Schuetter reinvented self en route to titles

Photo by Kayla Renie/The Herald
Jasper's Ashton Schuetter wrestles Heritage Hills' Phoenix Rodgers in the 195-pound weight class during the Jan. 16 dual in Jasper. A rematch is possible in the second round of the semistate Saturday at the Ford Center in Evansville.


JASPER — Ashton Schuetter is headed back to semistate for the second year in a row, but the Jasper sophomore wrestler is a lot different than he was from earlier in the season, let alone last year as a freshman.

“Last year, I got fourth going into semistate and my confidence just kept going down as I was making it to semistate, but this year, my confidence has just been going up,” Schuetter said.

That’s because he’s had a lot to be confident about given the success he has enjoyed these last two weeks. Schuetter (29-6) stood atop the podium Feb. 1 at the Huntingburg Memorial Gym upon winning the sectional championship in the 195-pound class and had his hand raised Feb. 8 after the championship match of the Bloomington South regional. The regional championship match has been Schuetter’s most rewarding win to date, but it didn’t come without the work he’s put in during the course of the season.

It all started for Schuetter around the Spartan Classic Dec. 27-28 at Connersville. The Wildcats won the 2A division and finished in fourth place of 32 teams, but their success came in spite of Schuetter, not because of him. He went 2-2 and did not place.

That’s when he knew he had to improve.

“I didn’t do too good,” he said. “It kind of made me just really want to start working harder.”

Schuetter took it upon himself to condition more. He began running up the stairs after practice ended and stayed to work with assistant coach and 1988 state champion Greg Matheis to work on more live technique. Schuetter has reaped the benefits as he’s noticed he’s been shooting more, getting tougher on top and turning more of his opponents. He talked about the success he enjoyed Jan. 11 at the Brown County Invite, receiving a win in all five matches and getting a pin in three of them, but he feels he especially broke out at sectionals, believing that to be the best he’s wrestled all year.

“At the beginning of the year, I was wrestling really bad,” Schuetter said. “(I) wasn’t wrestling good and I just wasn’t myself at the start of the year.”

“He was a little more defensive, I think,” Jasper coach Jace Brescher added. “At the start of the year, he had a little less confidence in his abilities to take guys down and then not taking advantage of reattacks whenever he would defend against a shot instead of jumping on a reattack. He would kind of be a little bit more passive there, and especially after Connersville, when other guys would shoot first on him, and he saw how much it was hurting his performance by that other guy getting the takedown. He knew he needed to step it up. He needed to attack a little bit more to open his opponent up. He also knew that whenever he does defend against a shot, he needs to be looking for that reshot or reattack to capitalize on their error.”

Schuetter technically did go to state last year. Zachary Flynn became Jasper’s state qualifier since 2013 when he made it to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the 182-pound class, and Schuetter was his warmup partner, practicing with him on the mat. He got to see how the other wrestlers trained, taking in how focused the competitors were before their matches. Schuetter knew he needed to improve on his technique in addition to his conditioning. He noted a lot of wrestlers weren’t tired after their matches. Schuetter still gets tired, but that’s a work in progress for him.

Photo by Kayla Renie/The Herald
Jasper's Ashton Schuetter wrestles North Kent's Beau Noland in the 195-pound weight class during Saturday's boys wrestling sectional meet in Huntingburg.

“After my finals match last week, I really wasn’t as tired I would’ve been last year after one of my matches,” he said.

Schuetter bowed out in the opening round last year at semistate. He remembers coming up flat and getting pinned in the second period. Schuetter recalled going up against tough seniors who were controlling him in the match his freshman year, but now he’s beating more people than he would have last year.

“When you finish fourth, you know you’re going up against a number one from another regional,” Brescher said. “Yes, you qualify for semistate, but as you see that competition level rise at the semistate, you know that going against a number one from a regional is a lot more challenging than getting fourth at sectional and going against a number one from another sectional. Most of the time, a regional champ’s going to have a little more ability and skill than a sectional champ.”

Brescher said everybody is good and everybody has the potential to win a match when a wrestler makes it to semistate.

Saturday’s semistate at the Ford Center in Evansville could see two local wrestlers going up against each other in the 195. Both Schuetter and Heritage Hills senior Phoenix Rodgers (40-2) would have to win their opening matches, though. Schuetter is wrestling Brady McLain from Southwestern (Hanover), while Rodgers is meeting Plainfield’s Jacob Platt in the first round. Rodgers pinned Schuetter in a dual on Jan. 16.

Brescher recalled when Rodgers bested Flynn in a dual last year, and sometimes it’s the losses that can motivate someone. He said Schuetter went toe-to-toe with Rodgers and that could have been a mindset booster. Brescher also hypothesized Saturday’s potential rematch.

“At the time, before he was flipped over, I want to say it was a two-point match,” he said. “If we can get one turn on him for five seconds, we win that match, or if we can get our takedown to work in our favor or reattack, it really leaves it wide open. Is it going to be a tough match? Will it be close? Absolutely, and it’s going to be the guy that makes the least amount of mistakes.”

Schuetter thinks he needs to improve working in neutral and also his takedowns. He thinks he’s getting closer, but needs to keep working on those things. Getting to state is a goal of his, and Schuetter said stopping other people’s shots, pushing himself the entire match and pushing the pace would get him on the podium for top four as one of the state qualifiers.

Herald File Photo
Jasper's Ashton Schuetter wrestles Floyd Central's Jackson Early in the 195-pound weight class during the Dec. 5 dual Jasper.

He’s one of five Wildcats who will be competing Saturday in Evansville. Junior Jainier Milanes is back at semistate in the 106-pound class, as is sophomore Ian Giesler in the 145-pound class. Jasper has a couple others going this year in freshman Jeb Prechtel in the 126-pound class and senior Sam Bies in the 152-pound class.

“We’re excited,” Brescher said. “I think Jainier’s got a shot. I think Ian’s got a shot. It’s going to be tough for Bies with that (Logan) Boe from Danville. We know he’s a stud, but we also know that Bies has the potential to go out and wrestle like a true champion and leave it out on the mat, and same with Jeb. Jeb’s one of those wrestlers that he’s dangerous against anybody. He’s got kind of a different style of wrestling, and that style can be fearful for his opponents.”

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