GREENFIELD — Brad Lowe wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He just knew he had to do something.
Unexpectedly sidelined the summer of his eighth-grade year with a broken collarbone, Lowe found himself at a crossroads four years ago and in need of an outlet.
Fortunately, Lowe said, everything happens for a reason.
“I was really into football back then, but I didn’t get to play, so I was kind of looking for a sport,” the Greenfield-Central junior recalled. “One of our football coaches was a wrestling coach, and he told me, ‘you’ll be ready for wrestling season.’ I never wrestled before, so I thought about it and tried it.”
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Looking back, he said it was the best decision he’s ever made.
The former jack-of-all-trades as a football player “fell in love” with wrestling in his first season. So much so that he traded in his helmet for headgear full-time.
As a wrestler, Lowe knew where he stood unlike on the gridiron. He just had to embrace what Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden calls, “the journey” to succeed, and so far his commitment is paying off.
“A lot of times kids get frustrated with the process. They want to be good right away and come in and wrestle a state qualifier and be able to compete with him right away. That’s not how it happens,” Holden explained. “It’s the journey that makes this all special, the work. Once kids want to be part of the journey, then the pressure is off.
“Once that happens, it’s about the opportunity, and that’s when wrestling gets fun.”
This postseason Lowe has had the time of his life despite picking up the sport later than most.
At Warren Central two weeks ago he won his first-career sectional title, and this past Saturday at Perry Meridian, the unranked 170-pounder continued to make a name for himself as he secured his first-ever regional championship.
Through seven matches in the state tournament he is unbeaten with three pins — his fastest in 53 seconds — two decisions and an injury default victory. Lowe has racked up 36 wins compared to five losses this season with 21 falls and two major decisions.
More importantly than the state rankings, Lowe is winning, a trend he looks to carry into his second consecutive semistate appearance at New Castle this Saturday.
“I’m sure it would be cool to see my name up there (in the rankings), but it’s not necessarily something I’m striving for,” Lowe said. “I don’t like losing. I didn’t like that too much last year. I was ready to change that.”
Lowe has done nothing less, improving from a sectional runner-up and a third-place finisher at regional as a sophomore. At semistate last year, he lost in the first round by major decision 11-3 to Hamilton Southeastern’s Joe Mazero to finish 32-9.
On Saturday, the 6-foot-4 Lowe is shooting to become the Cougars’ 48th state qualifier since 1970, and he’s earned a favorable draw to achieve his goal.
With four of the state’s top-nine wrestlers scattered in opposite brackets, he wouldn’t see North Montgomery’s second-ranked Tanner Webster (42-1), a Purdue recruit, until the semistate finals. The same goes for fourth-ranked Silas Alfred (40-0) of Shenandoah, who could potentially run into Webster in the semifinals.
Zionsville’s Thomas Penola (36-1), who is ranked third in the state by IndianaMat, and Lawrenceberg’s ninth-ranked Jake Ruberg (37-3), a University of Indianapolis recruit, are projected to feed into Lowe’s semifinal.
Yet, before Lowe can focus on what could be, he has to win two matches to punch his ticket to state, beginning with Carmel’s Logan Hart (16-11) in the first round. A possible quarterfinal meeting with either Franklin County’s Jake Orschell (21-8) or Logan Miller (28-8) of Frankton awaits if Lowe advances.
“It’s nice to see a kid like that get the reward because a lot of kids that are like that don’t get the reward, and that’s bad for our sport,” Holden said. “But we have to take care of business. We have to be ready to go. We have to beat two tough kids to get out, and then you worry about placing high, so that you set up your draw for state.”
Lowe won’t be alone in his quest. One of six semistate qualifiers for the Cougars, he will trek to Henry County along with 120-pound junior Carter Noehre (39-2), the program’s only other sectional and regional champ.
Ranked 15th in the state, Noehre holds the top seed in his weight class with his two losses coming against No. 14 Josh Stephenson of Yorktown and Columbus East’s third-ranked Cayden Rooks, who are both at different semistate sites.
Noehre opens against South Dearborn’s Austin Boggs (35-7).
“My main goal is placing or winning (at state). I don’t want to just make it,” Noehre said.
The same goes for sophomore Gavin Rose, who is ranked seventh at 113. He qualified for state at 106 last year, placing fourth at semistate.
A sectional runner-up to Roncalli freshman Alec Viduya (39-2), who went on to win regional at Perry Meridian, Rose might meet the Rebel for a fourth time this season, if both move onto the semifinal round.
Rose has lost to Viduya by decision 4-0, 2-0 and 6-4 at sectional. He will wrestle Carmel’s Kyle Holman (22-8) in the first round with either Rushville’s Lowell Joya (33-8) or Caleb Oliver (18-16) of Cathedral in the ticket round.
Warren Central’s third-ranked Skylour Turner (27-4), who beat Rose in the regional’s third-place consolation match 4-3, and Perry Meridian’s fifth-ranked Sunny Fair (33-6) are favored to push through into the other semifinal. Fair won by fall in 5:32 against Rose in the regional semifinals last weekend.
“It’s hard to beat a good guy over and over again,” Holden said. “It didn’t go our way at regional, but I still feel they are the four best kids in the semistate. You have to prove it, though, and we might be wrestling one or more of them again here shortly.”
Cougars’ Semistate Six
The Greenfield-Central Cougars are sending six wrestlers to the New Castle Semistate on Saturday. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. Admission is $8 for the final session and $10 for all day.
Weight, Name, (Year);Record
113: Gavin Rose (10);33-7
• 2nd at sectional, 4th at regional, 20 falls in 40 matches, ranked 7th in state.
120: Carter Noehre (11);39-2
• 1st at sectional, 1st at regional, 26 falls in 41 matches, ranked 15th in state.
126: Larry Evans (11);29-14
• 3rd at sectional, 4th at regional, 17 falls in 43 matches.
138: Cooper Noehre (9);29-12
• 2nd at sectional, 3rd at regional, 12 falls and four major decisions in 41 matches.
145: Riley Fletcher (12);29-15
• 3rd at sectional, 3rd at regional, 12 falls and two major decisions in 44 matches.
170: Brad Lowe (11);36-5
• 1st at sectional, 1st at regional; 21 falls, two major decisions and a tech fall in 41 matches.