Haug, Schroeder advance to state

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Forest Park senior Travis Haug raises his arm after his win in the opening round of the Jasper semi-state Saturday in the 120-pound class against Madison freshman Jace Walls. Haug overcame an injury in his second match to advance to state, and he finished fourth in his class on Saturday.


No injury was going to keep Travis Haug from advancing to state on Saturday.

The Forest Park senior met Pike junior Maleec Stansberry in the second round of the Jasper semi-state. He injured his lower rib cage, and couldn’t breathe. Rangers coach Craig Recker had an injury timeout with Haug, who had Stansberry on his heels after building an early 5-0 lead. Haug had to push for it, but in the end, he outlasted Stansberry for three periods to make it to state.

Haug remembered his former wrestling teammate, Anderson Peters, who passed away in November 2019, and used his memory as inspiration.

“I said that I was going to bring him and our team and his name as far as I can go this year,” Haug said. “And I’ve fulfilled that promise, and I just kept thinking about that — so I fought through it. (It’s) a very emotional ride when you think about how close you are — you just learn to push through it.”

The emotions didn’t stop with Haug, as his success caused Recker to tear up — who wasn’t afraid to admit he was “crying like a little baby” when Haug became the first Ranger to advance to state since Recker started coaching the team.

He felt that Haug did the work and he’s just along for the ride, and added that what his wrestler did was solely on adrenaline.

“I just think it says it all when you get a win like that,” Recker said. “When you’re injured and you can take the easy way out in life, you could take the easy way out on the mat and nobody would’ve said anything negative about it. He was hurt. He had every reason to woe, and he didn’t. He manned up and worked through the pain for two minutes. He had the full third period to go and got the job done. It’s just an amazing feat — I just feel very lucky to be part of it.”

Haug forfeited the semifinals match due to his injury, and lost to Brownsburg junior Braden Haines in the consolation on a 7-2 decision, but he will wrestle at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for state, which is set for Feb. 19-20.

“He had a goal, and he put his mind to it, and we got it done,” Recker said.

Schroeder follows in brother’s footsteps

Southridge sophomore Reid Schroeder works on Charlestown senior Deke Brown on Saturday. Schroeder will represent the Raiders in the 182-pound class, where he finished in fourth place after forfeiting the semifinals due to a torn meniscus. He is going to state one year after older brother Sam did so in the 160-pound class.

Reid Schroeder is the 21st wrestler in Southridge history to make it to state — one year after older brother Sam became the 20th to represent the Raiders.

Sam made it to state last year in the 160-pound class his senior year, but Reid, at just a sophomore, will be making his way to state after his performance on Saturday in the 182. He trailed early in his match against Charlestown senior Deke Brown, but mounted a comeback to secure his spot at Bankers Life and finish fourth.

“I figured if I lost, I wouldn’t be wrestling next week,” Reid said. “So, I just put it into gear and got to work.”

“Everybody that’s wrestled at any level has been behind at one time or another,” Southridge coach Kurt Collins said. “As you do it for a while, you get to the fact that sometimes you’re down a little bit, sometimes you’re up a little bit. And it’s not over until the last whistle blows.”

It’s Collins’ second year as the head coach of his alma mater, and the two wrestlers he’s taken to state so far have been brothers. He appreciates the opportunity to get to go to state again, and lauded Reid for how hard he has worked to get to work he’s at.

Collins sees big things in Reid’s future after making it to state his sophomore year.

“I’d love to see him be Southridge’s first three-time state qualifier,” he said. “I’d love to see him be Southridge’s second state champion. I’d love to see him be Southridge’s first two-time state champion, and I really believe that he’s got the tools, the equipment, the ability, the mindset, the physicality to do all those things.”

Nine others compete at semi-state

The other wrestlers from Jasper, Southridge, Forest Park and Heritage Hills won’t be able to join Haug and Reid on their trip to state, but some of them came close and many will be back on the mat next year.

Jasper will have to wait at least another year to send a wrestler to state for the first time since 2019, but all four Wildcat grapplers — senior Jainier Milanes in the 113, sophomore Jeb Prechtel in the 152, junior Ashton Schuetter in the 195 and senior Quade Popp in the 285, advanced to the second round after pinning their opponents.

“We were pretty excited as coaches,” Jasper coach Jace Brescher said. “One, just to get four wins would’ve been an accomplishment. But to get four pins in the first round definitely helped us to hold our heads up high and know that we had some good wrestlers competing here today.”

Jasper sophomore Jeb Prechtel works on Avon senior Tyler Conley in the second round of the Jasper semi-state in the 152-pound class on Saturday. Prechtel came a shade off making it to state. He dropped a 3-2 decision to Conley.

Prechtel and Popp came the closest to representing the Wildcats at Bankers Life. Prechtel tried to get something going against Avon senior Tyler Conley, having control for much of the match, but Prechtel fell just shy, 3-2. Popp suffered the same fate when he lost on a 2-1 decision to junior Jacob Johnson from Franklin.

“Both of them wrestled really well,” Brescher said. “They wrestled smart, they kept the match close, they kept themselves in position to win….Today, it wasn’t just our time to come out on top, but they gave it their all, and that’s all we can ask.”

Milanes had a 2-0 lead on junior Reed Egli from Evansville Mater Dei, but Egli came back to tie it, and ultimately pin the three-time state qualifier for Jasper. Brescher thought Milanes went too hard across with the chicken wing move and should’ve pressured in a different direction.

Schuetter has accomplished a lot in his wrestling career, but he had to deal with undefeated senior Brach Carrington of Greencastle, and Carrington pinned him under two minutes. Brescher felt Schuetter had one of the toughest draws he could’ve had, but took solace in knowing that he’ll be back next year.

Prechtel will be back next year, too, but it was the end of the line for Milanes and Popp. Milanes won a sectional his sophomore year and made it to semi-state his latter three years of high school, while Popp made it to semi-state for the first time this year; and ended his career in his home gym.

Brescher will miss the leadership that both brought to the mat.

“Whenever you’re a good wrestler, it just seems like leadership kind of follows that,” he said. “Maybe that wrestling mentality is what led them to be better leaders. I just know that Jainier always has such an exciting attitude and enthusiasm out there on the mat. So, that will be definitely missed, but we’re glad that they were able to accomplish what they did this season.”

Two other Raiders joined Reid at semi-state on Saturday. Junior Cayden Andrews suffered a pin at the hands of Jeffersonville senior Jeramiah Cain in the opening round of the 132-pound class, and senior Tanner Kane dropped an 11-4 loss to fellow senior Colton Roberts of Avon.

“I’ve known Tanner a long time, and I coached him a little in middle school and I coached him his last two years in high school,” Collins said. “He’s a great kid. He set a good example in the practice room this year as a team leader and team captain. And I appreciate all the efforts that he’s put into wrestling, and super-proud of his accomplishments this year.”

Haug wasn’t the only Forest Park wrestler who accomplished a rare feat Saturday at Jasper, as 106-pound wrestler Cody Brames had the distinction of making it to semi-state for the Rangers as a freshman. Fellow freshman Charlie LaRocca of Center Grove pinned him in 58 seconds in the opening round.

“The accomplishment there is monumental,” Recker said. “He’s got three more years to build on this.”

Heritage Hills freshman Garrett Forler works on Cascade sophomore Logan Bickel in the 113 on Saturday. Bickel came away with a 13-4 decision win.

Heritage Hills was the only local school not to send anybody to the second round on Saturday, but both qualifiers will be back next year for the Patriots. Freshman Garrett Forler lost on a 13-4 decision to Cascade sophomore Logan Bickel in the 113.

Meanwhile, sophomore Brenden Chew competed in his second straight semi-state competition, but ran into Floyd Central freshman Hunter May, who made it all the way to third place on the podium. May came away with a pin to end the match.

Pats coach Adam Zollman believes that May is going to be a state champion someday, while Forler wrestled somebody who is very good on top.

He told the Herald on Saturday that this is a stepping stone, but that Forler and Chew can’t be happy just to make it to this point, since there’s another week after semi-state. Zollman added that they have a lot of things to improve upon.

Still, he sees good things for the both of them in the future, and noted their hard work and determination is a testament to them getting to semi-state.

“They’re a little disappointed obviously right now not being able to wrestle next weekend, but I think the determination — you kind of see it in their eyes, they’re like, ‘Yeah, we belong here,’ and absolutely they do,” Zollman said. “So, it’ll be fun next year.”

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