconds. He knew he could wrestle the ranked guys, but he wasn’t sure he was able to beat them. It seemed like every time something would go wrong and he’d lost the match at the end.” The turning point for Chase came 14 days after the Standridge match. Chase was wrestling a familiar foe, Greenfield’s Gavin Rose. The two were once practice partners at Mt. Vernon, but Rose left for the neighboring Greenfield school. He had defeated Wilkerson in the past, but this time was different. Chase scored four points on two reversals to beat Rose 4-2. That match showed Chase he could win the big match. “That was a big turning point with Chase,” Masters said. “It showed Chase that he could not only wrestle with these guys, he could beat them. It showed he could beat anyone.” The two wrestled again Saturday in the championship of the Hoosier Heritage Conference tournament. The match went to triple overtime before Rose pulled off the 2-0 victory. Chris also had a big match in the HHC tournament. He was taking on Yorktown’s Alex Barr, the No. 1 seed in the 132 pound weight class. With 10 seconds left in the match Barr had a 1-0 lead and was on top of Chris. That’s when Chris made his move, he scored an escape point and Barr fell toward the out of bounds line. When Chris saw Barr down, he dove at his legs and was awarded the takedown to go up 3-2 with three seconds left. On the restart he let Barr up to secure the 3-2 win. “I couldn’t contain my emotions,” Chris said. “I had to let it out. That was such a crazy match and I was just so excited to win it.” The brothers have very different styles on the mat. Chase likes to go for the takedowns and be aggressive offensively. Chris is a patient wrestler who minimizes his mistakes. Both brothers have a goal to reach the state tournament. “I definitely think I should go to state this year,” Chase said. “It’s going to be rough for sure, but I feel like I can make it.” One of the keys to getting to state might just be having a sibling to push you. It’s working for the Wilkerson brothers right now. “Having a brother is definitely an advantage,” Chase said. “You grow up beating the crap out of each other. But, whenever you need someone to work with - we are there for each other and we want each other to succeed. When he does well, I feel as good as if I had done well myself.”
  8. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com There are times when things get so heated in the wrestling room at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville that brothers Chase and Chris Wilkerson have to be seperated. Like most brothers, they hate to lose to each other. When they practice together, things can start to get a little testy. Those moments certainly aren’t the norm. Chase, a junior and Chris, a sophomore are each other’s biggest fans. They practice together, condition together and talk strategy together. When one brother is struggling, the other is there to pick him up. “They really have a neat dynamic,” Marauder coach Chad Masters said. “Every big match, they are both on the sidelines coaching each other. They are both the first one there to congratulate each other. They console each other after tough losses. They are two of the best kids I’ve ever met. They are the type of people you want in the room and you know they’ll be successful in whatever they do.” This year Chase is ranked No. 11 in the state at 120 pounds and is ranked fourth in the New Castle semistate. Chris is not state ranked, but is No. 6 in the New Castle semistate at 132 pounds. Before his last middle school season started, Chris weighed 170 pounds. He had always wrestled the bigger guys due to his size. But, when he started really focusing on improving, he started to get in better shape as well. He wrestled at 145 pounds by the end of his eighth grade season. Then, in high school, he got down to 132 pounds and he maintained that weight all summer long. This is his second season at that weight class. Last season ended in trying fashion for Chris. He was the No. 2 seed in the Warren Central sectional. He won his first two matches then ran into senior Tim Wright. During that match Wright’s head slammed into Chris’s face. The force from the blow knocked a tooth out of Chris’s mouth, and caused other damage. He had to injury default out of the tournament and go to the hospital immediately. That injury ended his freshman campaign. “That was the worst feeling in my life,” Chris said. “Just hearing that I couldn’t continue. It was the first time I had cried in years. It was awful knowing that all the hard work I had put in, and nobody was going to see that pay off.” That’s when Chase stepped in. “Chase helped me to cope with knowing I was out,” Chris said. “He was telling me to bounce back harder. He told me to work harder. And, he did the same. Seeing him work as hard as he did started pushing me to get better as well.” Chase lost to New Castle’s Trevor Ragle in the first round of semistate 4-1. Ragle went on to advance to the state tournament. Before the Ragle match, Chase had fallen short against other ranked guys as well. “This year started out the same way,” Masters said. “He wrestled Zane Standridge and lost in the last 20 seconds. He knew he could wrestle the ranked guys, but he wasn’t sure he was able to beat them. It seemed like every time something would go wrong and he’d lost the match at the end.” The turning point for Chase came 14 days after the Standridge match. Chase was wrestling a familiar foe, Greenfield’s Gavin Rose. The two were once practice partners at Mt. Vernon, but Rose left for the neighboring Greenfield school. He had defeated Wilkerson in the past, but this time was different. Chase scored four points on two reversals to beat Rose 4-2. That match showed Chase he could win the big match. “That was a big turning point with Chase,” Masters said. “It showed Chase that he could not only wrestle with these guys, he could beat them. It showed he could beat anyone.” The two wrestled again Saturday in the championship of the Hoosier Heritage Conference tournament. The match went to triple overtime before Rose pulled off the 2-0 victory. Chris also had a big match in the HHC tournament. He was taking on Yorktown’s Alex Barr, the No. 1 seed in the 132 pound weight class. With 10 seconds left in the match Barr had a 1-0 lead and was on top of Chris. That’s when Chris made his move, he scored an escape point and Barr fell toward the out of bounds line. When Chris saw Barr down, he dove at his legs and was awarded the takedown to go up 3-2 with three seconds left. On the restart he let Barr up to secure the 3-2 win. “I couldn’t contain my emotions,” Chris said. “I had to let it out. That was such a crazy match and I was just so excited to win it.” The brothers have very different styles on the mat. Chase likes to go for the takedowns and be aggressive offensively. Chris is a patient wrestler who minimizes his mistakes. Both brothers have a goal to reach the state tournament. “I definitely think I should go to state this year,” Chase said. “It’s going to be rough for sure, but I feel like I can make it.” One of the keys to getting to state might just be having a sibling to push you. It’s working for the Wilkerson brothers right now. “Having a brother is definitely an advantage,” Chase said. “You grow up beating the crap out of each other. But, whenever you need someone to work with - we are there for each other and we want each other to succeed. When he does well, I feel as good as if I had done well myself.” View full article
  9. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com Liberty is a typical small Indiana town. People wave to each other as they cross paths at Woodruff’s Super Market or as they grab a top-notch burger from J’s Dairy Inn over on Union Street. As the saying goes, everyone knows everyone there. Small town living is great for a lot of things, but for a high school wrestler with big aspirations, it can present a lot of challenges. Tucker Coffman is a talented wrestler at Union County High School - a school of roughly 450 students located in Liberty. The team has lost 23 of its 25 matches this season. Currently the Patriots fill just seven weight classes. Coffman, a junior, knows how hard it is to succeed in wrestling at such a small school, but he also witnessed first hand that it can be done. Coffman remembers watching Union County wrestling in its prime. In 2009 the tiny school had not one, but two state champions in Cody Phillips and Michael Duckworth. Both wrestlers had phenomenal careers. Phillips was a two-time champion and Duckworth was runner-up twice and champion once. “I know them both,” Coffman said. “I’ve wrestled with them throughout the years. I’ve been in the room with Duckworth lately and Cody was always a real big influence on me. Cody was the top guy. He was the best wrestler we’ve had with two state titles. I remember when I was little it was my goal to be a wrestler like Cody.” In the room Coffman is the best wrestler on the team, hands down. Finding drill partners that can push him is a challenge first-year coach Dan Kelich had to come up with a game plan for. “During light drilling I rotate teammates with him,” Kelich said. “He’s one of the guys where we can let him wrestle anyone on our roster. He can wrestle the light guys, the middle weights and the heavier guys. We hope that gives him a good mix of working with guys that are quick, and guys that are strong. “But when it comes time to live wrestle, me or one of my assistants have to break out our shoes and go with him.” Coffman has seen success in high school, but has not punched his ticket to the state meet yet. As a freshman he lost to New Palestine senior Jared Timberman in the first round of the New Castle semistate, and then last year he fell to Frankton’s Cody Klettheimer at semistate. Coffman won the Spartan Classic as a freshman, beating current No. 3-ranked Jack Eiteljorge in the final. That match gave Coffman the confidence to know he belongs with the state’s elite. “That was one of my favorite matches of Tucker’s,” Kelich said. “He wrestled with a tenacity and won in dominating fashion. He showed what he’s capable of. That was one of the most exciting matches I’ve had the chance to sit in the corner and see.” Kelich says that Coffman is a hard worker who has really taken on a leadership role with the team. “I’m most proud of his leadership,” Kelich said. “We don’t win many team duals, but he’s taken ownership of this team. As a freshman we didn’t need him to do that, then last year he started to build into a leader. This year he is very good in that capacity.” Coffman feels that he belongs at the state meet. He recognizes his weaknesses and has been working to eliminate them. He not only has his focus on getting to state, he wants to win it. “He’s had success against some of the best guys in the state,” Kelich said. “He’s tasted what it’s like to beat them. Right now he’s hungry. He’s had that taste and now he wants the full meal, so to speak.”
  10. By JEREMY HINES thehines7@gmail.com Liberty is a typical small Indiana town. People wave to each other as they cross paths at Woodruff’s Super Market or as they grab a top-notch burger from J’s Dairy Inn over on Union Street. As the saying goes, everyone knows everyone there. Small town living is great for a lot of things, but for a high school wrestler with big aspirations, it can present a lot of challenges. Tucker Coffman is a talented wrestler at Union County High School - a school of roughly 450 students located in Liberty. The team has lost 23 of its 25 matches this season. Currently the Patriots fill just seven weight classes. Coffman, a junior, knows how hard it is to succeed in wrestling at such a small school, but he also witnessed first hand that it can be done. Coffman remembers watching Union County wrestling in its prime. In 2009 the tiny school had not one, but two state champions in Cody Phillips and Michael Duckworth. Both wrestlers had phenomenal careers. Phillips was a two-time champion and Duckworth was runner-up twice and champion once. “I know them both,” Coffman said. “I’ve wrestled with them throughout the years. I’ve been in the room with Duckworth lately and Cody was always a real big influence on me. Cody was the top guy. He was the best wrestler we’ve had with two state titles. I remember when I was little it was my goal to be a wrestler like Cody.” In the room Coffman is the best wrestler on the team, hands down. Finding drill partners that can push him is a challenge first-year coach Dan Kelich had to come up with a game plan for. “During light drilling I rotate teammates with him,” Kelich said. “He’s one of the guys where we can let him wrestle anyone on our roster. He can wrestle the light guys, the middle weights and the heavier guys. We hope that gives him a good mix of working with guys that are quick, and guys that are strong. “But when it comes time to live wrestle, me or one of my assistants have to break out our shoes and go with him.” Coffman has seen success in high school, but has not punched his ticket to the state meet yet. As a freshman he lost to New Palestine senior Jared Timberman in the first round of the New Castle semistate, and then last year he fell to Frankton’s Cody Klettheimer at semistate. Coffman won the Spartan Classic as a freshman, beating current No. 3-ranked Jack Eiteljorge in the final. That match gave Coffman the confidence to know he belongs with the state’s elite. “That was one of my favorite matches of Tucker’s,” Kelich said. “He wrestled with a tenacity and won in dominating fashion. He showed what he’s capable of. That was one of the most exciting matches I’ve had the chance to sit in the corner and see.” Kelich says that Coffman is a hard worker who has really taken on a leadership role with the team. “I’m most proud of his leadership,” Kelich said. “We don’t win many team duals, but he’s taken ownership of this team. As a freshman we didn’t need him to do that, then last year he started to build into a leader. This year he is very good in that capacity.” Coffman feels that he belongs at the state meet. He recognizes his weaknesses and has been working to eliminate them. He not only has his focus on getting to state, he wants to win it. “He’s had success against some of the best guys in the state,” Kelich said. “He’s tasted what it’s like to beat them. Right now he’s hungry. He’s had that taste and now he wants the full meal, so to speak.” View full article
  11. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Four years ago North Posey wrestling was on life support and the school was considering pulling the plug. Now, with a new coach and a new attitude, the Vikings are about to compete for a team state title. North Posey had just four wrestlers five years ago. The community had grown accustomed to North Posey being a losing team, and the school was starting to question whether it was even worthwhile to keep the program alive. Then a former Mater Dei wrestler named Cody Moll stepped in and brought new life to the program. Now, in his fourth season at the helm of the Vikings, Moll has North Posey wrestling on the upswing. “The year before I got there, there were four wrestlers at the school,” Moll said. “During my interview they said that if I wasn’t hired, they were going to shut down the program.” Moll was asked what his goal for the team was. “I said I wanted to be better than we were the last year,” Moll said. In his first year Moll finished the year with 10 wrestlers, and 10 total victories. It wasn’t a good year, but it was a much improved season. One of the freshmen that year was Levi Miller, who qualified for the state tournament. “Levi came in and everyone knew he was supposed to be good,” Moll said. “But people saying you are good only gets you so far. He came in and proved it. We made him our captain as a freshman. We saw the drive he had and how hard he works.” One of the most difficult moments that first year, for Moll, was losing to Evansville Memorial 81-0. He had never experienced that side of a dominating performance before. “That was tough,” Moll said. “That was the first time I had ever been shut out on any team I was ever at. We won a lot at Mater Dei. I didn’t know what losing was like. But, this year we beat Memorial 46-21. It’s pretty amazing what we’ve been doing.” The Vikings won 21 matches in Moll’s second season, with 15 wrestlers. Last year the team won 23 matches and had 18 wrestlers. This year there are 25 kids on the wrestling team at the school of just under 500 students. “We talked about how we wanted to approach the team,” Moll said. “We knew we could make things fun and relatively easy and as a result get really good numbers. Or, we could treat every kid like they had state championship ability and go as hard as we could and really build good wrestlers. We chose the second option.” The North Posey practices are hard. They practice nearly three hours a day which includes a mix of running, drilling and live wrestling. The room is always hot and the coaches are always intense. “When Coach Moll came in, people were just used to laying down and getting beat,” Miller said. “I was very excited when he was hired. He told us early on that if we were just going to lay down for people, he didn’t want us on the team. That’s not his style. He doesn’t want you in the program unless you’re willing to work hard. This isn’t the old North Posey. Before the wrestlers were just about themselves, too. Now it’s all about the team.” Moll said changing the culture at North Posey was the biggest key to its recent success. He and assistant coach Sam Goebel (wrestled at Mater Dei and is legendary coach Mike Goebel's nephew), knew they had to change the culture before they’d ever have success. “Losing almost became OK,” Moll said. “We were in Mater Dei’s sectionals, in every sport. The culture just became that losing was the norm. But we came in and said we’re not going to just give up. We’re going to fight and battle. If we lose, we learn from it and do better the next time. “Many of our early losses was because we didn’t think we could win. The first couple of years kids were beat before the match because the singlet the opponents were wearing. We’re getting past that now. You have to look in the mirror and understand you’re working harder than these other schools. We are not pushovers. That environment is gone.” The Vikings placed fifth at team state last season, a finish they were not pleased with. With a deeper, more experienced team this year they are hoping to fare better. “We are going up there to win,” Moll said. “We wouldn’t go up for any other reason. We believe we belong and we believe we can compete with anyone.” Miller has that same mentality when talking about his goals. He said he won’t be satisfied with anything less than a state championship, individually. The coaches have instilled that drive in all of its wrestlers. North Posey will open pool play at team state against Frankton.
  12. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Four years ago North Posey wrestling was on life support and the school was considering pulling the plug. Now, with a new coach and a new attitude, the Vikings are about to compete for a team state title. North Posey had just four wrestlers five years ago. The community had grown accustomed to North Posey being a losing team, and the school was starting to question whether it was even worthwhile to keep the program alive. Then a former Mater Dei wrestler named Cody Moll stepped in and brought new life to the program. Now, in his fourth season at the helm of the Vikings, Moll has North Posey wrestling on the upswing. “The year before I got there, there were four wrestlers at the school,” Moll said. “During my interview they said that if I wasn’t hired, they were going to shut down the program.” Moll was asked what his goal for the team was. “I said I wanted to be better than we were the last year,” Moll said. In his first year Moll finished the year with 10 wrestlers, and 10 total victories. It wasn’t a good year, but it was a much improved season. One of the freshmen that year was Levi Miller, who qualified for the state tournament. “Levi came in and everyone knew he was supposed to be good,” Moll said. “But people saying you are good only gets you so far. He came in and proved it. We made him our captain as a freshman. We saw the drive he had and how hard he works.” One of the most difficult moments that first year, for Moll, was losing to Evansville Memorial 81-0. He had never experienced that side of a dominating performance before. “That was tough,” Moll said. “That was the first time I had ever been shut out on any team I was ever at. We won a lot at Mater Dei. I didn’t know what losing was like. But, this year we beat Memorial 46-21. It’s pretty amazing what we’ve been doing.” The Vikings won 21 matches in Moll’s second season, with 15 wrestlers. Last year the team won 23 matches and had 18 wrestlers. This year there are 25 kids on the wrestling team at the school of just under 500 students. “We talked about how we wanted to approach the team,” Moll said. “We knew we could make things fun and relatively easy and as a result get really good numbers. Or, we could treat every kid like they had state championship ability and go as hard as we could and really build good wrestlers. We chose the second option.” The North Posey practices are hard. They practice nearly three hours a day which includes a mix of running, drilling and live wrestling. The room is always hot and the coaches are always intense. “When Coach Moll came in, people were just used to laying down and getting beat,” Miller said. “I was very excited when he was hired. He told us early on that if we were just going to lay down for people, he didn’t want us on the team. That’s not his style. He doesn’t want you in the program unless you’re willing to work hard. This isn’t the old North Posey. Before the wrestlers were just about themselves, too. Now it’s all about the team.” Moll said changing the culture at North Posey was the biggest key to its recent success. He and assistant coach Sam Goebel (wrestled at Mater Dei and is legendary coach Mike Goebel's nephew), knew they had to change the culture before they’d ever have success. “Losing almost became OK,” Moll said. “We were in Mater Dei’s sectionals, in every sport. The culture just became that losing was the norm. But we came in and said we’re not going to just give up. We’re going to fight and battle. If we lose, we learn from it and do better the next time. “Many of our early losses was because we didn’t think we could win. The first couple of years kids were beat before the match because the singlet the opponents were wearing. We’re getting past that now. You have to look in the mirror and understand you’re working harder than these other schools. We are not pushovers. That environment is gone.” The Vikings placed fifth at team state last season, a finish they were not pleased with. With a deeper, more experienced team this year they are hoping to fare better. “We are going up there to win,” Moll said. “We wouldn’t go up for any other reason. We believe we belong and we believe we can compete with anyone.” Miller has that same mentality when talking about his goals. He said he won’t be satisfied with anything less than a state championship, individually. The coaches have instilled that drive in all of its wrestlers. North Posey will open pool play at team state against Frankton. View full article
  13. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Frankton wrestling coach Courtney Duncan walked in on the first day of practice carrying something a little bit unusual. The Frankton wrestling coach wasn’t holding a whistle, or uniforms. He was holding index cards. He passed one out to each kid in the room and told them to write down why they came out for wrestling. When Duncan read the answers, he knew he had a pretty special team. “Almost every kid put that they wrestle because it builds family and relationships,” Duncan said. “I didn’t have the kids put their names on the card, but that told me right then and there that they get it. It’s not about wins and losses. It’s about trusting each other and being loyal to each other.” Frankton, a small school of 480 students just north of Anderson, had one of the best Class A teams in the state last year. Coach Duncan really thought that they could have fared well at the team state tournament, but they did not get an invite. This year, that has changed. Frankton will be one of the teams competing for the Class A title. “We are really excited about team state,” Duncan said. “This is where we wanted to get as a team. We thought we had a chance last year, but this year we’re going in hoping to prove we belong. We have more kids out than we’ve probably ever had. The kids are excited and they all really look forward to the tournament.” One of Frankton’s hammers is junior 170 pounder Cody Klettheimer. Last season Klettheimer was one of two Frankton grapplers to advance to the individual state tournament. “We are looking forward to team state,” Klettheimer said. “Our goal is to win it. But we also think we can win our sectional, regional and maybe even our semistate.” That isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for Frankton. The team has four returning wrestlers who advanced to at least the ticket round of semistate last year. Klettheimer and senior David Delph advanced to state. Senior Dru Berkebile lost in the ticket round at semistate as did junior Cole Baker. The Eagles have other wrestlers, like senior Grant Geisinger, that are hoping to do well in the tourney this year. Geisinger lost to Cathedral’s Elliott Rodgers on a last second takedown in the opening round of regional. Rodgers went on to place fourth in state. “Grant has really developed,” Duncan said. “He has had a taste of success now, and he’s ready to make a run.” Frankton has the luxury of depth this year, something the school hasn’t really ever had before. There were over 30 kids go out for the team. “I have options this year,” Duncan said. “We are able to move kids around. We are able to make strategic lineup decisions. We have backups at just about every spot in our lineup.” Another major team strength is the bond the wrestlers have. “We all love being around each other,” Klettheimer said. “We know what we want to get to, and we push each other to the limit in the room. Even drilling we are starting to go 100 percent on everything. And, when we’re not wrestling, we are all hanging out together. We’ve became very close.” Frankton has improved its strength of schedule over the last several years, hoping it will create better wresters. “Our kids believe,” Duncan said. “They believe in each other, and they believe in themselves. We have a tough schedule, but it doesn’t matter what size school you come from, you still put your wrestling shoes on the same way. We are realizing by facing these larger, stronger schools, we can compete with anyone.” Klettheimer said the team’s motto is “Take No Prisoners.” The Eagles are good, and they want to prove it. Team state can’t come fast enough for this tight knit group. “We’re ready to see what we can accomplish,” Duncan said. “I think we can do something pretty special.”
  14. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Frankton wrestling coach Courtney Duncan walked in on the first day of practice carrying something a little bit unusual. The Frankton wrestling coach wasn’t holding a whistle, or uniforms. He was holding index cards. He passed one out to each kid in the room and told them to write down why they came out for wrestling. When Duncan read the answers, he knew he had a pretty special team. “Almost every kid put that they wrestle because it builds family and relationships,” Duncan said. “I didn’t have the kids put their names on the card, but that told me right then and there that they get it. It’s not about wins and losses. It’s about trusting each other and being loyal to each other.” Frankton, a small school of 480 students just north of Anderson, had one of the best Class A teams in the state last year. Coach Duncan really thought that they could have fared well at the team state tournament, but they did not get an invite. This year, that has changed. Frankton will be one of the teams competing for the Class A title. “We are really excited about team state,” Duncan said. “This is where we wanted to get as a team. We thought we had a chance last year, but this year we’re going in hoping to prove we belong. We have more kids out than we’ve probably ever had. The kids are excited and they all really look forward to the tournament.” One of Frankton’s hammers is junior 170 pounder Cody Klettheimer. Last season Klettheimer was one of two Frankton grapplers to advance to the individual state tournament. “We are looking forward to team state,” Klettheimer said. “Our goal is to win it. But we also think we can win our sectional, regional and maybe even our semistate.” That isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for Frankton. The team has four returning wrestlers who advanced to at least the ticket round of semistate last year. Klettheimer and senior David Delph advanced to state. Senior Dru Berkebile lost in the ticket round at semistate as did junior Cole Baker. The Eagles have other wrestlers, like senior Grant Geisinger, that are hoping to do well in the tourney this year. Geisinger lost to Cathedral’s Elliott Rodgers on a last second takedown in the opening round of regional. Rodgers went on to place fourth in state. “Grant has really developed,” Duncan said. “He has had a taste of success now, and he’s ready to make a run.” Frankton has the luxury of depth this year, something the school hasn’t really ever had before. There were over 30 kids go out for the team. “I have options this year,” Duncan said. “We are able to move kids around. We are able to make strategic lineup decisions. We have backups at just about every spot in our lineup.” Another major team strength is the bond the wrestlers have. “We all love being around each other,” Klettheimer said. “We know what we want to get to, and we push each other to the limit in the room. Even drilling we are starting to go 100 percent on everything. And, when we’re not wrestling, we are all hanging out together. We’ve became very close.” Frankton has improved its strength of schedule over the last several years, hoping it will create better wresters. “Our kids believe,” Duncan said. “They believe in each other, and they believe in themselves. We have a tough schedule, but it doesn’t matter what size school you come from, you still put your wrestling shoes on the same way. We are realizing by facing these larger, stronger schools, we can compete with anyone.” Klettheimer said the team’s motto is “Take No Prisoners.” The Eagles are good, and they want to prove it. Team state can’t come fast enough for this tight knit group. “We’re ready to see what we can accomplish,” Duncan said. “I think we can do something pretty special.” View full article
  15. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Roncalli freshman Alec Viduya knew what it would take to become a wrestling state champion. There’s hard work, dedication and all that jazz – but most importantly, he needed a perm. “Alec decided it was time to bring the perm back before the sectional this year,” Roncalli coach Wade McClurg said. “He was 15-0 in the state series with the perm, so the secret is in the hair.” Viduya won the 113 pound weight class, beating Jimtown’s No. 6-ranked Hunter Watt 7-4 in the finale. “He earned the nickname Goku (Dragonball Z reference) last summer,” McClurg said. “Goku is known for his work ethic and constantly striving to be the greatest warrior to protect the universe. Alec has crazy hair like Goku and he is always striving to be the best wrestler to protect the Southside Rebellion.” Viduya become Roncalli’s fourth state champion, and the first in 32 years since Chris Maxwell won in 1985. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his former coach Lance Ellis and become a four-time champion. “He was my coach for a long time, and I’d love to follow what he did,” Viduya said. Viduya certainly doesn’t lack confidence. The freshman tried not one, but two standing cradles in the finals match. “I know what I’m capable of,” Viduya said. “I knew that if I could lock that up I was getting back points.” Coach McClurg learned from his mentor, Carmel coach Ed Pendoski, that communication is the key to having a successful program. So McClurg held a meeting with Alec and his family at their kitchen table in July and discussed Alec’s goals. “Without hesitation he told me that he wanted to be a state champion as a freshman like his mentor Lance Ellis,” McClurg said. “That dialogue began when he was a youth wrestler and continued into the kitchen table conversation in July, and it’s still communicated on a daily basis.” Viduya dismantled several ranked opponents during his tournament run. He beat Warren Central’s No. 3-ranked Skylour Turner in the New Castle semistate final 15-4. He then beat #17 Kane Egli, No. 8 Jose Diaz and No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Asa Garcia leading up to the final match. “My Friday night match was one of the hardest because I had to make weight and maintain my weight,” Viduya said. “I was pretty tired. On Monday I was 122 pounds.” As is the case with almost every state champion, Viduya strives for excellence in practice. “I’ve had the privilege to have coached Alec since he was 8 years old,” McClurg said. “Alec has always taken his training very seriously and is passionate about wrestling. He is motivated by his absolute hatred of losing and has been that way since he was very young. That’s just how he is programmed. Alec is the ultimate competitor. He is confident in his abilities and he stays mentally strong in tough situations.” To many, Viduya seems very straight-laced and serious at all times. He is hyper-focused during tournaments and dual meets. But coach McClurg says he’s not always that way. “There is a misconception with some people who are not real familiar with Alec,” McClurg said. “Because they think he never smiles or talks. The people that really know Alec and see him every day in the hallways at Roncalli know that is certainly not the case. If I had to describe Alec in one word it would be ‘cool.’ Alec is one cool customer.” This summer Viduya plans to wrestle at Fargo in freestyle. His work to stay on the top of the championship ladder in high school is far from over. But, he feels that as long as he puts in the work, and keeps the perm, he should be ready.
  16. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Roncalli freshman Alec Viduya knew what it would take to become a wrestling state champion. There’s hard work, dedication and all that jazz – but most importantly, he needed a perm. “Alec decided it was time to bring the perm back before the sectional this year,” Roncalli coach Wade McClurg said. “He was 15-0 in the state series with the perm, so the secret is in the hair.” Viduya won the 113 pound weight class, beating Jimtown’s No. 6-ranked Hunter Watt 7-4 in the finale. “He earned the nickname Goku (Dragonball Z reference) last summer,” McClurg said. “Goku is known for his work ethic and constantly striving to be the greatest warrior to protect the universe. Alec has crazy hair like Goku and he is always striving to be the best wrestler to protect the Southside Rebellion.” Viduya become Roncalli’s fourth state champion, and the first in 32 years since Chris Maxwell won in 1985. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his former coach Lance Ellis and become a four-time champion. “He was my coach for a long time, and I’d love to follow what he did,” Viduya said. Viduya certainly doesn’t lack confidence. The freshman tried not one, but two standing cradles in the finals match. “I know what I’m capable of,” Viduya said. “I knew that if I could lock that up I was getting back points.” Coach McClurg learned from his mentor, Carmel coach Ed Pendoski, that communication is the key to having a successful program. So McClurg held a meeting with Alec and his family at their kitchen table in July and discussed Alec’s goals. “Without hesitation he told me that he wanted to be a state champion as a freshman like his mentor Lance Ellis,” McClurg said. “That dialogue began when he was a youth wrestler and continued into the kitchen table conversation in July, and it’s still communicated on a daily basis.” Viduya dismantled several ranked opponents during his tournament run. He beat Warren Central’s No. 3-ranked Skylour Turner in the New Castle semistate final 15-4. He then beat #17 Kane Egli, No. 8 Jose Diaz and No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Asa Garcia leading up to the final match. “My Friday night match was one of the hardest because I had to make weight and maintain my weight,” Viduya said. “I was pretty tired. On Monday I was 122 pounds.” As is the case with almost every state champion, Viduya strives for excellence in practice. “I’ve had the privilege to have coached Alec since he was 8 years old,” McClurg said. “Alec has always taken his training very seriously and is passionate about wrestling. He is motivated by his absolute hatred of losing and has been that way since he was very young. That’s just how he is programmed. Alec is the ultimate competitor. He is confident in his abilities and he stays mentally strong in tough situations.” To many, Viduya seems very straight-laced and serious at all times. He is hyper-focused during tournaments and dual meets. But coach McClurg says he’s not always that way. “There is a misconception with some people who are not real familiar with Alec,” McClurg said. “Because they think he never smiles or talks. The people that really know Alec and see him every day in the hallways at Roncalli know that is certainly not the case. If I had to describe Alec in one word it would be ‘cool.’ Alec is one cool customer.” This summer Viduya plans to wrestle at Fargo in freestyle. His work to stay on the top of the championship ladder in high school is far from over. But, he feels that as long as he puts in the work, and keeps the perm, he should be ready. Click here to view the article
  17. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Breyden Bailey has done just about everything one can do to improve in wrestling. He puts time in the weight room, works relentlessly in practice and studies the sport. He’s gotten better in all aspects of wrestling. Yet, each year, despite his improvements, his season has ended in the exact same way -- third place. Bailey, a senior at Indianapolis Cathedral, is one of the most highly decorated wrestlers in Indiana history. He’s a four time sectional champion, a four time regional champion and as of last Saturday, he’s a four-time New Castle semistate champion. Going to state is nothing new for Bailey. He’s been there four times. He’s won his Friday night match the last three years. He’s also won his first and second matches on Saturday for the last three years. The state semifinals has proven to be the death round for Bailey. He has lost in the semifinals all three years. Each time, the opponent that has beaten him, has then fallen to the eventual state champion en route to a second place finish. Bailey has went on to win the third place match all three times. “It does mean a lot to me to be a four-time state qualifier,” Bailey said. “I am proud of my placings, but I want to win it.” Wrestling is in Bailey’s blood. His father, Bryan, is a two-time state champion from Martinsville and a one-time runner-up. “Bryan has been coaching Breyden his whole life,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “He’s been able to absorb things about the sport. Wrestling really is a way of life for him.” Bailey started wrestling when he turned seven. He had instant success, placing second in the ISWA folkstyle state that year. “Wrestling really seems to have come naturally to me,” Bailey said. About the time Bailey started wrestling, he also started going to the state finals in Indianapolis to watch the high school guys reach for their goals. “I’ve been going to the state tournament since I was in second grade,” Bailey said. “My favorite memory was when Briar Runyan from Martinsville won it. I remember getting my picture taken with him. They are close family friends.” Bailey doesn’t participate in any other sport. He says his normal day is waking up early, doing a little lifting or running a few miles, then going to school. During the school day he often gets the opportunity during one of his resource classes to look at film on wrestling. After school he goes to practice, then sticks around some nights to put extra work in with his freshman brother Logan. Logan lost in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate on Saturday. McGinley says there really isn’t a weakness in Bailey’s wrestling. “He’s good from top, bottom and neutral,” McGinley said. “But the first thing I’d say about Bailey is that he’s a student of the sport. I’ve never had a kid that has so much knowledge, that’s so involved in our room. He’s constantly helping other kids and coaching. He’s on another level in terms of his knowledge of the sport.” Bailey’s leadership (he’s a three-year captain at Cathedral) is one of the big reasons the Irish are considered contenders for the team state title this year. Cathedral won the New Castle semistate and will send seven grapplers to the state meet. The Irish were especially dominant in the middle weights. Jordan Slivka won the 126 pound class, Bailey took first at 132 and Zach Melloh won the 138 pound bracket. Elliot Rodgers finished second at 145. Ben Stewart finished second for Cathedral at 195 pounds and Andy Guhl was second at 220. Caleb Oliver finished fourth at 113. “We thought the semistate team championship would be close,” McGinley said. “I really thought it was Perry Meridian’s to lose. But we always talk about how we want to get on a little bit of a roll. We know if we lose one we aren’t expected to, we need someone who isn’t expected to win to pull off the upset. “That happened when we lost at 106 with little Bailey. We turned around at 113 and got back on track.” Oliver’s advancement was a bit of a surprise, considering he had just an 18-16 record entering the semistate. For Breyden, he has learned leadership skills by watching guys that were good leaders to him. “My freshman year we won state,” Bailey said. “We had guys like Vinny Corsaro and Wesley Bernard that were great leaders. I learned a lot from their style.” Bailey will wrestle for Division I Northern Illinois University next season. His college bio page will talk about his three third place finishes. He’s hoping there is also a line that reads “2017 Indiana state champion” as well. “Right now that’s my number one goal,” Bailey said. “I want to get under those lights.”
  18. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Breyden Bailey has done just about everything one can do to improve in wrestling. He puts time in the weight room, works relentlessly in practice and studies the sport. He’s gotten better in all aspects of wrestling. Yet, each year, despite his improvements, his season has ended in the exact same way -- third place. Bailey, a senior at Indianapolis Cathedral, is one of the most highly decorated wrestlers in Indiana history. He’s a four time sectional champion, a four time regional champion and as of last Saturday, he’s a four-time New Castle semistate champion. Going to state is nothing new for Bailey. He’s been there four times. He’s won his Friday night match the last three years. He’s also won his first and second matches on Saturday for the last three years. The state semifinals has proven to be the death round for Bailey. He has lost in the semifinals all three years. Each time, the opponent that has beaten him, has then fallen to the eventual state champion en route to a second place finish. Bailey has went on to win the third place match all three times. “It does mean a lot to me to be a four-time state qualifier,” Bailey said. “I am proud of my placings, but I want to win it.” Wrestling is in Bailey’s blood. His father, Bryan, is a two-time state champion from Martinsville and a one-time runner-up. “Bryan has been coaching Breyden his whole life,” Cathedral coach Sean McGinley said. “He’s been able to absorb things about the sport. Wrestling really is a way of life for him.” Bailey started wrestling when he turned seven. He had instant success, placing second in the ISWA folkstyle state that year. “Wrestling really seems to have come naturally to me,” Bailey said. About the time Bailey started wrestling, he also started going to the state finals in Indianapolis to watch the high school guys reach for their goals. “I’ve been going to the state tournament since I was in second grade,” Bailey said. “My favorite memory was when Briar Runyan from Martinsville won it. I remember getting my picture taken with him. They are close family friends.” Bailey doesn’t participate in any other sport. He says his normal day is waking up early, doing a little lifting or running a few miles, then going to school. During the school day he often gets the opportunity during one of his resource classes to look at film on wrestling. After school he goes to practice, then sticks around some nights to put extra work in with his freshman brother Logan. Logan lost in the ticket round of the New Castle semistate on Saturday. McGinley says there really isn’t a weakness in Bailey’s wrestling. “He’s good from top, bottom and neutral,” McGinley said. “But the first thing I’d say about Bailey is that he’s a student of the sport. I’ve never had a kid that has so much knowledge, that’s so involved in our room. He’s constantly helping other kids and coaching. He’s on another level in terms of his knowledge of the sport.” Bailey’s leadership (he’s a three-year captain at Cathedral) is one of the big reasons the Irish are considered contenders for the team state title this year. Cathedral won the New Castle semistate and will send seven grapplers to the state meet. The Irish were especially dominant in the middle weights. Jordan Slivka won the 126 pound class, Bailey took first at 132 and Zach Melloh won the 138 pound bracket. Elliot Rodgers finished second at 145. Ben Stewart finished second for Cathedral at 195 pounds and Andy Guhl was second at 220. Caleb Oliver finished fourth at 113. “We thought the semistate team championship would be close,” McGinley said. “I really thought it was Perry Meridian’s to lose. But we always talk about how we want to get on a little bit of a roll. We know if we lose one we aren’t expected to, we need someone who isn’t expected to win to pull off the upset. “That happened when we lost at 106 with little Bailey. We turned around at 113 and got back on track.” Oliver’s advancement was a bit of a surprise, considering he had just an 18-16 record entering the semistate. For Breyden, he has learned leadership skills by watching guys that were good leaders to him. “My freshman year we won state,” Bailey said. “We had guys like Vinny Corsaro and Wesley Bernard that were great leaders. I learned a lot from their style.” Bailey will wrestle for Division I Northern Illinois University next season. His college bio page will talk about his three third place finishes. He’s hoping there is also a line that reads “2017 Indiana state champion” as well. “Right now that’s my number one goal,” Bailey said. “I want to get under those lights.” Click here to view the article
  19. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com When Gary Black Jr. interviewed for the head wrestling coach at Shenandoah, his goals were clear. He didn’t want to maintain the status quo for the Raiders. He wasn’t content with getting a few kids through to semistate. He wanted to put Shenandoah on the wrestling map, and he wanted the small Henry County school to compete, and win against the state’s best programs. His vision for the program landed him the job, and now, seven years later, he has done exactly what he said he would. Shenandoah won the school’s first sectional two weeks ago. The Raiders dominated larger schools such as New Castle and Richmond in the process. Last week the Raiders fell 1.5 points shy of winning the school’s first regional title. “We had to get a mentality change,” Black said. “We had to understand the physicality of wrestling. We reached out to the elementary school. We implemented a club to get young kids invested in the sport at an early age. It took us a few years, but when we had an opening for the middle school job and I had John Slivka and my dad (Gary) take over, we really started developing our feeder system.” Shenandoah has seven wrestlers competing at the New Castle semistate Saturday. Sophomores A.J. Black (106) and Dallas Pugsley (126), senior Ryan Surguy (138) and freshman Silas Allred (170) were all Richmond regional champions. Sophomore Hayden Lohrey (132) lost a close match to undefeated Cainan Schaefer in the championship round. Josh Gee (senior, 160) lost to No. 2-ranked Alston Bane 1-0 in the championship and sophomore Jake Webster placed fourth in the 152-pound class. The Raider success story is one of heartache, determination and a coach that refuses to give up on his kids. The Heartache Coach Black’s younger brother Levi was perhaps the most talented grappler on the Raider team. He had an insane dedication to the sport and a work ethic that was unrivaled. Levi was well liked by everyone he came in contact with. But, despite all the positives he had going for him, Levi struggled with a mental illness that eventually led him to take his own life, at the high school, in November of 2015. The death rocked the tiny Shenandoah community, as well as much of the surrounding area. Levi’s funeral brought together wrestlers from around the state. Many wrestlers, such as Bane at Richmond, have shown support of the Black family and helped raised awareness of mental illness by having a green streak (symbolic of Levi’s fight with the disease) dyed in his hair. The Shenandoah team needed strength during this time. They needed someone to help them cope with the emotional gravity of the situation. The Black family was there to provide it. “Both coaches (Gary Jr. and Sr.) are my heroes,” Gee said. “After all they went through, they still took care of us – even over themselves. Through their pain they never let us down. They helped us cope and really turned us into a wrestling brotherhood. We are a family.” For Gary Jr., he knew he needed to find a way to honor Levi, yet move forward. “The last 16 months have been a huge learning curve for a lot of us,” Black said. “Not only are you dealing with the daily grind of being a wrestler at a high level, but these kids already battle a lot of things daily. That was one more added struggle for all of us. There are days for me, my dad and I‘m sure the kids – being at that exact same place where everything happened – that make it very difficult. All of our lives have been changed.” The Determination Last year A.J. Black, Levi and Gary Jr’s youngest brother, tried doing everything he could to honor Levi. At times, the pressure got to him. He didn’t want to let his family down. When he lost in the ticket round to go to state, you could see that built up emotion boil over as tears streamed down his face. “The weight of trying to accomplish a goal for the memory of his brother took its toll on A.J. and just mentally wore him down,” coach Black said. “We talked about it. He had to make a shift in how he honors his brother. He needs to start doing things for himself. “I ask him before every match, who he is wrestling for. He now will say ‘Me’ and then give me a hug and go wrestle. He still honors Levi, but by working his hardest and doing his best. That’s all Levi would have wanted.” The hard work mantra extends past A.J. To a man, the Raiders pride themselves on outworking other teams. The guys have bought into the system and have dedicated their summers to the sport. “Levi was the hardest worker in the room,” A.J. said. “Everyone wants to make him proud by working as hard as they can, every day.” Take Allred for example. He is a 14-year old freshman that won’t turn 15 until May 28. He’s wrestling in one of the most physically demanding classes (170). Yet he’s undefeated. “We believe success is a mindset,” Allred said. “I constantly train and constantly push myself to get better. If you want to be the best, you have to work to be the best. You can get better, or worse every single day.” Surguy and Gee are two examples of the dividends of that work ethic. As a sophomore Gee was pinned by Bane in the sectional final in 36 seconds. Last year he lost 5-1 to Bane in the sectional final. This year, Gee has dropped two matches to Bane, but both were by the score of 1-0. Surguy is another senior that struggled early, but has blossomed due to the work he puts in. This year Surguy is 42-2 with a sectional and regional title. The Coach Gary has built the Raider program to be one of the state’s best. The Raiders finished No. 2 in the Class A team state, and have higher aspirations down the road. For Gary, the key to success has been making the wrestlers buy into the fact that the only way to improve, is to outwork the opposition. He also makes sure the wrestlers feel like a family. “We see each other at our worst, and we see each other at our best,” said Allred, who has a 4.0 GPA and is ranked third in his class. “When one of us has a down day, the rest of us try and pick him up. This is more than a wrestling team. We’re all friends. We’re all brothers.” The leader of the Raider family is undoubtedly the young coach Black. His passion for the team is evident in every match he coaches. “On Sundays I’m exhausted,” Black said “It’s hard for me to be on the sideline when I just want to go to war with them. I don’t want to be the general just telling them to go into battle. I want to battle with them. I’ll be the intense guy on the sideline. “I want these kids to win as bad as they do. I get extremely emotionally involved in their success. I’d like to think they appreciate it, even though I look ridiculous. I love wrestling and I love watching those kids compete.” Last year only Lohrey punched his ticket to the state meet for the Raiders. This year Shenandoah has high hopes to have more than one kid represented. They know how hard the road is to get to state, but they’ve prepared themselves to complete the journey – just like a young coach interviewing for his first head coaching job seven years ago said they would.
  20. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com When Gary Black Jr. interviewed for the head wrestling coach at Shenandoah, his goals were clear. He didn’t want to maintain the status quo for the Raiders. He wasn’t content with getting a few kids through to semistate. He wanted to put Shenandoah on the wrestling map, and he wanted the small Henry County school to compete, and win against the state’s best programs. His vision for the program landed him the job, and now, seven years later, he has done exactly what he said he would. Shenandoah won the school’s first sectional two weeks ago. The Raiders dominated larger schools such as New Castle and Richmond in the process. Last week the Raiders fell 1.5 points shy of winning the school’s first regional title. “We had to get a mentality change,” Black said. “We had to understand the physicality of wrestling. We reached out to the elementary school. We implemented a club to get young kids invested in the sport at an early age. It took us a few years, but when we had an opening for the middle school job and I had John Slivka and my dad (Gary) take over, we really started developing our feeder system.” Shenandoah has seven wrestlers competing at the New Castle semistate Saturday. Sophomores A.J. Black (106) and Dallas Pugsley (126), senior Ryan Surguy (138) and freshman Silas Allred (170) were all Richmond regional champions. Sophomore Hayden Lohrey (132) lost a close match to undefeated Cainan Schaefer in the championship round. Josh Gee (senior, 160) lost to No. 2-ranked Alston Bane 1-0 in the championship and sophomore Jake Webster placed fourth in the 152-pound class. The Raider success story is one of heartache, determination and a coach that refuses to give up on his kids. The Heartache Coach Black’s younger brother Levi was perhaps the most talented grappler on the Raider team. He had an insane dedication to the sport and a work ethic that was unrivaled. Levi was well liked by everyone he came in contact with. But, despite all the positives he had going for him, Levi struggled with a mental illness that eventually led him to take his own life, at the high school, in November of 2015. The death rocked the tiny Shenandoah community, as well as much of the surrounding area. Levi’s funeral brought together wrestlers from around the state. Many wrestlers, such as Bane at Richmond, have shown support of the Black family and helped raised awareness of mental illness by having a green streak (symbolic of Levi’s fight with the disease) dyed in his hair. The Shenandoah team needed strength during this time. They needed someone to help them cope with the emotional gravity of the situation. The Black family was there to provide it. “Both coaches (Gary Jr. and Sr.) are my heroes,” Gee said. “After all they went through, they still took care of us – even over themselves. Through their pain they never let us down. They helped us cope and really turned us into a wrestling brotherhood. We are a family.” For Gary Jr., he knew he needed to find a way to honor Levi, yet move forward. “The last 16 months have been a huge learning curve for a lot of us,” Black said. “Not only are you dealing with the daily grind of being a wrestler at a high level, but these kids already battle a lot of things daily. That was one more added struggle for all of us. There are days for me, my dad and I‘m sure the kids – being at that exact same place where everything happened – that make it very difficult. All of our lives have been changed.” The Determination Last year A.J. Black, Levi and Gary Jr’s youngest brother, tried doing everything he could to honor Levi. At times, the pressure got to him. He didn’t want to let his family down. When he lost in the ticket round to go to state, you could see that built up emotion boil over as tears streamed down his face. “The weight of trying to accomplish a goal for the memory of his brother took its toll on A.J. and just mentally wore him down,” coach Black said. “We talked about it. He had to make a shift in how he honors his brother. He needs to start doing things for himself. “I ask him before every match, who he is wrestling for. He now will say ‘Me’ and then give me a hug and go wrestle. He still honors Levi, but by working his hardest and doing his best. That’s all Levi would have wanted.” The hard work mantra extends past A.J. To a man, the Raiders pride themselves on outworking other teams. The guys have bought into the system and have dedicated their summers to the sport. “Levi was the hardest worker in the room,” A.J. said. “Everyone wants to make him proud by working as hard as they can, every day.” Take Allred for example. He is a 14-year old freshman that won’t turn 15 until May 28. He’s wrestling in one of the most physically demanding classes (170). Yet he’s undefeated. “We believe success is a mindset,” Allred said. “I constantly train and constantly push myself to get better. If you want to be the best, you have to work to be the best. You can get better, or worse every single day.” Surguy and Gee are two examples of the dividends of that work ethic. As a sophomore Gee was pinned by Bane in the sectional final in 36 seconds. Last year he lost 5-1 to Bane in the sectional final. This year, Gee has dropped two matches to Bane, but both were by the score of 1-0. Surguy is another senior that struggled early, but has blossomed due to the work he puts in. This year Surguy is 42-2 with a sectional and regional title. The Coach Gary has built the Raider program to be one of the state’s best. The Raiders finished No. 2 in the Class A team state, and have higher aspirations down the road. For Gary, the key to success has been making the wrestlers buy into the fact that the only way to improve, is to outwork the opposition. He also makes sure the wrestlers feel like a family. “We see each other at our worst, and we see each other at our best,” said Allred, who has a 4.0 GPA and is ranked third in his class. “When one of us has a down day, the rest of us try and pick him up. This is more than a wrestling team. We’re all friends. We’re all brothers.” The leader of the Raider family is undoubtedly the young coach Black. His passion for the team is evident in every match he coaches. “On Sundays I’m exhausted,” Black said “It’s hard for me to be on the sideline when I just want to go to war with them. I don’t want to be the general just telling them to go into battle. I want to battle with them. I’ll be the intense guy on the sideline. “I want these kids to win as bad as they do. I get extremely emotionally involved in their success. I’d like to think they appreciate it, even though I look ridiculous. I love wrestling and I love watching those kids compete.” Last year only Lohrey punched his ticket to the state meet for the Raiders. This year Shenandoah has high hopes to have more than one kid represented. They know how hard the road is to get to state, but they’ve prepared themselves to complete the journey – just like a young coach interviewing for his first head coaching job seven years ago said they would. Click here to view the article
  21. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Tristan Sellmer is a wrestling junkie. When Sellmer isn’t training on the physical aspects of the sport, the Floyd Central junior is learning the mental side. He spends time each day watching film or studying new moves. He is hoping his knowledge of the sport, and his strong work ethic, will help him reach the Indiana High School state finals this season. “Tristan Sellmer eats and breathes wrestling,” Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson said. “He loves it. He’s always studying film. He also seeks out the best wrestlers and wants to go against them.” Sellmer has had a lot of success in his high school career. To date, he is a three-time sectional champion and two-time regional champ. His tournament trail has ended the last two years at the Evansville semistate. As a freshman Sellmer won regional, but then received an unfortunate draw when Paul Konrath injury defaulted in the Castle regional. Sellmer then had to face Konrath in the first round, and lost 12-2. Sellmer was close to punching his ticket to state as a sophomore. He won his first round semistate matchup, but then lost a heart breaker to Avon’s Nathan Conley 3-2. “Not making it to state eats at me every single day,” Sellmer said. “It makes me train more and more. Every chance I get I am training or watching technique videos. I stay occupied completely with wrestling now.” Sellmer doesn’t play any other sports, and he says he doesn’t have a hobby. Wrestling and his grades are his only passions right now. This season Sellmer has faced five of the top 15-ranked grapplers in his 138-pound weight class. He’s won all but one of those matches. Sellmer, ranked No. 4 currently, lost to No. 3-ranked Kris Rumph 3-2 in overtime. He has beaten No. 2-ranked Zach Melloh, No. 5-ranked Conley, No. 8-ranked Jake Schoenegge and No. 14-ranked Derek Blubaugh. Sellmer’s Floyd Central team claimed its 28th sectional title this season. The school has won sectional 28 out of its 49 years in existence. The Highlanders had 13 advance to regional with five sectional champions. Johnathan Kervin, Devon Stikes, Ty Sorg, Bradley Philpot and Sellmer were the sectional title winners. “This is one of my more talented teams,” Sisson said. “But they are also one of the most fun and coachable teams I have had. There isn’t any negative energy in the room.” Sellmer is one of the kids that pushes his teammates to get better. He has put a lot of work in during the offseason. He’s went to several national tournaments and feels that’s really what has helped him get to the level he is wrestling at today. After high school Selmer would like to wrestle in college and eventually get a degree in accounting. He loves numbers, and they come easy for him he says. Right now he has not decided where he will attend.
  22. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Tristan Sellmer is a wrestling junkie. When Sellmer isn’t training on the physical aspects of the sport, the Floyd Central junior is learning the mental side. He spends time each day watching film or studying new moves. He is hoping his knowledge of the sport, and his strong work ethic, will help him reach the Indiana High School state finals this season. “Tristan Sellmer eats and breathes wrestling,” Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson said. “He loves it. He’s always studying film. He also seeks out the best wrestlers and wants to go against them.” Sellmer has had a lot of success in his high school career. To date, he is a three-time sectional champion and two-time regional champ. His tournament trail has ended the last two years at the Evansville semistate. As a freshman Sellmer won regional, but then received an unfortunate draw when Paul Konrath injury defaulted in the Castle regional. Sellmer then had to face Konrath in the first round, and lost 12-2. Sellmer was close to punching his ticket to state as a sophomore. He won his first round semistate matchup, but then lost a heart breaker to Avon’s Nathan Conley 3-2. “Not making it to state eats at me every single day,” Sellmer said. “It makes me train more and more. Every chance I get I am training or watching technique videos. I stay occupied completely with wrestling now.” Sellmer doesn’t play any other sports, and he says he doesn’t have a hobby. Wrestling and his grades are his only passions right now. This season Sellmer has faced five of the top 15-ranked grapplers in his 138-pound weight class. He’s won all but one of those matches. Sellmer, ranked No. 4 currently, lost to No. 3-ranked Kris Rumph 3-2 in overtime. He has beaten No. 2-ranked Zach Melloh, No. 5-ranked Conley, No. 8-ranked Jake Schoenegge and No. 14-ranked Derek Blubaugh. Sellmer’s Floyd Central team claimed its 28th sectional title this season. The school has won sectional 28 out of its 49 years in existence. The Highlanders had 13 advance to regional with five sectional champions. Johnathan Kervin, Devon Stikes, Ty Sorg, Bradley Philpot and Sellmer were the sectional title winners. “This is one of my more talented teams,” Sisson said. “But they are also one of the most fun and coachable teams I have had. There isn’t any negative energy in the room.” Sellmer is one of the kids that pushes his teammates to get better. He has put a lot of work in during the offseason. He’s went to several national tournaments and feels that’s really what has helped him get to the level he is wrestling at today. After high school Selmer would like to wrestle in college and eventually get a degree in accounting. He loves numbers, and they come easy for him he says. Right now he has not decided where he will attend. Click here to view the article
  23. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com There is an episode of ‘Malcom In the Middle’ where a few teenagers pick on an elderly man and then run away from him. As they run, they taunt the man – knowing they are much younger and faster than he is. The old man is persistent though. He never stops moving forward. Eventually, much to the surprise of the teens, he catches up to them and beats the tar out of them. Delta’s Jacob Gray is a lot like that old man. He’s not slow, by any means, but he is relentless. He’s always pressing forward. Every time an opponent looks up, Gray’s massive 182 pound frame is right in front of them. “Jacob is a meat and potatoes kind of wrestler,” Delta coach Gary Schleissman said. “He’s not fancy. He doesn’t do funk. He’s straight forward and relentless. He sticks to the basics, and he does them very well. He wrestles smart and doesn’t waste any movement. He’s always been that way.” Gray has 141 varsity victories and only 11 losses. As a freshman he lost in the ticket round at semistate. His sophomore year he lost just twice, both in the state finals. He ended up placing sixth that year. Last year Gray went 37-3 and lost Friday night at state. This season Gray is 28-2. Both of his losses came at the hands of the state’s No. 1-ranked 182 pounder, Nathan Walton. The first time the two wrestled Walton won 5-2. Gray narrowed the gap the next time they squared off – losing by just one point, 1-0. “Those losses have made me want to work harder,” Gray said. “You just think of how close the matches have been, and how a takedown, a reversal or something could have changed the outcome.” Gray, who has never been pinned in high school, has made it a point this season to attack more. “I am pressing the action a lot more,” Gray said. “I started noticing how in harder matches I was getting a little fatigued. Now that I’m trying to put up more points, I’m not getting as tired. I feel like it has helped me get in better shape.” One of Gray’s physical attributes that has helped him on the mat is his ridiculous hand strength. “His hand strength is absolutely crazy,” Schleissman said. “When I wrestle around with him in the room, it really hit me how strong his hands were last season. He’d grab a hold of my wrist and – holy crap” Gray is fueled by competing at a school with a rich wrestling history. Delta is fourth on Indiana’s all-time team state championships list with five. The school, located on the outskirts of Muncie, has had 13 individual champions. The list of individual champs include: Tim Klingensmith (1970), Chris Campbell (1981), Don Heintzelman (1981), Greg Gadbury (1981), David Palmer (1981, 1982), John Ginther (1983, 1984), Ron Riggin (1984), David Locke (1984), Craig Campbell (1985), Trent McCormick (1986), Jeff Tuttle (1987), Craig Locke (1990) and Eric Kerkhof (1994, 1996). “I want to be one of those guys you think about when you think of Delta wrestling,” Gray said. “Our coaches, teachers and a lot of people in our community talk about how good we were. All of my friends’ dads talk about the glory days. I see the pictures on the wall every day of all of our state champions, and I know I can be our next one.” Gray got his wrestling start at the Muncie Pal Club. According to coach Schleissman, the Pal Club was a place where “a bunch of rough neck kids would go in and beat the crap out of each other every day.” Bryce Baumgartner, Sage Coy, Luke Schleissman and Gray were a few of the wrestlers that emerged from the Pal Club. Despite his success on the mat, Gray isn’t one to brag on himself. “Jacob is just a great kid,” Schleissman said. “He’s very humble and very quiet. He’s polite and everyone respects him. I have watched him wrestle since he was very young. He’s my go to kid in practice. After this year, I’m really going to miss him.” After high school he plans to wrestle in college, but has not decided where he wants to go or what he wants to study. Right now he’s focusing on getting to the top rung of the podium at Banker’s Life in February. Jacob wants to go out on top – like all senior wrestlers.
  24. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com There is an episode of ‘Malcom In the Middle’ where a few teenagers pick on an elderly man and then run away from him. As they run, they taunt the man – knowing they are much younger and faster than he is. The old man is persistent though. He never stops moving forward. Eventually, much to the surprise of the teens, he catches up to them and beats the tar out of them. Delta’s Jacob Gray is a lot like that old man. He’s not slow, by any means, but he is relentless. He’s always pressing forward. Every time an opponent looks up, Gray’s massive 182 pound frame is right in front of them. “Jacob is a meat and potatoes kind of wrestler,” Delta coach Gary Schleissman said. “He’s not fancy. He doesn’t do funk. He’s straight forward and relentless. He sticks to the basics, and he does them very well. He wrestles smart and doesn’t waste any movement. He’s always been that way.” Gray has 141 varsity victories and only 11 losses. As a freshman he lost in the ticket round at semistate. His sophomore year he lost just twice, both in the state finals. He ended up placing sixth that year. Last year Gray went 37-3 and lost Friday night at state. This season Gray is 28-2. Both of his losses came at the hands of the state’s No. 1-ranked 182 pounder, Nathan Walton. The first time the two wrestled Walton won 5-2. Gray narrowed the gap the next time they squared off – losing by just one point, 1-0. “Those losses have made me want to work harder,” Gray said. “You just think of how close the matches have been, and how a takedown, a reversal or something could have changed the outcome.” Gray, who has never been pinned in high school, has made it a point this season to attack more. “I am pressing the action a lot more,” Gray said. “I started noticing how in harder matches I was getting a little fatigued. Now that I’m trying to put up more points, I’m not getting as tired. I feel like it has helped me get in better shape.” One of Gray’s physical attributes that has helped him on the mat is his ridiculous hand strength. “His hand strength is absolutely crazy,” Schleissman said. “When I wrestle around with him in the room, it really hit me how strong his hands were last season. He’d grab a hold of my wrist and – holy crap” Gray is fueled by competing at a school with a rich wrestling history. Delta is fourth on Indiana’s all-time team state championships list with five. The school, located on the outskirts of Muncie, has had 13 individual champions. The list of individual champs include: Tim Klingensmith (1970), Chris Campbell (1981), Don Heintzelman (1981), Greg Gadbury (1981), David Palmer (1981, 1982), John Ginther (1983, 1984), Ron Riggin (1984), David Locke (1984), Craig Campbell (1985), Trent McCormick (1986), Jeff Tuttle (1987), Craig Locke (1990) and Eric Kerkhof (1994, 1996). “I want to be one of those guys you think about when you think of Delta wrestling,” Gray said. “Our coaches, teachers and a lot of people in our community talk about how good we were. All of my friends’ dads talk about the glory days. I see the pictures on the wall every day of all of our state champions, and I know I can be our next one.” Gray got his wrestling start at the Muncie Pal Club. According to coach Schleissman, the Pal Club was a place where “a bunch of rough neck kids would go in and beat the crap out of each other every day.” Bryce Baumgartner, Sage Coy, Luke Schleissman and Gray were a few of the wrestlers that emerged from the Pal Club. Despite his success on the mat, Gray isn’t one to brag on himself. “Jacob is just a great kid,” Schleissman said. “He’s very humble and very quiet. He’s polite and everyone respects him. I have watched him wrestle since he was very young. He’s my go to kid in practice. After this year, I’m really going to miss him.” After high school he plans to wrestle in college, but has not decided where he wants to go or what he wants to study. Right now he’s focusing on getting to the top rung of the podium at Banker’s Life in February. Jacob wants to go out on top – like all senior wrestlers. Click here to view the article
  25. By JEREMY HINES Thehines7@gmail.com Lawrenceburg’s Jake Ruberg has battled some of Indiana’s best wrestlers, and more often than not has emerged victorious. But Ruberg’s true adversary isn’t an opponent standing across from him on the mat. No, for Ruberg, the demons he has wrestled in his own mind are far more vicious and formidable than any opponent could ever be. Ruberg emerged on the state scene four years ago. He was a little-known freshman wrestling for a small school a stone’s throw away from the Ohio state line. He won sectional and regional that year and eventually advanced to state. He lost just twice as a freshman, once to eventual champion Tommy Cash 2-1 in semistate, and then to Jacob Covaciu in the first round of state. Ruberg had sat at the table of the state’s wrestling elite. He developed a taste for that success and became obsessed with getting back there. He stepped on the mat 10 times that sophomore season, and all 10 times he emerged victorious. He was well on his way back to Indiana’s pinnacle – the state finals. Ruberg injured his shoulder during football, and thought he would be able to wrestle. But wrestling can be a cruel mistress at times. Ruberg realized that his shoulder needed more time to heal, and that he would have to stop wrestling for the remainder of the season. That injury led to a dark time for Ruberg, one where he would eventually be hospitalized because of a deep depression. “I’ve had to deal with some pretty tough stuff,” Ruberg said. “I became very depressed after my shoulder injury and I was in the hospital for a while. It was at the same time that Shenandoah’s Levi Black committed suicide after dealing with a mental illness. I was shocked to see that another kid was having some of the same issues I was having. I knew I had to come out of it.” Ruberg made the decision to talk about his issues. He went to therapy. He talked to Levi’s parents and brother (Shenandoah head coach Gary Black). By talking about it, he was starting to get better. He also realized that there might be other kids out there going through similar struggles. So, he made himself available to talk to them. “I wanted to make sure I was there for people,” Ruberg said. “Nobody should battle that alone. Mental illnesses are tough. I’ve been dealing with them since I was little. It’s something you have to work out. You can’t just fix yourself in a day. You have to have outlets and people you can talk to. My outlet is wrestling and working out. If I’m feeling bad, I go lift or work out on the mat. Everyone has to find their own outlet to get their mind clear.” Ruberg didn’t advance to state as a junior. He lost in the ticket round to Noah Warren in the New Castle semistate. The loss hurt, but Ruberg has learned to deal with the negative emotions and turn them into a positive. That was evident this football season. The Tigers advanced to the state championship game, eventually getting second. Ruberg was named the Class 3A Mental Attitude Award winner. “Jake is a born leader,” Lawrenceburg coach Mark Kirchgassner said. “He’s been a leader on our wrestling team for four years. He’s a leader on the football field. He’s just a leader in everything he does. “With Jake there have been ups and downs. But he has really taken positive steps. He’s done vigils with people battling depression. He’s taken kids under his wings. He helps people along the process and he’s been very open with it to other kids. It takes a lot of courage for a high school guy to tell people that he battles depression.” Ruberg is hoping this senior campaign ends with him on the podium at the state meet. He is currently ranked No. 10 at 170 pounds. He has a lost twice this year, once to No. 2-ranked Tanner Webster 3-2, and the other time he was pinned by No. 9-ranked Kameron Fuller. “My goal is to win state, and I expect to be in the top three at least,” Ruberg said. Ruberg has the luxury of being in the same room with three other highly skilled wrestlers in the upper weights. Nationally ranked Mason Parris is at 220. Jonah Rolfes (ranked No. 5 in the New Castle semistate) is at 182 pounds and Sam Tibbets is at 195 pounds. “We are fortunate for a small school to have four guys of that caliber that can battle every day in practice,” Kirchgassner said. “They are really able to push each other.” Ruberg loves the success his small school has had recently in wrestling. “People try and tell me how much better the Ohio tournament is,” Ruberg said. “I know they have great wrestlers. But we have a tournament where a school of 600 people gets to compete against a school of 6,000. Your ability really shines. You know you are one of the top 16 when you make it to state. If you win, there is no doubt that you are the best. I do wish we had wrestle backs though.” After high school Ruberg will wrestle for the University of Indianapolis. He chose Indianapolis because he wanted to remain close to home, and he really liked the coaching staff. “Their coach is very down to earth,” Ruberg said. “He will talk to you about anything. He’ll check up with you on the weekends and see how you’re doing. I just really like their program.” Ruberg plans to go into nursing. He had people help him when he was at his lowest point, and now he wants to make a career out of helping others. “My advice to anyone that might be struggling is to find someone that will listen to you,” Ruberg said. “Find someone you can open up to. Always keep going. There might be bad times, but something greater is always right around the corner.”
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