Wildcats seek more wrestling state finalists

Herald File Photo
Jasper wrestling coach Jace Brescher is hoping for more state finalists this year.


JASPER — Jasper wrestling coach Jace Brescher accomplished a goal of his when he took a wrestler to the state finals last year.

The Wildcats sent the graduated Zachary Flynn to the state finals in the 182-pound class last year, and Brescher is hoping to take more than one wrestler to the state finals this time. Flynn was Jasper’s first state qualifying wrestler since 2013. He may not be back this year, but all four wrestlers who joined him at semistate last year — juniors Jainier Milanes and Will Collon, and sophomores Ian Giesler and Ashton Schuetter — are back.

Jasper also finished second both in the Big Eight Conference and at sectionals last year as a team, and Brescher likes the Wildcats’ chances of taking that next step forward this season.

“We’re excited at the potential we have for a sectional championship as well as a conference championship and a lot of other of other tournaments that we’re in,” Brescher said. “We think we can be competitive.”

There are still some kinks that need to be worked out on the team front. Brescher said Jasper will hold challenge matches to determine tournament teams and the varsity lineup this year. He said wrestlers who don’t make the grade can continue to earn a spot up until the middle of December with challenge matches happening each week.

The coach added that another challenge is trying to get his wrestlers into wrestling shape, but said it won’t be until approximately the end of December that Jasper is in true wrestling shape. Brescher said getting into the wrestling mindset will help with getting into wrestling shape. He said Jasper emphasizes hip strength and core strength when conditioning in practice. Brescher said every year is a challenge and every year is different, even with many returning wrestlers coming back from last year.

“You got to kind of get a feel for your athletes and know what things motivate them,” he said. “Some individuals are motivated by one thing, while some others are motivated by something else.”

Brescher said Wednesday junior Liam Kibby and senior Ayden Wigand were the front runners at the moment to take Flynn’s place in the 182-pound class. He mentioned Wigand getting work last year at the Big Eight Conference tournament, but thinks either one of them would do a great job filling in at that spot this year.

Milanes and Giesler both won regional championships last year in the 106-pound and 132-pound classes, respectively. Milanes and three other Wildcats went down in the opening round at semi-state last year. Giesler won his opening-round match before bowing out in the second round. Brescher is hoping both of his returning regional champions take it to another level this year. He thought Milanes got caught off guard at semi-state, and hopes Milanes steps up to his capabilities this year. Brescher added the same rings true for Giesler.

Schuetter and Collon joined Milanes as wrestlers who bowed out in the first round at semi-state a season ago. Schuetter competed in the 195-pound class, while Collon represented Jasper in the 220-pound class. Brescher said Collon wrestled up at semi-state last year because he weighed around 190-195 pounds. He said his junior wrestler has put on weight this year and hopes Collon will fine tune his technique and conditioning as a junior.

Brescher said he wants Schuetter to improve on his technique with his feet when it comes to takedowns. He hopes his sophomore will be more aggressive and more on the attack this year.

Jasper lists nine freshmen on its roster this year, and there’s one freshman in particular Brescher is high on. He said Jeb Prechtel has wrestled in competitions in different states. Prechtel represented Indiana this past April in Iowa at the Heartland USA Elementary/Middle School National Folkstyle Duals with a 6-2 record, according to Herald staff reports. The coach is hoping a state qualifier, placer and championship are all in Brechtel’s future.

Brescher said his Wildcats know what they are capable of, and added the team knows what the coaches want them to achieve this year. He said Jasper must still build up to full motivation and enthusiasm in its practice room, but is excited for how the turnout will be the first of the year. The Wildcats begin their season Dec. 5 by hosting Floyd Central for a 6 p.m. match.

“We need to fill all the weight classes with quality wrestlers, and I think we’ve got a number of quality wrestlers, but they’re going to have to go out and wrestle a heck of a match, because Floyd Central is not a weak opponent by any means,” Brescher said.

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