Category Archives: Wrestling

My take on sports over Christmas break

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

Christmas break has the best sports action of any break, from high school all the way up to the pros. I was also able to get to a wrestling meet, a swim meet, two boys’ basketball games, and two girls’ basketball games. So I’ll give my take from each sport as well as some college and pro sports. 

Swim– Our boys’ and girls swim teams are the best in our area, no question. But things

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Senior Gabe Anderson takes a breath while swimming freestyle against Jeff on Dec. 19. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

get much tougher as we get into the Indianapolis area. Both teams dominated Jeff, the second best team in the area the Thursday before break. Then, two days later, we
performed pretty well again but not better than Brownsburg, an Indianapolis school. However, we should dominate sectionals again before scoring a few points and hopefully getting a couple of athletes on the all-state wall. 

Wrestling-I am going to start this off by saying I do not know much about wrestling.

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Senior Jonathan Kervin prepares to start the next period against Bloomington South on Dec. 17. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

However, I went to the New Albany meet because it was Senior Night and to support my football teammate senior Sean Burk. We were much better than New Albany. They did not even have a wrestler for several weight classes, one of which was Burk’s. I could tell that we had some extremely talented wrestlers in senior Jonathan Kervin, junior Gavinn Alstott, and sophomore J Conway. They all three have a chance to win state and should definitely be all-state; that will be back-to-back all-state seasons for Alstott and Kervin. It is also worth noting that Alstott’s win against New Albany was his 100th as a Highlander. 

Boys’ basketball– The boys’ are better than people were expecting. In fact, they have

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Senior Ben Purvis shoots a three over New Albany on Dec. 13. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

been one of the most underrated teams in the state. They are not as good as Silver Creek, and have a tough matchup against the Dragons in February, but they proved in the game against Bloomington South on Dec. 21 that they can play with some of the best teams in the state. Most people were expecting a 20-point victory for Bloomington South, but after four quarters, the score was tied. Bloomington South eventually won on a buzzer beater. The officials cannot be blamed for the outcome of a game but I really think it is worth mentioning that the officiating was terrible. That game proved that we can play with the best teams. If junior Jake Heidbreder gets rolling, the seniors lead the team through four quarters, and the underclassmen can step-up, we are very dangerous. 

Girls’ basketball– I have a very unusual view on the girls’ basketball team because I

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Sophomore Keegan Kaiser communicates with her teammates against Austin on Jan. 4. Photo by Brock Kennedy.


practice with them several times a week. They are very young and expectations were not very high for them. But, throughout break, they have improved greatly. They have played pretty well at times. But their main problem is that they do not hit shots for about five minutes and dig themselves a hole. If they could be a little more consistent, they could very easily be .500 on the year. The next three years should be good, though, behind junior Grace Suer, who is injured this season and a major loss, sophomore Keegan Kaiser and freshman Mandy Hess. 

 

Now to pro and college sports. I said the Titans would win in the week leading up to the Patriots Titans game. Then it happened. I think it ended the Patriots dynasty because for the first time in 10 years they will not be in the AFC Championship game, and, unless the Patriots get Rob Gronkowski to unretire or add some significant talent, they will not be back next year. They might not even win their division because the Bills look like a very talented and young team. On another note, the Titans will beat the Ravens this week. 

I also decided over Break that Bowl season in the best season. On New Year’s Day, I watched close football games for almost 12 straight hours. If that is not the best day possible, I do not know what is. Anyway, LSU is ridiculous. They thumped Oklahoma in the playoff which I expected. Their QB, Joe Burrow, went off, setting several College Football Playoff records. The second game was closer. Clemson won on a TD late in the fourth quarter and then a pick to seal it with under a minute left in Ohio State’s endzone. The championship is Monday and even though I am rooting for Clemson, I am taking LSU in a closed game. 

My other take from college football is that the SEC is the best conference. The SEC was 7-2 in bowl games and 7 SEC teams on LSU’s schedule played LSU closer than the best team in the Big 12, Oklahoma. It would not be a tough to argue looking back that Florida, Georgia, and maybe even Alabama should have been in over Oklahoma. I would go as far to say that a two loss SEC team should be in over a 1 loss team from any of the other Power 5 conferences. 

My biggest take from break is that officiating is becoming a huge issue. Several of the meaningful close games over break had a significant seemingly bad call as a talking point following it. Again, the Saints got the short end of the stick with playoff officiating, which should be talked for a while this off season. The biggest game that officiating was talked about was the Ohio State-Clemson game. I believe both questionable calls were correct, but in a game that close any calls that could be debated will be viewed as wrong by the losing team’s fans. I also say that you cannot blame a loss on the officials, which is true for the Ohio State game as well. 

My final take is on the NFL overtime rule. It is ridiculous. No other sport do you see a team score and their opponent not get a chance to match, except for some reason, the NFL. Both teams should get the ball at least once. The Saints lost in overtime because the Vikings won the coin toss and scored to start the extra period. I do not get why the NFL would want it’s most popular and best players to never see the field and lose. I have been saying this since Super Bowl LI in 2017, where the Patriots Tom Brady scored to start overtime without the Falcons Matt Ryan ever seeing the field in overtime.

 

FC wraps up successful sports year

By J.D. McKay

It is my last column of this school year, so it is time for an end of the year wrap up. All in all, we have had a great year. Unfortunately, we have come up short in a few sectionals, but we have also had success against New Albany.

Girls’ cross country was very good. They won their regional and got second at semi-state by two points. Junior Sydney Liddle followed in her dad’s footsteps and became FC’s first second generation all-state athlete. Next year, the girls have a very real chance of winning team state and Liddle could win individual state. The boys’ cross country also won regionals. They were led by junior Luke Heinemann, who finished sixth there and could win regionals next year if he stays healthy. They only graduated two guys, so they could win semi-state next year.

Football had a pretty good year, too. They beat New Albany, Jeff, and Providence. It was their first year with new head coach James Bragg. The conference was very tough this year and their 5-5 record was pretty good for the level of competition. Next year, the sectional is winnable for all the teams in it, the first time FC has been in a winnable sectional in three years.

Girls’ volleyball had a good year. They beat New Albany and Jeff. They have a tough sectional and came up short against Providence in the sectional championship. The boys’ had a terrific fifth season. They were ranked in the top four for most of the season. They also beat Trinity. They lost in the state semifinals to eventual champion Roncalli.

Girls’ soccer had another good season. They won sectionals against Seymour 2-1. Junior Katie Yankey was all-state. They could be very good next year. They lost a few seniors, but they have a lot of talented returning juniors. Boys’ soccer also won sectionals 1-0 over Jeff. They had a big senior class, so they might have a tough year next year. However, junior Xander Ochsner is very good and could lead them to a successful year and sectional championship.

If you asked one of the players on our boys’ basketball team, they would probably call the season a disappointment. However, they had a very good year. They beat New Albany in the regular season and tied Jeff for first in the conference. Unfortunately, they lost to New Albany, who overcame some adversity and injuries to play a great game. Their head coach, Jim Shannon, also ran a tough triangle and two defense that made senior Cobie Barnes and sophomore Jake Heidbreder less of a threat. Barnes was all-state.

The girls’ season was pretty good. They went in with mixed expectations. They were hit with the injury bug again but still managed to beat New Albany and Providence. They have a lot of underclassmen so if they stay healthy they could be good next year.

Boys’ and girls’ swimming both had a pretty typical year by their standards. Both went undefeated during the regular season. Both won conference and sectionals. Both teams have pretty good senior classes, but they also have lots of underclassmen talent, so they should continue their success.

Wrestling had a decent season. They beat New Albany in sectionals. Unfortunately, they did not win sectionals. However, they had two all-state wrestlers, junior Jonathan Kervin and sophomore Gavinn Alstott. Freshman J Conway also went to state. Those three alone make the future of FC wrestling bright.

Boys’ golf dominated like it always does. They will easily win sectionals next week. They may even have two finishers in the top three. The girls’ also dominated like they usually do. Freshman Sophie Cook won, sophomore Zoe Hoehn got second, and junior Francesca Hartlage got third.

Baseball had a better year than many were expecting. They beat New Albany as well as Castle who was ranked very highly at the time. Ultimately, they lost in their sectional which is very tough, boasting New Albany and Jeff.

Softball had kind of a weird season. They started the year playing below their talent level. But as the season progressed, they improved. That led to beating Seymour in sectionals after losing to them in the regular season. Unfortunately, they lost to Jennings County 2-4 after being up 2-0 going into the last inning. Next year, they will be led by junior Taryn Weddle, who will be going to Louisville after she graduates.

Girls’ track had a successful season. They won sectionals and conference. They have two freshmen, Annalise Zeinemann and Reece Davis, who are going to state as pole vaulters. The 4 by 800 meter relay advanced to state as well as the 4 by 400 meter relay. Junior Sydney Liddle and Chloe Loftus is going to state for the 2 mile. The boys’ season was disappointing. They lost sectionals for the first time in 17 years after going into the season with a chance at winning regionals. However, senior Cam Sturgeon is going to state for discus, senior Devon Montgomery for pole vault, and senior Jon Gunn for the 100-yard dash. The 4 by 800 meter relay also is going to state.

Girls’ tennis has had a successful year. They won sectionals over Eastern Pekin in straight sets. Boys’ tennis had probably the best season of any team. They advanced all the way to state before losing to eventual state champion Carmel. They are only losing one senior, all-state Lucas Sakamaki. They should be very good next year.

The last sports are the unified sports, track and football. This was the first year for unified football. It was not a great season competitively, but that is not the main goal of unified sports like it is for some other sports. It is a fun chance for impaired students to compete with their classmates. Some schools should probably put more focus into this aspect than the competitive aspect. Unified track also did not have an outstanding competitive season, but once again, that is not the main goal. The main goal is to try new things and give all types of kids a chance to be on an FC team.

This has been a pretty good year for FC, but the future looks even brighter. This talented senior class will be hard to replace but there is a lot of talent below it. Be sure to stay connected with FC sports by reading my column next school year. My first column will be on July 31.

Classes give small schools a chance to win sectionals

By J.D. McKay

On Saturday, Carmel won the girls’ swimming state championship, which makes sense. They are the biggest school in the state by almost 800 students. However, this is their 33rd straight year winning the swimming state championship. Only three other schools in Indiana scored that have fewer than 1000 students: Madison, Corydon, and International. These schools did not really have a chance against Carmel, a school at least seven times their size.

This is not the only sport that this happened to, and Carmel is not the only school benefitting. Our tennis team has won 34 straight sectional championships. Being that successful for that long is impressive, but the competition can tarnish that streak. Our sectional currently has North Harrison, Salem, Eastern (Pekin), and Crawford County.

The way to fix this is to add classes. Classes mean that teams play other teams in sectionals that are similarly-sized schools. Football, basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, and soccer all have classes and also are not consistently winning sectional championships like the non-classed sports. That would allow for some smaller schools like Corydon or Madison to be successful and win state championships in sports like swimming instead of just going in expecting to lose to Carmel by 400 points.

The main problem with this solution is what to do with individual state champions. For example, having an individual state champion in the 500-freestyle or in singles tennis. However, I do not think this would lead to a problem. There could just be a state champion by class. This could lead to more all-state athletes because top 8 in an individual sport is all-state, but this is not really a problem, either. Football, for example, has all-state athletes by class, so other sports should be able to do this as well.

For example, Jeffersonville had not won a sectional championship in wrestling from 2011 until 2018, because there was a high level of competition in the sectional. But after losing to New Albany or FC for six straight years, we were dropped from their sectional. Now their main competitors are two teams who are 3A in football while they are 6A. These schools that are a third of the size of Jeff often do not really have a chance against the big school.

It is time to give the small schools a chance to win sectionals in every sport.

 

Wrestling begins promising season

By Courtney Combs

The intense moment when a wrestler takes the mat is nerve racking, but the chanting crowd calms everyone’s nerves. The athletes shake hands, get their minds straight, and begin their first meet of the season, the green and gold scrimmage.

“I’ve always thought that wrestling was an interesting sport, and I like how it not only is an individual sport but also a team sport,” said junior Jackson Cundiff.

The year is starting off just where it needs to be. The boys went through the grueling conditioning and then through tryouts, and now are on to tough practices. The team is using the new weightlifting coach, Donnie Gumble, to their advantage, and are working with him almost every practice.

“We did preseason training with Mr. Gumble and we’re working on becoming better athletes and more explosive,” said head coach Brandon Sisson.  

The team is going on their 51st season and is hoping to take a 30th sectional title win this year. The boys are not feeling anxious about the sectionals win, but everyone can’t wait for state and they can’t wait to see how far they will make it. The team has returning state qualifiers, sophomore Gavin Alstott and Jonathan Kervin,  which will put them in a good place for a hopeful run to state.

“Going to state is my main goal, and I think I will be able to place really high this year,” said junior Jonathan Kervin.

Hopes are high for each player as they are making the transition into developing new players after losing several seniors last season. Each player is expecting a lot from their other teammates and are expecting a lot to come from their coaches as well.

“I am expecting for us to do a lot better this season. We’ve been practicing super hard and we did a lot more on the off-season than we have before,” said sophomore Max Stenberg.

This year’s class of seniors will have to step up and lead by example for young athletes who are attempting to take their spots on the varsity roster. They work to challenge younger wrestlers as well as keeping their positions as top athletes on the team.

“I have a pretty good senior group this year. They aren’t the most vocal guys, but they come in and do what they are supposed to do, and that’s all a coach could really ask for,” said Sisson.

Senior Jackson Hussung is ready to take on the role and the responsibility of being a senior. This is his second year of playing varsity, so he knows what to expect and how to make his team come up on top.

“I know what is to come, and my confidence and skill are going to put us on the right path,” said Hussung.

The season is falling right into place as the boys are already participating in scrimmages against one another and beginning meets against other schools.

Junior Kobe Armes said, “The boys and I are ready for our first green and gold scrimmage to determine who is wrestling and who is not. We’re really excited to show people how far we can go this season.”

Support winter sports in their upcoming seasons

By J.D. McKay

The fall sports wrapped up at the end of October with the football team losing to Bedford North-Lawrence and the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams running in the state meet. Now, I will be off the sideline and in the student section supporting our winter sports just like you should be.

This year, our boys’ basketball team comes into the year with high expectations. Even after seven seniors graduated last season I expect they will be successful. Senior Cobie Barnes has played very well over the last three years with Luke Gohmann, who graduated and is playing basketball at Marian University now. I expect Barnes takes the role as the number one player and explodes, making himself a real problem for other teams. The game to go to this season is at New Albany at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7.

I am not completely sure what to expect from our girls’ basketball team this year. Last year was a tough year for them, but they hired Randy Gianfagna as the new head coach after Kirk Hamsley stepped down. Last season the injury bug also struck ferociously, taking out two players who would have made large contributions. They also did not have a spectacular senior class, so almost all significant players returned. Since most of the team had varsity experience last season, they should have a good season. Their biggest game that is not against New Albany is probably against Providence on Jan. 24 at home, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Wrestling is set to once again send at least one wrestler to state. Last season, sophomore Gavinn Alstott went to the state meet in weight class 106 and should be able to return to state again. If you want to go watch a wrestling match this year go to the match against St. X on Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.

Boys’ and girls’ swimming should once again be the best in the conference. Last season they were also both undefeated, and I do not see why they cannot do that again this year. Senior Lauren Thomson finished twelfth in the 100-yard backstroke. If she could move up to the top eight she would be all-state. To watch both boys and girls swim in the same meet you should go the the FC Invitational on Nov. 24 at 10 a.m.