NEW PALESTINE — A two-time undefeated high school state champion, Chad Red added a prestigious national title to his wrestling resume over the weekend.
Red, an incoming New Palestine junior, won the 126-pound freestyle championship at the Cadet Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.
The nationally-ranked grappler beat California’s Jaden Enriquez 4-3 in the title bout of the tourney, which ran from July 20-26. Enriquez was going for a coveted Triple Crown, having already won the Folkstyle and Greco-Roman national championships earlier this summer.
Earlier in the bracket, also by a 4-3 score, Red defeated Utah’s Taylor Lamont, a 2013 national freestyle champ.
Red did not place in the Greco-Roman tourney, a rare setback for a wrestler that will take a 92-0 high school record into his junior campaign.
“These events have helped me, because during the season I don’t get beat and I don’t really get scored on,” Red told USA Wrestling after his title-win on Saturday. “I still work hard. But when I do get beat, that pushes me to beat that next guy and keep winning championships.”
In winning the 120-pound state title last winter, Red pinned his first three State Finals opponents, then won the championship bout by a 6-2 score.
The national tourney in Fargo was the culmination of a busy summer for Red. His dad, high school head coach and namesake, Chad Red, estimated his son had been home for eight days since school let out near the end of May. The rest of the youngsters time was spent in wrestling camps and tourneys.
The hard work paid off this weekend, in more ways than one. Besides the honor of claiming a national title, Red impressed a number of college programs, the senior Red commented.
“It was a huge win,” the coach said. “For him, I’d say he’s pretty much set. We don’t have to go wrestle in another out-of-season, out-of-state tournament, period. He really doesn’t have to. Not that we won’t, because we’re still going to test the waters, keep practicing.”
Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Arizona State coaches were among those on hand in Fargo to take a look at New Palestine’s standout.
“All the really big schools, they were just standing over every match, following every time he wrestled,” Red said. “If his grades are there and his test scores are okay, I think he’ll be able to go to any college he wants.”
The aforementioned schools are among the most reputable college wrestling programs, with Iowa taking fourth in the NCAA Division I Championships last season. Nebraska and Illinois were 11th and 13th, respectively.
Ever since he won a 106-pound state title as a freshman, though, Red has had one school at the top of his list: Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are the defending national champs, and Red has attended several of their camps.
“We have not heard from them,” the elder Red said. “I think they will be in contact with us. I just think, the kid still has two more years, a little more time. I do think they will be in contact, yes.”
The coach added his son will wrestle at 126 this coming high school season. First practice is November 3.
Results of 126-pound ASICS/Vaughan Junior Freestyle Nationals, Fargo, North Dakota, July 20-26.
1st – Chad Red, Indiana
2nd – Jaden Enriquez, Calif.
3rd – Taylor Lamont, Utah
4th – Corey Shie, Ohio
5th – Alex Lloyd, Minnesota
6th – Aj Jaffe, Illinois
7th – Chris Sandoval, Colorado
8th – Zachary Krause, Illinois
FInal Round results
1st – Red (Indiana) won by decision over Enriquez (California) (Dec 4-3)
3rd – Lamont (Utah) won by fall over Shie (Ohio) (5:58)
5th – Lloyd (Minnesota) won by decision over Jaffe (Illinois) (Dec 10-7)
7th – Sandoval (Colorado) won by injury default over Krause (Illinois) (Inj. 0:00)