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Wrestling Preview: New Pal is the team to beat


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NEW PALESTINE

2011 highlights: Finished fourth at sectional as a team, produced three individual sectional champs, one regional champ and three state finalists. Connor Robinson, a 2012 graduate, finished runner-up at 160 pounds.

2012 lineup (with weight, wrestler, grade):

106 — Chad Red, 9

Currently ranked No. 1 in the state

113 — Rylan McCarty, 10

120 — Tommy Cash, 10

2011: Sectional champ, regional champ, semistate runner-up, fifth at state finals at 106

126 — Taylor Fee, 12

2011: Sectional champ, regional runner-up, fourth at semistate, DNP at state finals at 113

132 — Jared Timberman, 9

138 — Gordon Wagner, 12

145 — Robbie Elsea, 12

152 — Logan Hunt, 11

160 — Ian Pomfret, 11

170 — Zach Alexander, 12

182 — Brian Wagner, 11

195 — Noah Grable, 10

220 — Andrew Yazel, 9/Gabe Estes, 10

HWT — Willie Bryan, 12

Outlook: The Dragons have two Chad Reds in the program, and they’re both invaluable.

   In his first season as head coach, Chad Red already has the respect of his wrestlers, having gained their trust with his demanding yet caring style last year as an assistant. Red, an assistant and head coach at Lawrence Central from 1997-2010, was named New Palestine’s top man following the resignation of longtime coach Steve Harding in March.

   Red brings his son, Chad Red, to the Dragons’ program, and the younger Red (who also goes by CJ) figures to help his squad immensely. A champion on the national club circuit, the freshman is already ranked No. 1 in the state at 106 pounds by IndianaMat.com.

   The Dragons had a phenom 106-pound freshman last season: Tommy Cash claimed a sectional title on the way to a fifth-place finish in the state finals. Cash is moving up to 120 this year.

   “(Chad) and Tommy have very different styles, but they’re equally talented,” coach Red said. “They’ve been wrestling against each other (on the club circuit) since they were 4 years old. They make each other better.

   “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

   Cash is ranked No. 3 to start the season, and the Dragons’ talent doesn’t end with the lightweight duo. Robbie Elsea is ranked No. 11 at 145, and Brian Wagner is slated No. 9 at 182.

   Rylan McCarty (113) is also a returning semistate qualifier, and Gordon Wagner (138) and Willie Bryan (heavyweight) are among a handful of other Dragons capable of making deep postseason runs.

   “We’re a very solid group from 106 to heavyweight,” coach Red said.  “We take it week by week, but the teams has big goals, and the coaching staff has big goals,” coach Red said.   “Our kids want to be state champs. We want to go big. You shoot for the stars. Whether or not you make it, you work your butt off to get there.”

   Early indications: The Dragons opened their season with a 73-3 victory over Pike Tuesday. The Dragons, ranked 14th in the state, won 13 of the 14 weight classes.

   Dragon victories by fall went to Chad Red (106), Rylan McCarty (113), Taylor Fee (126), Jared Timberman (132), Gordon Wagner (138), Ian Pomfret (160), Brian Wagner (182), Noah Grable (195) and Andrew Yazel (220). Robbie Elsea won a 9-1 major decision.

   Red had the fastest fall in 19 seconds.

   The Dragons compete Saturday at the Yorktown Invitational.

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GREENFIELD-CENTRAL

2011 highlights: Won the program’s first Hoosier Heritage Conference team championship since 1998; finished third in sectional (only four points behind champ Warren Central); produced five individual sectional titleists, two regional champions, one semistate winner; qualified four wrestlers for state finals.

2012 lineup (with weight, wrestler, grade):

106 — Logan Lynch, 10

113 — Taylor Wright, 10

120 — Michael Jones, 10

126 — Garrett Mullins, 11

132 — Sam Locke, 11

2011: Sectional champ, regional runner-up, third at semistate, DNP at state finals at 126

138 — Shawn Fogle, 11/Joey Muzik, 11

145 — Travis Gibson, 10/Shawn Fogle, 11

152 — Josh Farrell, 12

2011: Sectional, regional, semistate champ, state runner-up at 138

160 — Joe Hoskins, 12

170 — Austin Rose, 12

182 — Cameron Nuckols, 10

195 — Dakota Bodenreider, 12

220 — Dylan Denny, 10

HWT — Tyler Beeson, 11

   Outlook: Once the upper weight classes rolled around in matches last season, it was lights out for Greenfield-Central’s opponents. That may not be the case this year following the graduation of sectional champs Dezmen McGinley (170), Ian Early (195) and Austin Gearlds (220).

   “Just finding bodies for those weight classes has been a struggle,” G-C coach Josh Holden said. “We’re low in numbers. I’m lucky if I have two kids for any single upper weight class.”

   Of the bodies that Holden does have, several are underclassmen: Six of the Cougars’ 14 weight classes are commanded by sophomores. But, the coach, who has orchestrated a complete rebuild of the program, hasn’t relented on his long-standing goals of winning conference and sectional championships — G-C claimed the former last season and nearly pulled off the latter.

   “I don’t think we’re going to suddenly start saying, ‘Oh, third place is good enough,’” Holden commented. “Kids just have to grow up in a hurry. The new guys we do have … they’re talented. When they start wrestling like juniors and seniors instead of sophomores, I think we’ll win matches.”

   The experienced anchor in the Cougars’ lineup is senior Josh Farrell, who made it to the state finals each of his first three seasons. Last year at 138 pounds, Farrell finished runner-up, his career-high state finish. The well-liked Farrell will look for a championship at 152 pounds this winter.

   “You can say I’m biased, but I think Josh Farrell is the best 152-pounder in the state,” Holden said. “At the same time, nothing is guaranteed. Just because you made state before doesn’t mean they’re reserving a spot for you.

     “Josh knows that he’s only as good as the work he puts into it. He comes to battle (in practice) every day. He’s doing everything he can to end up on the podium.”

   Early indications: Farrell, ranked No. 2 in the state at 152, beat No. 3 John Tatom of Hamilton Southeastern 9-4 in the Cougars’ season-opening tourney at Arsenal Tech Saturday. Farrell won his weight division, as did Sam Locke and Tyler Beeson.

   In a 39-36 win over Pendleton Heights Tuesday, Farrell (fall) and Locke (forfeit) were again winners, as were Cougars Joe Hoskins (decision), Austin Rose (fall), Cameron Nuckols (fall), Logan Lynch (decision) and Taylor Wright (decision).

   The Cougars are back on the mat Thursday when they host Franklin Central. The match will serve as Hall of Fame night for G-C, with 2008 graduate and two-time state finalist Caleb Freeman earning induction.

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MT. VERNON

2012 roster (with weight, wrestler, grade):

106 — Carson Campbell, 9

113 — Colin McAtee, 10/ Tatum Franklin, 9

120 — Austin Brake, 9/Patrick Powell, 9

126 — Kyle Cooper, 10

132 — Dylan Uehlan, 11

138 —  Jansen Nicholson, 11

145 — Bruno Pergentino, 11

152 — Jake Harker, 10/Jagg Nunez, 10

160 — Dustin Tackett, 11

170 — NA

182 — Tony Milesi, 11

195 — NA

220 — Aspen McLanahan, 12

HWT — NA

Outlook: Jason Stewart takes over a program that has been lacking in quantity of wrestlers in recent seasons, and this winter is no different. At last count, and with some kids still making up their minds, the Marauders have only 14 wrestlers.

“It’s probably going to take this year and next to start to building the numbers up,” said Stewart, previously the head coach for 10 years at Manual, where he was Indianapolis Public School Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times while guiding the Redskins to four IPSAC championships.

   Stewart and new middle school coach Andrew Mueller, a 1990 Mt. Vernon graduate, are working to turn things around.

   “We’ve been out in the hallways trying to recruit kids, but it’s going to be a process.”

   The returning letterwinners for the first-year coach include Colin McAtee, Dustin Tackett, Tony Milesi, Kyle Cooper and Tony Milesi. Last season, McAtee produced the best sectional finish of the returnees, finishing fifth at 120 pounds. He’s slated to battle at 113 pounds this season.

“I’m expecting big things out of him,” Stewart said. “He’s definitely one of our leaders, along with Dustin Tackett.”

Early indications: The Marauders will open the season Dec. 1 at Westfield.

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EASTERN HANCOCK

The Royals did not respond to repeated requests for preview information. EH is scheduled to open the season Saturday at Union County.

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