News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

December 1, 2013

On the mat: healthy mix of vets, youth

Big Four wrestlers pinning hopes on success in conference competition

TERRE HAUTE — Wrestlers in the Wabash Valley are hungry to get started in what could become a memorable season on the high school mats.

Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South will compete in both the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and the Conference Indiana championships, the latter being the new long-term home for all athletic programs of the city schools, replacing the MIC.

The wrestling programs won’t be downgrading any in the caliber of opponents in Conference Indiana. Perry Meridian is the defending IHSAA state champion, while tradition-rich Bloomington South is ranked No. 14 by the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association.

“[Conference Indiana] doesn’t get any easier for us. It’s probably a stronger conference than MIC is,” said North coach Mark Frisz, who also offers it as a unique opportunity when discussing it with his athletes. “It’s a rare opportunity that they’ll be all-conference in two conferences.”

With an influx of young talent, Northview hopes to upend two-time defending Western Indiana Conference champion Sullivan for top honors this year.

The Knights came up four points short last season and took runner-up by two points during the 2011-12 season.

“We need some guys to win in those consolation rounds,” Northview coach Dan Mikesell said. “That’s what we’re hoping for. I think we’ll be right in the mix. I know South Vermillion, Sullivan and Edgewood will all have good teams.”

West Vigo is also hoping to get in the mix of WIC contenders. Vikings coach Scott Rohrbach is hoping to get the Vikings as much experience as possible; they’ve already compiled a 4-2 team record after competing in the Warrior Classic at Turkey Run as well as a dual meet with Cloverdale.

“It’s the first time since I’ve been coaching we’ve started this early,” Rohrbach said. “We’re trying to get more mat time for the guys. We’ve had three good weeks so far.”

I I I

Here are close-up looks at the young men hitting the mats at the Tribune-Star’s Big Four schools:

‘Good nucleus’

n Northview — Mikesell returns a pair of seniors, one a semistate qualifier and one a regional qualifier during the 2012-13 season.

Shane Ryan won a regional crown at 113 pounds last season, and while he’s bumping up to 120 or 126, “he’s looking to build upon that success this year,” Mikesell said.

Trey Boor returns after claiming the top spot on the podium in the WIC at 152 pounds last season.

“[Trey] did a real nice job, he’s a good leader and should get us started off right,” Mikesell said.

The Knights also have a few juniors in the lineup, but the roster is filled with ambitious freshmen and sophomores.

The juniors include Trance Kelley, a 132-pounder who is “hungry for success,” Mikesell said. “He was really on the verge last year of doing some good things. Got 20 wins. Looking forward to him building on that.”

The other is Levi Brown, a 170-pounder. “Very athletic kid, did some good things last year,” Mikesell said.

Sophomore Cale McCoy is the returning WIC champion at 106 pounds, but he’ll be moving up.

“He put in a lot of hard work this summer, went to two different camps, looking to have a breakout sophomore year. He’ll be moving up a couple classes, probably at 120,” Mikesell said.

Another sophomore, Stephen Gibson, was WIC runner-up at 132 pounds as a freshman.

“He’s one of our kids that went to camp and went to some freestyle tournaments,” Mikesell said. “Pretty excited about him as well. Counting on him among the youth movement.

“Our middle school coaches have done a good job the last couple years. It’s a good nucleus of kids that are ready to have some success,” Mikesell added.

Sophomore Marcus Duregger is new to the high school team, filling a void at 182 pounds. A classmate, Jacob Bean, is expected to help the Knights at 220 or 195, while Brennan Pilman will be the heavyweight or potentially 220.

“Like Jacob, he’s a lineman on the football team. The football coach did a nice job recruiting him for me. Wrestled one or two years in middle school,” Mikesell said. “Those two are learning on the fly, trying to pick up as much stuff as they can.”

Four freshmen could be in the Knights’ lineup.

Cody Swearengin will step in at 106, while Austin Cook slots in at 113.

Jacob Hendrich brings a quality resume into his first varsity season. He was on Team Indiana, winning a Greco-Roman state championship.

“He’s been wrestling since he was five years old. Excellent middle school season last year,” Mikesell said. “Really dedicated in the offseason. Does 30 or 40 matches during the spring.  Been looking forward to him being in high school.”

Freshman Mason Moon could also earn varsity time at 145, 152 or 160.

‘Off to good start’

n West Vigo — The Vikings will be led by a five-man senior class.

Sam Bowden is a four-year letterwinner and will look to build on a strong junior season at 138 pounds.

Sam McClain is the Vikings’ 195-pounder, Chris Wolfe slots in at 126, Brady Likens at 152 and Jack Belleu at 170.

“Belleu, my senior at 170, is an extremely hard worker, great attitude, turning into a really good leader along with Bowden and rest of the seniors. Really happy with those guys,” Rohrbach said.

A pair of sophomores had outstanding freshman seasons, qualifying for the regional.

Doug Wilkins and Dakota Short will each move up a weight class — from 126 to 132 for Wilkins and from 195 to 220 for Short.

Freshmen Seth Frey and Brian Becker are stepping in at 106 and 113 respectively, while Clayton Noblitt is a sophomore at 120.

Junior Zach Otte will wrestle 145, with freshman Joe Creasey at 160 and sophomore Nick Parker at 182. Josh Beasley rounds out the young wrestlers at 220 or heavyweight.

“We’re off to a good start. Good mix of older kids and younger kids,” Rohrbach said. “All the freshmen have mat experience. We took off and jumped into the season without having to do a lot of teaching and refreshing.”

Rohrbach is hoping to see the guys develop their skills in the next couple months. The Vikings are hoping to achieve a second straight winning season.

“We have some promising freshmen, we’ve got some talent on the team. We’re young, and we want to have another winning season,” Rohrbach said. “We’re wanting to get kids deeper in the tournament. Being a single-class tournament and having many of these guys that are in multiple sports, it’s a challenge.”

‘Experienced seniors’

n Terre Haute North — The Patriots are not as strong in numbers as they’ve been throughout the 24 years Frisz has been with the program, but he’s hoping the quality makes up for it.

Six seniors return for the Patriots, led by 2012-13 semistate qualifier Ethan Edington at 220 and semistate qualifier Tyler Gilmore at 152.

J.J. Low was a semistate qualifier two years ago.

“He had injury problems last year. Never got healthy,” Frisz said. “He’s 100 percent now, so looking for a lot better season out of him.”

Fellow seniors are Dallas Lakes at 132 and 182-pounder Ryan Moshak, who wrestled at 170 pounds as a junior.

The Patriots had a successfull offseason that Frisz hopes pays off this winter.

Edington and Gilmore were AAU All-Americans in the Scholastic Duals at Disney, while Moshak and freshman Thomas Dull were medalists in the same event.

Dull was a Greco-Roman state champion last year as well. He’ll wrestle 138 or 145.

Another freshman, Peyton Webster, has also experienced success, Frisz said.

“Peyton has a lot of experience and should help us out from the start,” Frisz said.

Junior Sean Elia figures to be in the lineup at 145 or 152.

“He also competed at Disney and got some good experience in the offseason,” Frisz said.

Freshman Conor Dwyer is another freshman ready to compete at the varsity level.

“Has plenty of mat experience, but he’s been injured early in the season but hopeful to get him in there,” Frisz said.

Sophomore Grant Reed gained limited experience as a freshman.

“He’s really a first-year wrestler. We just don’t have a ton of numbers. Twenty kids is the lowest we’ve ever had starting the season,” Frisz said.

Dylan Stucker at 170 is another first-year wrestler that will be needed at the varsity level.

“Different blend. Good experienced seniors, even though we don’t have a lot of them. The experienced freshmen will help balance it out. No depth. If someone’s hurt or sick, we may end up forfeiting weight classes, which hurt us last year too,” Frisz said.

‘Most seasoned team’

n Terre Haute South — The Braves opened their season Saturday at the Edgewood Invitational against a quality field.

The Braves went 2-3 to take fourth place, as Phoenix Adams led the way with a 5-0 record at 160 pounds.

Adams is among five semistate qualifiers returning to coach Gabe Cook’s lineup.

“Phoenix is ranked eighth in the state at 145. He’s going to wrestle up at 160 and see how he feels. We’ll see how feels not having to watch his weight,” Cook said. “Wrestling better than he ever has.”

Dwayne Deerwester, a 170-pound senior, is another semistate qualifier who also had a solid football season as a linebacker for the Braves.  

“He was a state medalist last year in the spring and made tremendous gains,” Cook said.

Darin Pemberton made semistate last year at 113 pounds, but he’s hoping to drop to 106 as a senior.

“Darin’s hoping to give himself an edge by dropping the weight. He’s done a great job of watching his weight,” Cook said. “He’s been under 106 after practice every day this week. He started working toward this first day of school. Very disciplined.”

Ian Newton at 145 pounds is another semistate qualifier, and he’s returning to the lineup at 145. David Lewis is a 120-pound junior hoping to build off last year’s semistate appearance.

Senior Alex Mimms steps into the lineup at heavyweight; he was second on the Braves in wins as a sophomore.

Junior Sean Young is a two-year starter at 182, while Jacob Givens is another guy returning to the starting lineup after a one-year absence. Givens is slides in at 195.

Freshman Keagan Koenig is among the newcomers hoping to help the Braves. He’ll likely be in the lineup at 113.

“He’s very strong. He’s still learning and made big gains after starting to wrestle last year as an eighth-grader. Keeps getting better every week,” Cook said.

Junior Nick Church will make an impact at 126 or 132, while junior Jordan Montgomery is at 220.

“This is probably the most seasoned team I’ve had. It’s an exciting atmosphere in the room,” Cook said.

Big Four wrestling

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MET 042114 TRACK MCNICHOLS.jpg

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