Whizzer and crossface: Grapplers set for season
It’s a rebuilding year of sorts for the Corydon Central wrestling program.
A large chunk of the roster is packed with freshmen and sophomores, making the varsity level of wrestling experience limited.
Despite the lack of on-the-mat adventures in high school, practice thus far has been pleasant for veteran coach Richard Clipp Jr.
‘Practices have been pretty good,’ Clipp said. ‘Obviously, they are a young group so we spend a lot of time teaching.’
Among the teaching tools is conditioning and learning to counter opponents with technical moves and terminology.
‘It’s a lot of technical stuff. Learning it is difficult, but performing it is even more difficult,’ Clipp said. ‘You have to be able to realize the situations you’re in. It’s kind of like chess. You have to be ahead of them a couple of moves. We haven’t been on the mat enough to anticipate what’s going to happen. Not all of them are ready for those situations.’
Among the experienced is sophomore Bailey LaHue. Last season, LaHue put Corydon Central’s logo on podiums never seen before. In the 113-pound class, LaHue was a regional and semi-state champion, the latter the first in the school’s program history. Also a best ever for a Panthers grappler, LaHue placed fifth at the state meet.
The 2012-13 season for LaHue will take a different path. Clipp said he’s grown a few inches and, in turn, put on additional weight. LaHue will likely lace up his boots in the 126-pound class.
‘He’s grown quite a bit,’ Clipp said. ‘He’s working on managing his weight along with his growth.’
His success has had a positive impact on the Panthers as a team. Assistant coach Russell Kopp said wrestlers like freshman Ezra Paden and junior Nate Kurz have shown improvements to have an immediate impact.
‘It’s a good group to rebuild with,’ Kopp said. ‘The young kids we have, 80 percent or so of the freshmen and sophomores have experience. They are also football and track stars. They have an influence in the population of the school. They are a good group that works well together.’
LaHue is also encouraged through the practice part of the season.
‘We’re doing good,’ he said. ‘We’re a young team but everyone is working hard. Most years, some guys on the team don’t break a sweat. This year, you can see guys are training hard.’
The win-loss record of the team will not be a focus of the coaching staff, rather a day-by-day, week-by-week improvement.
‘We’ll miss a few weight classes,’ Clipp said. ‘Some of our first- and second-year guys are going to make an impact early. We have a lot of hope with this bunch.’
With the youth, LaHue said they experienced success as a team in the junior high ranks. He knows the competition as a freshmen for some teammates will be tough, but the future looks bright.
‘I think by my senior year, we will be pretty good overall,’ LaHue said. ‘They all work hard.’
Senior Conner Kopp is encouraged by the teamwork thus far.
‘I feel like there is more team unity and everyone pushes one another,’ he said. ‘Everyone wants to get better. We’re looking good and I’m excited for a strong and for me, a healthy senior year.’
The competition will be tough. They’ll see Mid-Southern competition at the MSC Duals Saturday at Charlestown.
After the holidays, Corydon Central will host the annual Old Capital Classic on Saturday, Jan. 5. Teams expected to participate include Columbus North, Evansville Central, Floyd Central, Gibson Southern, Indianapolis Arsenal Technical, Southport and Zionsville.
Schedule: Nov. 27 at Crawford County; Dec. 1 at Providence (six way); Dec. 4 vs. Christian Academy of Indiana; Dec. 8 at Mid-Southern Conference Duals*; Dec. 12 vs. Jeffersonville; Dec. 15 at Floyd Central (seven way); Dec. 28, 29 at Woodford County (Ky.) Invitational; Jan. 5 Old Capital Classic at Corydon Central (eight teams); Jan. 9 vs. New Washington; Jan. 12 at The Knights Classic at South Dearborn (eight teams); Jan. 19 at Mid-Southern Conference*