Cougars’ Holden earns Daily Reporter Wrestling Coach of the Year honors


Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden yells out instructions during the 2021-22 Hoosier Heritage Conference Championships at Yorktown High School on Friday Jan. 15, 2022.

GREENFIELD — So much was different. Yet, the results remained the same for the Greenfield-Central wrestling program in 2021-22.

Last season, the Greenfield-Central Cougars captured their first Hoosier Heritage Conference championship since 2012. For an encore, the Cougars made history again this past winter by becoming the first G-C wrestling team to repeat the feat since going back-to-back in 1998-99.

However, their recent HHC title run came with a heavy heart, and for good reason.

Wearing t-shirts with the words, “For Ed,” on the front during the tournament and a majority of the season, the Cougars didn’t just compete for themselves.

They were wrestling for former assistant coach, Ed Hamant, 75, a 40-year mainstay with the program, who passed away in February 2021.

“So many things made this season different. Our number of wrestlers doubled. We had six female wrestlers, most ever. We had three exchange student wrestlers, most ever. We won our second conference title in a row and had seven semistate qualifiers,” Greenfield-Central head coach Josh Holden said. “And, for the first time in 40 years, we didn’t have coach Ed Hamant with us. I can’t tell you how hard that was.”

The Cougars banded together this season led by Holden, the 2021-22 Daily Reporter Wrestling Coach of the Year, and they won 19 duals with depth and emotion.

Their HHC crown in 2021-22 marked the team’s seventh overall and earned Holden conference coach of the year honors for a second straight year.

Along the way, Holden admitted, Hamant was there, his “right-hand man,” who was a fixture in the corner of the mat during matches, always in the chair to his right.

Holden’s Cougars made substantial waves in their first season without Hamant and after losing their postseason in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 protocols.

Making up for their lost opportunity, the Cougars finished second at the Shelbyville Sectional behind champion Warren Central.

They wrapped up three sectional titles behind Lincoln Parsons at 113 pounds, Isaiah Holden at 145 and Clay Guenin at 160.

At the HHC championships, Greenfield-Central tallied 207 points to fend off Mt. Vernon at 193 and captured individual titles from Guenin and Gardner.

“The year was also different in that I felt like we had a little bit of a target on our back. We were defending HHC champs, and I think people prepared to beat us specifically,” Holden said. “It showed a lot of character for our wrestlers to go out and win conference again, especially in the HHC. Then, you throw in Eastern Hancock at the sectional, man, that’s a lot of people trying to kick your tail.”

The Cougars stood their ground with a pair of runner-ups at the Perry Meridian Regional in Gardner and Parsons.

The run ended at semistate for the team, but all signs continue to point toward larger success ahead.

Greenfield-Central improved its season record by two wins, despite loading up its regular-season schedule, and as the team showed at the HHC meet, they can pile on the points.

The Cougars had 13 wrestlers place sixth or better at conference, including five runner-ups.

“Next year is gonna be even tougher. Hancock County and the HHC are very, very underrated when it comes to wrestling,” Holden said. “High character people who compete for the right reasons in the right way. I’m blessed to have been able to be part of it for almost 20 years now. God is good.”