If you get a chance to stop by the wrestling room you might see some new pictures on the wall showing all of the former state champions & state qualifiers from previous years. The wrestling team has a rich tradition of success and Coach Irwin wanted to make sure that the wrestlers know what the expectations are at Beech Grove. It’s about being a ‘Champion’! I got a chance to sit down with Coach Irwin to get his take on the team and the upcoming season.
The boys wrestling team kicked off their season this past Saturday hosting the Circle City Classic wrestling tournament. How did the tournament go?
“We started our season last weekend with the toughest opening tournament in the state. Ethan Smiley led the charge with a 2nd place finish. Walter Ballinger earned 3rd, Bailey Moore 4th, Zack Ogles 5th, Nate Sanchez 5th, and Adam Perra 6th. Our younger guys competed at a tough Yorktown tournament. Ely Shockley won the 160 lb weight class. Isaiah Greene earned 3rd, Terrice Pope 4th, and many others placed as well.”
This is Coach Irwin’s 4th year as the head coach. As a former Beech Grove wrestler himself, he understands the high expectations the wrestlers of this school are held to and he wants his team to embrace the challenge.
“We had a productive summer where we took 11 guys to the Wabash Wrestling Camp featuring World and Olympic Champions. They also got to compete in team duals and hangout as a group at night. Ethan Smiley won his weight group at the camp, which had schools from 10 different states at it. Many others posted solid results and really enjoyed the time together as a team.”
The Smiley brothers made it to state last year and now that one of the Smiley brother’s have graduated (Evan) it’s up to Ethan to carry on the Smiley name. The team overall as high expectations for many wrestlers this season.
“Our key returners are Kody Conaway, Ethan Smiley, Bailey Moore, Walter Ballinger, and Nate Sanchez. We expect big steps forward for all of these guys. They all have great potential and are capable of making deep runs into the IHSAA tournament series. Some newcomers like Isaiah Greene, Shawn Goggans, and Terrice Pope should all have an impact on the starting lineup. Greene is a rare combo of speed and strength at the 220 lb weight class. If he puts things together and really applies himself he could make some noise during the IHSAA tournament series.”
Goals for the season…
“We lost some key guys before season due to various reasons, but are still expecting to have success. Our team goal is to win the ICC conference title even with a very young group of guys that has only 1 senior! We are really hoping to advance 5 or more guys past the sectional. Our sectional is the toughest in the state and we have advanced more and more from it every year, so we hope to continue that trend. We also hope to advance 4 or more guys to the semi state and have at least 1 state place winner, if not a state champion. This group of young men compete every day and work their tails off. The coaching staff is exhilarated to see the growth of them over the course of the season! It is going to be a lot of fun!”
Check out the Hornet wrestlers in action this season by viewing the schedule under “schedules and rosters” on the wrestling home page.
Also follow @BGrovewrestling on twitter or @bgwrestling on Instagram!