INDIANAPOLIS — Vinny Corsaro didn’t know it, but he never stood a chance.
At least that’s the way Josh Farrell felt heading into his wrestling state finals championship match against the Indianapolis Cathedral junior Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Farrell, a Greenfield-Central senior ranked No. 2 in the state at 152 pounds, and No. 3-ranked Corsaro met in the middle of the championship ring as the finalists in each of the 14 weight classes were introduced.
As they shook hands, Farrell met eye-to-eye with Corsaro, then Farrell turned back to G-C head coach Josh Holden with a message.
“We got done with the face-off and I looked at my coaches and I said, ‘I’ve never looked at my opponent and felt more confident in my life,’” Farrell recalled later Saturday evening from the Fieldhouse locker room. “And they were just like, ‘Good, now’s a good match to feel that way.’”
“And it wasn’t even because this is my last match, giving it all as a high schooler. It was just, ‘Let’s go get the job done.’”
Farrell’s premonition proved to be correct. Trailing Corsaro 1-0 at the end of the second period, Farrell tied the match 1-1 to open the third and final period, then scored the most important take down of his career for a 3-1 edge. The Cougars’ all-time and single-season wins leader controlled Corsaro the rest of the way for a 3-2 championship win.
It was Farrell’s third win over Corsaro this season; last week in the New Castle Semistate championship match, Farrell beat the Irish standout 5-4.
Corsaro knew what to expect Saturday, Farrell commented.
“It wasn’t that he wasn’t aggressive, but he went left-leg lead, which him doing that is pretty much saying — the shot I’ve been scoring on is rotation high crotch — that’s them saying, ‘Hey, he’s not scoring rotation high-crotch, let’s go left leg. We’re going to shut him down.’
“It really did kind of shut me down for a while. I couldn’t really do much, then I finally figured out left side double was there. I hit it, scored it, almost scored it again. So, we got the win. That’s all that matters.”
Farrell finished the season 48-0 while wrapping up his first state title. He finished second at 138 pounds a year ago.
Corsaro (46-3, with all three losses to Farrell) also finished runner-up last season, taking second place at 145 pounds.
Saturday in the semifinals, Corsaro knocked off defending 152 state champ and No. 1-ranked Isaiah Bradley of Muncie Central in overtime, 4-3. It was the first loss of the season for Bradley (35-1).
Farrell had no such trouble in his earlier state finals matches. The Purdue-bound grappler opened the first round Friday with a 22-7 technical fall; notched a major decision, 20-7, in the quarterfinals; and pinned his semifinal foe — DeKalb’s Conner Brummett (35-4) — to advance to center ring versus Corsaro.
A year ago, Farrell also made it to the spotlight round, then suffered a lopsided loss to Yorktown’s Devon Jackson. There was a different feeling around Farrell and the G-C program this time around, however.
“There’s pretty much no doubt in my mind that he’s going to accomplish that (state title) tonight,” G-C teammate and Farrell’s best friend, Joe Hoskins said from the locker room, pre-championship, after he helped Farrell tape up Farrell’s favorite, worn-out wrestling shoes.
“Any time he’s ever been defeated, he just wants to get better, be able to beat that person. He got beat by Devon Jackson last year; it kills him to get beat and that’s why he works so hard. He’s never been truly defeated in a wrestling type situation, I feel like. He just uses it to get better.”
Although this was Farrell’s fourth trip to the state finals, and he’s proven to be one of the best wrestlers Hancock County has ever produced, the championship at Bankers Life wasn’t as easy as Farrell made it look.
In a Fieldhouse suite following Farrell’s title win, his mom, Karen Farrell, and other family members recalled weekend after weekend, when Josh cut get-togethers short so that he could go train.
“He worked very hard for it,” Karen Farrell said. “There were many family pool parties and cookouts on Sunday afternoons that he missed.
“He sacrificed a lot. He’s got a good heart, he’s a good kid. He’s got a great work ethic. It definitely wasn’t handed to him; he worked for it.”
Many of those Sundays were spent at Central Indiana Academy of Wrestling, or CIA for short, where Farrell trains when not at G-C.
Farrell thanked his CIA instructors — Brady Eppert and Wade McClurg — his G-C coaches, including Holden and assistant Ed Hamant, as well as his Cougars teammates, family and friends Saturday.
“I couldn’t have done it without everyone else,” he said, and his mom agreed.
“It’s truly been a community team since the day he walked into Greenfield-Central,” Karen Farrell said. “They’re great kids, great coaches, great friends. It’s just been a great four years. He couldn’t have asked for better teammates or better coaches.”
Saturday night, the sacrifices ended. The four years of training finally over, Farrell reflected.
“Now, all the times I missed out to train … like my cousin would be like, ‘Awe, man, just play basketball with us,’” Farrell said. “And, don’t get me wrong, there are times I would stay, just taking breaks. But for the most part, I left and went to try to get better.
“But, the looks on my mom’s and my family’s and coach Holden’s faces, and the tears rolling down their faces tonight, that was all worth it at the end. It’s just so special to me. I guess I did do it for them more than myself, but it still feels good for me, too.”