For seven Northview wrestlers, Saturday is the second step of what hopefully is a long walk in postseason action.
All seven made their case in the Northview Sectional on Saturday for why their season needed to continue. In some cases a competitor showed resilience, in others, determination and in all instances, the Knights displayed the grit it takes to get the job done in the dog-eat-dog world of the postseason.
Only the top four competitors in each sectional weight class around the state made it to the level that Austin Nicosin (112), Corey Grigsby (130), Chris Dean (145), Brent Withers (152), Greg Stultz (160), Gatlin Ferro (171) and Tony Sanabria (275) have currently attained. When considering each of Northview's regional competitors the mentality and level of preparation is unchanged from the discipline of day-to-day practices under second year coach Dan Mikesell.
Senior 130-pounder Corey Grigsby (30-5) is no stranger to the regional level after back-to-back semistate trips the past two years. After a truly gutsy performance in his sectional final bout, Grigsby, suffering a cut lip that required stitches after his decisive victory, noted that he's even more focused on his regional bouts than previous years.
"I feel pretty good about preparing for regionals," commented Grigsby following Wednesday's practice. "I'm planning on going for the regional championship."
With Grigsby's sectional championship last Saturday, he'll receive a first round bye in regional competition which makes his first match on Saturday incredibly important. With a win against Josh Cardinal of Jennings County (19-19) who placed fourth at the Jennings County Sectional, Grigsby would, at worst, finish third and automatically advance to Semistate competition.
"Basically I've got to wrestle hard and get past the bye match," said Grigsby who admitted that a regional title and another semistate berth would be incredible. "(A Regional title) would be unbelievable," he noted. "I've worked really hard for this. I've been here before so I know what to expect."
Teammate Tony Sanabria (35-4) will be looking for a little bit of redemption at the Bloomington South Regional after dropping a semifinal decision to Sullivan's Tom Nero in the sectional. "Yeah I'd definitely like to get a chance to face (Nero) again," commented Sanabria.
Sanabria who owns two victories over Nero this year and one over sectional champion LaShawn Tyler of Terre Haute North. The three competitors figure to all be in a battle for one of the three slots to make the semistate level.
When asked how special a trip to the semistate would be, Sanabria, who won the WIC title over Nero said that he'd be pretty happy and that it would mean even more than the WIC title.
His first round matchup will be with Wes Ault (25-8) of Brown County whom he's defeated before this season. He could get a rematch with both Tyler and Nero before Saturday's over.
At 112 pounds, Austin Nicosin (30-4) has been waiting quite awhile for another chance at a regional opponent. After suffering a leg injury before last season, Nicosin missed the entire season after reaching the regional level at 103 pounds as a freshman. He'll bring a 30-4 mark into his match with Leon LaBarge of Bedford North Lawrence, an opponent that Nicosin admits he doesn't know much about, but he continues to prepare in anticipation of Saturday's action.
"We've all been working hard in practice," Nicosin noted. "It's pretty awesome (reaching regionals). I made it as a freshman and I'd like to make it farther than I did then."
Greg Stultz (27-9) would agree with Nicosin's goals of making it past the regional level. "I'm not happy where I'm at, I'm not satisfied with being (in the regional)," said Stultz. "I'm just doing what coach says and keep working hard on what he teaches me."
He'll face off with Alex Brewer (29-9) of Jennings County on Saturday.
He admitted to not knowing much about his opponent, but says that it's not a bad thing. "I'd rather not know," mentioned Stultz.
Chris Dean (26-10) placed second in sectional action and gets a matchup with Josh Klakamp (24-16) of Columbus East on Saturday.
Much like many of his teammates, Dean knows little about his first opponent on Saturday. "I don't think it's really an advantage or disadvantage," said Dean. "It would be an advantage in knowing what he can do, but then again he won't know what you can do either."
Much like Stultz and Dean, Brent Withers has bigger goals than the regional level. "I've reached four of my five goals this year with a trip to semistate being the fifth," said Withers. "I just want to go all out and put everything I've learned together to win."
Withers (26-11) will face Joe Henseler (23-18) of Columbus North in his first match.
Senior Greg Stultz
Northview senior Gatlin Ferro moved into the area after competing in Nevada previously. He brings a 20-7 mark into a match with Derek Mullins (30-4) of Seymour on Saturday. "I've been training hard and trying to better myself," mentioned Ferro of his preparation.
All of Northview's qualifiers have put a ton of effort into reaching their current level of success, but none appear satisfied with their accomplishments. The Knights will begin their journey towards a berth in the semistate with Saturday's first matches scheduled to begin at