Nov. 16—Last winter, the IHSAA wrestling tournament proved once again to be one of the toughest through which to advance.
A talented group of area athletes advanced to semistate with designs on advancing to the state finals, but only Pendleton Heights junior Jack Todd was able to take his talents to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Todd returns as does the bulk of his Madison County championship team and another crop of strong wrestlers vying this time for a trip to Evansville, this year's site for the state finals.
Here is a snapshot glance at area wrestling teams ahead of the season, which gets underway Saturday.
Coach: Scott Rowland (3rd season); Key Losses: Isaiah Fye, Cade Reynolds, Jason Keeley; Key returning athletes: Ezra Fye, Clayton Martin, Langdon Ashby, Will Rowland, D.J. Egan, Jesse Leonard, Kolten Dailey, Austin DeVore, Levi Koons, Harrison Fife; Newcomers to watch: Carter Blackmon, Carter Sovern, Garrett Blanton, Wyatt Thompson.
Outlook: "We are really excited about our numbers and interest this season," Rowland said. "We are hoping to piggy back off the great season that our football team had and hopefully carry that over into wrestling. We have 14 or more football players this season on the team, and they are learning what it is like to have success and what it takes to be successful. This group is really the first group of wrestlers that have wrestled in our club since they were in elementary school. They have achieved some success in middle school, and we're are hoping that it translates into the high school."
Coach: Nick Rosenow (1st season); 2022-23: 14-3; Key losses: Jake Wilson, Tremayne Brown, Clayton Stephens; Key returning athletes: Jackson Richardson, Kason Davis, Jensen Shyrock, Lorenzo Moreno; Newcomers to watch: Kris Kendall, Reggie Brown; Potential breakout: Moreno, Richardson.
Outlook: "This season will be a challenging year," Rosenow said. "We have lost some key wrestlers that could have made us a complete lineup. We have four open weight classes, and it will make it difficult to win dual meets down by 24 points going into them. This is extremely hard to make us a contender against teams like Hamilton Heights and Pendleton Heights, but our team will compete to the fullest. This year's expectation is to compete to our team's ability. I believe that if our team competes and (doesn't) take time off that they will have chances to get wins."
Coach: Dalton Baysinger (6th season); 2022-23: 4-9; Key losses: Dawson Brooks, Noah Gibson; Key returning athletes: Reazon Davenport, Chris Walters; Newcomers to watch: Kynlie Keffer, Avery Paxson, Raegan Jackson; Potential breakout: Justin Harrington.
Outlook: "We have a young team that is hungry to get better," Baysinger said. "With an eager to improve mentality, I am confident we will do our best wrestling at the right time."
Coach: Victor Cruz (1st season); 2022-23: 6-21; Key losses: Kaleb Colwell; Key returning athlete: Kayden Simpson; Newcomers to watch: Jayden McPhearson, Bracken Jetty; Potential breakout: McPhearson, Jetty, Brylen Mort.
Outlook: "'Can you become committed to the process of what you are doing without being emotionally attached to the results of what you are doing? In other words, if you don't get what you thought you were going to get, can you still show up and be just as dedicated and committed as you were on day one?'" Cruz quoted motivational speaker Inky Johnson.
Coach: Courtney Duncan (12th season); 2022-23: 23-9; Key losses: Hunter Branham, Carson Ward, Elijah Knauer, Cade Thomas, Brock Stephens; Key returning athletes: Crew Farrell, Thaiden Alexander, Garek Ellis, Jonah Ellis; Newcomers to watch: Ty Everson, Ethan Ballard; Potential breakout: Caine Oakley.
Outlook: "Our roster is the largest we have had since coaching at Frankton, which will give us some depth," Duncan said. "With the IHSAA implementation of new weight classes, we will have some individuals adjust weight classes throughout the season as our lineup works itself out. Our goal is to have another 20-plus win season as a team and advance multiple individuals deep in the IHSAA tournament series."
Coach: Jason Pedigo; Key losses: Alan Buzan; Expected to return: Paige Stires, Braken Little, Braden Dawson, Cole Miller, Grissom Jernigan, Haiden Scherer; Potential breakout: Stires.
Coach: Jake Wilson (1st season); Key losses: Nathan Knopp, Lucas Knopp; Expected to return: Gavin Colburn, Tripp Haisley, Josh Hasty, Claydon Campbell, Aiden Hendey, Cole Stitt, Boston Caudell, Je'Shayvor Faulk, Braiden Ross; Potential breakout: Caudell.
Coach: Dave Coud (39th season); 2022-23: 17-7; Key losses: None; Key returning athletes: Brooks Bond, Max Bowers, Elijah Wolf, Alex Heineman, Jaylen Covington, Todd, Hayden Edmundson, Chris Crank, Garrett Pederson, Nate Walls, Eli Libler, Savannah Cope, Claire Bowman, Kalli Stock, Lillian Faircloth, Jaida Jones; Newcomers to watch: Turner Seale, Kemper Owens, Tyrese Covington, Maddie Marsh, Kaden Hasty, Helen Wrin, Jaymison Beardsley, Jaxtyn Flynn; Potential breakout: Bowers, Heineman, Bowman, Marsh.
Outlook: "The Arabians are looking to defend the Madison County title and contend for the sectional title with Hamilton Heights and Noblesville after a third-place finish last season," Cloud said. "We expect to be a strong dual meet team and look forward to the North Montgomery two-day tournament as a test of how the team stacks up against some of the better teams in the state. An early season dual with (Hoosier Heritage Conference) rival Greenfield Central will be a good gauge of prospects in the always tough HHC Tournament."
Coach: John Slivka (1st season); Key returning athlete: Tate Sanders.
Outlook: "This year's team will be young, and several wrestlers have come out for the first time this year," Slivka said in an email. "After finishing last season with five wrestlers, the numbers have climbed now to near 20. Senior Tate Sanders, already named a captain, will be heavily relied upon to lead this young group from his spot at 157 or 165. The new wrestlers bring with them enthusiasm, a work ethic and they are hungry."
Contact Rob Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-640-4886.