PUSHING THROUGH: Cougars wrestler ranked No. 2 in state

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GREENFIELD — The heat in the wrestling room was cranked up. The air was filled with the smell of sweat mixed with the sounds of shouts and whistle tweets. And Cooper Noehre was, without a doubt, in the midst of the most difficult practice of his life.

The 152-pound Greenfield-Central junior was taking turns wrestling members of his team’s coaching staff, among them former state qualifier Sam Locke and former state champion Josh Farrell.

He was getting his butt kicked.

His opponents tired him out, countering everything they threw at him, Noehre said. But the clock kept running, and his coaches made him get back up again and again. So he kept coming after them.

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Despite the pain, he remembers that day fondly; it reminds him of the hardest lesson a person can learn in wrestling, and that’s how to keep pushing through no matter what gets thrown at you.

And that lesson made all the difference, he said.

With a season record of 25-2, Noehre has long since proved himself as one of the program’s hardest working wrestlers, said head coach Joshua Holden. Noehre isn’t a senior yet, but he’s already got the work ethic and leadership potential of a coach, Holden added.

Like many a wrestler before him, Noehre came to the conclusion that sweating during practice pays off during meets. He takes to heart the words of his coaches: Facing the grind at practice is the price for succeeding when it comes time to compete.

“It made me change a lot,” he said. “Everything got easier after that.”

The lesson clearly had an impact on his performance in dual meets and tournaments: he’s had a successful high school wrestling career so far, and he’s currently ranked No. 2 in the state, according to Indiana Mat.

Noehre logs countless off-season tournaments throughout the year to get as much experience as he possibly can, Holden said. He’s a student of the sport of wrestling, making sure he works hard, does what he’s coached and puts himself in great positions to win.

“He’s wrestling with coaches, going up against Josh Farrell and Brad Lowe every day,” Holden said. “He wrestles year-round, and he never misses. He takes zero time off.”

“I’ll tell him, ‘Hey, we’re going to take a week off,’ and he’ll get mad at me and go wrestle at CIA,” Holden laughed, referencing the Central Indiana Academy of wrestling.

The Greenfield-Central Cougars still have a lot of freshmen on the roster, and Noehre knows all their names, Holden said. Their team is in need of leadership, and he fully expects Noehre to take ownership and help guide the way, he said.

“He just believes,” Holden said. “That’s a big thing too we have to teach among our kids, is believing you can win.”

Noehre said he intends to wrestle at the collegiate level, but as a junior he’s undecided on where he’ll attend. Universities around the state have been in contact with him, and he’s planning to schedule a few campus visits soon, he said.

Right now, he wants to focus on helping his teammates learn to work harder than anyone else in the state, making the Cougars be the best team they can possibly be.

“We really need to step up as a team, and I want to do what I can to be a part of that,” Noehre said. “I hope I can show them that the harder you work, the easier stuff gets.”

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New Palestine, Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon will join the rest of the Hoosier Heritage Conference in Saturday’s championship, where they will all try to unseat the reigning HHC champion, Yorktown.

What: HHC wrestling meet

Where: Pendleton Heights High School

When: Saturday, 8:30 a.m.

A complete story with results and photos will be in Tuesday’s Daily Reporter.

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