This past year was filled with a lot of great stories in the sport of wrestling. Here is a recap of the top ten stories from the year in no particular order.
1. Miracle to state
Kayla Miracle became the first female to qualify for state in Indiana. She did so the hard way by finishing 4th at regional then won her first two matches to qualify for state. At state she suffered a 4-0 loss to Hayden Lee of Garrett to end her run.
2. Miracle and Sliga place at Worlds
Mitch Sliga and Kayla Miracle both wrestled in the FILA Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan in August. Both made it to the semi-finals and were guaranteed spots on the awards stand. Sliga dropped his semi-final bout and finished 5th in the world. Miracle made it to the finals and dropped her match to a tough wrestler from Japan.
3. Tsirtsis wins his fourth state title
Jason Tsirtsis of Crown Point became the 8th four-time state champion in Indiana history. He defeated Cathedral’s Vinny Corsaro in the finals to cap his history four year run. On top of that he also duplicated the feat of his older brother Alex in claiming four state titles.
4. Big time coaching changes
This past offseason saw a lot of coaching changes as usual, but this year it involved a lot of big name coaches. Elkhart Memorial’s Brian Seltzer moved south to Indianapolis to take over the head coaching job at Lawrence North. Former Portage coach and CIA founder Ed Pendoski took over the Carmel program. Former four-time state champion Blake Maurer took over the Gibson Southern job after being an assistant at his alma mater Mater Dei. Finally, Bryce Hasseman made his return to Indiana to take over perennial powerhouse Mishawaka.
5. IndianaMat makes it 4 years
IndianaMat celebrated their fourth birthday in 2012. It is astonishing how the website has grown over the years and the following it has throughout the state. With over 9 million page views and 150,000 unique visitors over the past year the site will only continue to grow.
6. IHSWCA Team State
The IHSAA announced an end to the team state competition after the 2012 season. However, the IHSWCA took the reins and created a new IHSWCA Team State Duals with three classes. The event was a hit with Adams Central winning 1A, Yorktown winning 2A and Perry Meridian winning 3A.
7. Olympic Team Trails with Indiana representation
With 2012 being an Olympic year that meant that there would be an Olympic Team Trials. This year with a capacity crowd on hand we saw quite a few Indiana natives in the event. Sarah Hildebrandt wrestled in the women’s division. She went 0-2 but lost two close matches and the experience will lead to her being a contender for the 2016 Olympic team. In men’s freestyle Angel Escobedo, Reece Humphrey, Andrew Howe and Bryce Hassemen all came up short of their goals of making the team. Howe made the finals, but was defeated by the eventual Olympic Champion Jordan Burroughs in the first bout. He ended up being injured in that bout and could not continue. Escobedo and Hasseman both has rough draws and did not make the finals. Finally, due to an injury Reece Humphrey did not actually wrestle-off until June for his spot. He lost to eventual bronze medalist Coleman Scott. The good news is it looks as if all but Hasseman are going to be making the push for the 2016 games.
8. Perry dominates for the second year in a row
After coming up short numerous times Perry Meridian and Coach Jim Tonte captured their second straight state title. This time is was even more dominant than in 2011. To add insult to injury it looks as if Perry Meridian will be running the streak to three in 2013.
9. Tsirtsis and Brooks at Dapper Dan
Jason Tsirtsis and Jarred Brooks became the fourth and fifth Indiana natives to be invited to wrestle in the prestigious Dapper Dan dual meet. Both were ranked #1 at the end of the season in various polls and at the Dapper Dan wrestled two top wrestlers from Pennsylvania. Brooks won 8-5 over Billy Rappo. Tsirtsis won 13-4 over Zach Beitz in his match. Both wins helped propel Team USA to a 34-9 victory over Team Pennsylvania. The two wins also keep Indiana’s record in the Dapper Dan Classic perfect at 5-0.
10. Barroquillo wrestles in the All-Star Classic
Travis Barroquillo of Indiana Tech was invited this fall to participate in the NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington DC. He wrestled Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sam Shames in the event in early November. Barroquillo defeated Shames 8-2. He was the fifth Indiana native to wrestle in the event. Barroquillo joined the likes of Leroy Vega, Will Hill, Reece Humphrey and Alan Grammer as Indiana natives to participate in the event.