INDIANAPOLIS — He’d been beaten by Connersville’s Tom Gettinger two times before, but this time, at the state wrestling finals, Ben Harvey of New Palestine wasn’t going to let it happen again.
In the fourth tie-breaker period of the 126 pound division, Harvey, a sophomore at Cathedral High School, beat Gettinger to earn a third place finish this past weekend at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“After losing to Gettinger twice, I just didn’t want to fall behind,” Harvey said.
“I kept telling myself ‘keep it close, keep it close’ and then before I knew it we were in overtime and I beat him.”
Harvey helped his team finish in fourth place at state, three spots ahead of New Palestine High School’s seventh place team finish.
Harvey and his older brother Brian Harvey, a high school state wresting champion last year, both left the Southern Hancock School District after eighth grade at Doe Creek Middle School to enroll at Cathedral. Still, Ben Harvey had plenty of support from New Palestine fans this past weekend.
“After the 3rd place match, I saw an entire section of red shirts from New Palestine cheering for me,” Ben Harvey said. “It was pretty cool to think I still have friends there and they aren’t mad at me because I left.”
Knowing he’d be leaving behind a bunch of his best friends when he enrolled at Cathedral, the younger Harvey admits it was a tough decision but, he wanted to follow his older brother, who is now a freshman at West Point.
The two have been joined at the hip since youth.
“My little brother and I got involved in wrestling when our youth minister saw that my brother and I constantly fought during church,” Brian Harvey said.
“We both loved it and have been wrestling ever since.”
Brian was 6-years-old and Ben just 4-years-old when their mom Nancy Harvey signed them up for a Dragon youth wrestling program. It’s a decision she’s glad to have made.
“Wrestling has helped them mature into young men who understand that hard work and a positive mental attitude can bring desired results,” she said.
She credited New Palestine’s Jamie Wingler and current New Palestine head coach Chad Red, who 10 years ago ran a program called, “Friday Night Live” where young boys could come and practice wrestling.
“I remember the first night they came home from a Dragon Wrestling Club practice, and had been issued their first wrestling singlets, and were so excited and proud,” Nancy Harvey said. “I had the feeling that wrestling was going to be a keeper.”
Last year as a freshman at Cathedral, Ben finished seventh at state while Brian won the state championship in the 160 pound division.
Now that Ben has earned a third place finish, the goal next year is to win it all, just like his big brother.
“Brian is just an extremely hard worker,” Ben Harvey said.
“Growing up behind him he has played a huge role in my life.”
That included Saturday at the state finals when Ben was going for the title and Brian was at West Point. Brian stayed in contact via cell phone with the family in Indiana.
“I didn’t give my brother too much advice,” Brian Harvey said.
“I remembered how the week before state is always a stressful time. I just asked him how he was doing and wished him good luck.”
The communication was a little more meaningful from Ben’s view he said.
“Brian gave me a couple of phone calls and said, ‘just get truckin,’ and I thought that was pretty funny,” Ben Harvey said.
“He texted me a couple of times throughout the day to motivate me Saturday and it helped.”
Just like his older brother, who is wrestling at West Point, Ben is considering the same path in two years. But for now, Brian wants his little brother to focus on his remaining two years of high school and to win it all.
“It would mean a lot for me to see him win a state title, and it is reasonable for him to win two,” Brian Harvey said.
“I know the work ethic and drive he has to always improve, so I expect big things from him.”
Like a true big brother, the elder Harvey said he wants his little brother to experience what he did, to finish his high school career a state champion.
“Winning state meant a lot for me,” Brian Harvey said.
“It was my goal since I was a little kid and to have worked for something and given up so much, it was nice to see a physical accomplishment of my hard work.”