Area wrestlers have their eyes on the prize

Herald File Photos by Brittney Lohmiller
Senior Tucker Schank will be one of the returning members for a Southridge wrestling team that's chock full of experience. Schank, who has qualified for two straight state finals appearances, is one of the returning members who will take to the mats for the Raiders this season.


It’s time to break out the singlets and mats as the wrestling season is upon us here in Dubois County (as well as a special corner of Spencer County).

Athletes will be competing for position, hunting for takedowns, and looking to score pinfalls and points anyway they can on the way to sectional glory and beyond. Here is a preview of the area wrestling teams.

Jasper Wildcats

Last season: Finished fourth overall in the Big Eight; fifth overall at sectional; sent six wrestlers to regional; Zachary Flynn went to semistate.

First meet: Nov. 29 @ Boonville High School, 6:30 p.m.

Notable: Jasper head coach Jace Brescher is looking forward to getting to business and is excited to work in his new incoming wrestlers with the 12 starters that he has returning this season. But Brescher was quick to note that everyone will have to compete for their spots and plenty of the guys are skilled and hungry for a starting role. The team is focused on earning conference and sectional championships, so whichever wrestlers can help the cause will be the ones who take the floor during the meets.

Senior Zachary Flynn will be looking to add to his collection of accolades that includes a sectional title and semistate appearance at 170-pound class last season. Fellow senior Abhay Rathee will look to build on his fourth place sectional finish and regional appearance at 182. Senior Landon Betz will bring the experience of a top-three finish at sectional back to the team. Junior Sam Bies will be the defending conference champ at 145-pounds and finished second in sectional last season.

Quotable: “One of my goals is to take one or more guys to the state finals this year,” said Brescher. “It’s been awhile since Jasper has taken somebody and I think we have some prime candidates that are capable of making it.”

Southridge Raiders

Last season: Won PAC title; finished second overall at sectional; 12 wrestlers went to regional; sent four to semistate; Tucker Schank went to state.

First meet: Nov. 21 @ Edgewood High School, 8 a.m.

Notable: Southridge is looking to build and move forward after last season’s success that saw them capture a conference title, move 12 guys to regional and featured a state qualifier in Tucker Schank at the 160 weight class. Raider coach Dave Schank thinks that the team has enough talented and hard working guys to claim another conference title and perhaps move past Floyd Central in sectional. He also thinks this team could be capable of going far in the postseason, perhaps even finishing with three or four wrestlers at state if everyone stays healthy.

Schank will be back to spend his senior season defending his crown at the 160 class. Junior Brad Springer will be moving up in weight, possibly to 170, after winning the sectional title at 152 last season and will look to get over the hump after falling just short of a state appearance. Junior Cole Calvert finished second at 182-pounds at sectional, but also made a run to semi-state last year. He’ll either return to 182 or move up to 195. Senior Wyatt Kramer will be the team’s heavyweight at 285, where he finished second at sectional last season and figures to be another one who can win enough close matches to make his way to state.

Quotable: “If we can stay healthy, we could have a really good year,” said Schank. “This is one of the best groups that we’ve had. This year we have nine, ten really solid wrestlers to throw out there.”

Zachary Flynn is coming off of a stellar year for the Jasper wrestling program that saw him take home the sectional crown in the 170-pound weight class as he ended up advancing all the way to semistate. The Wildcats are searching to take it a step further this season as they hope they can send at least one wrestler to the state finals in Indianapolis.

Forest Park Rangers

Last season: Finished ninth overall in PAC; ninth overall at sectional; Isaac Brosmer went to regional.

First meet: Nov. 17 @ Bedford North Lawrence High School, 8 a.m.

Notable: Forest Park coach Craig Recker is the first to acknowledge just how tough of a season it was for the Rangers last year. Recker had the challenge of coaching a team that was entirely made up of freshmen and sophomores and they endured some tough outings when faced with more experienced opponents at meets. But Recker feels that last season’s trials taught his team a lot, and thinks that the Ranger wrestlers, with their added numbers, will be competitive enough to earn some team wins when the season kicks up.

Junior Isaac Brosmer will be anchoring the 113-pound weight class for Forest Park, and fellow junior Cole Mohr will be slotted in at 138. Recker also believes highly in his sophomore class, and thinks they will be the key to how successful the team could be over the course of the year.

Quotable: “I’m very optimistic, the future looks really good,” said Recker. “We’re still young, but we’ll get over (it) as the year goes on.”

Heritage Hills Patriots

Last season: Finished third overall in PAC; finished fourth overall at sectional; sent eight wrestlers to regional; sent four wrestlers to semistate.

First meet: Nov. 24 @ Mt. Vernon High School, 11 a.m.

Notable: Heritage Hills will welcome Adam Zollman into the role of head coach for the wrestling team after he was elevated from an assistant coach following Troy Bell’s resignation in June, but he brings 16 years of coaching experience to the job. The Pats will be returning nine wrestlers from last year’s team, and thinks that their sectional is open for them to excel, though Castle will still be the team to beat.

Junior Sam Scott, who won a sectional title last season at 106 on the way to semistate will be moving up in weight to wrestle in the 113/120-pound weight class this year. Fellow junior and semi-state qualifier Beau Heeke will be moving up from 120, where he finished second in sectional, to 132. Senior Mason Ayer will return to 145, where he finished as sectional runner-up last season on his way to semistate.

Quotable: “We’re not training to beat the bad kids, we want to be beat the best kids,” said Zollman when talking about the team’s schedule structure, which features a meet against Jasper this season. “I want to pick out good competition. The top teams aren’t going to ask us to come to them if we’re not doing what we should.”

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