GREENFIELD — Carter Noehre’s first-round exit at the New Castle Semistate last February doesn’t exactly keep the wrestler up at night, but it sure didn’t settle right with him.
After winning 33 matches in his first varsity season — 24 by pin — the then-sophomore wasn’t ready to stop.
He never is, according to Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Associatoin hall of famer Ed Hamant, who mentored Noehre as Greenfield-Central’s interim head coach this past winter.
“He went from JV as a freshman to leading the varsity in wins,” Hamant said. “He has an incredible work ethic. I’ll say it every single day: he’s the hardest working kid in the room. He’s 100 percent all the time.”
Halted momentarily by fall against Franklin County’s Johnny Loos at the New Castle Chysler Fieldhouse, Noehre picked himself up fast and hasn’t quit since.
In four offseason events, including the Center Grove Folkstyle Open conducted one a week after the IHSAA state finals, the incoming junior has placed first in his weight class.
This past May, he captured top honors at 126 pounds in the Indiana State Wrestling Association’s Greco-Roman State Finals and was third in freestyle.
His placements qualified him for wrestling’s most prestigious summer stage, the seven-day Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, beginning on July 16.
“I feel like I could have done better than I did at semistate. It was disappointing,” Noehre said. “I’d like to make it to state. I’d like to beat my record (33-12) from last year.
“I feel like the more matches you wrestle the better it will prepare you. More mat time helps get you ready for what could happen.”
At Fargo, Noehre will get the opportunity to do both while competing in the Junior division at 126 pounds.
“I’m really happy to go. Just going there and seeing the competition will show me that next level,” said Noehre, who will wrestle his first match on Sunday. “It will let me know where I should be.”
It’s no mystery where he’s been this summer. Working on his technique with Brady Eppert at the Central Indiana Academy of Wrestling in Indianapolis, Noehre is making up for lost time.
The 16-year-old didn’t latch onto the sport until eighth grade despite his father, Sheldon, repeatedly suggesting the switch from cross country and basketball.
“My friends were wrestling, so I decided to give it a try,” Noehre recalled. “Once I did, I really liked the competition. You just go at it.
“In wrestling, you get what you put in.”
His offseason efforts have netted him six top-three finishes so far.
Third overall at 120 pounds during the Perry Meridian Thornton Strong Folkstyle Tournament on Feb. 28, Noehre was first at 132 in the Warren Central Greco Open on April 15.
He took first place at 132 in the Franklin Grizzly Ironman Greco Tournament on April 30 before winning the ISWA state title on May 8, marking the second Greco champion in program history.
More impressive than his success is his raw potential, said Hamant, who will serve as an assistant coach at Greenfield-Central for Josh Holden in 2016-17.
Noehre started wrestling Greco only a few months ago, and he’s just discovering his vast ceiling of his capabilities.
“It’s huge for him to go to Fargo, especially as a sophomore. It’s a national tournament, and there are college coaches there,” Hamant said. “It’s the biggest offseason tournament a kid can wrestle in.”
And it’s a big step toward what the wrestlers and coaches believe could be a special 2016-17 for the Cougars.
“I think we have the potential of maybe have six or seven kids make it to state this year,” said Hamant, who guided the program to a 15-12 record last season. “Having said that, we have the toughest sectional, regional and semistate, so that will have something to say about it. But we have a realistic shot at it.”
Greenfield-Central returns all five of its semistate qualifiers (junior Brad Lowe and seniors Lee Dullaghan and Cameron Wetli), including 106-pound state finalist Gavin Rose (20-10), an incoming sophomore, from their 2015-16 sectional runner-up roster.
Plus, they will have two Noehre’s in the wrestling room with Cooper joining the team as a freshman this season. The younger Noehre placed fourth in Greco at the ISWA state tournament and was seventh in freestyle.
“We went to camp at Wabash about a month ago, and his brother (Cooper) was 10-1 in dual meets,” Hamant said. “He’s pretty good, too.”
Carter wants to be his best.
“I’ve haven’t been wrestling too long, but I’d like to keep going with it. I’d like to go to college,” Noehre said. “I’m going to go out there do the best I can and work.”