Times Sports Editor
High school wrestlers continue their postseasons today as individual regionals take place around the state. Northview is no different when they head to Bloomington South for the annual pilgrimage for regional competition.
The Knights will try and put their team regional loss behind them from Wednesday night as 10 competitors shoot for a semi-state berth a week from today.
Northview had four champions at the sectional level, which places Kyle McCoy (130), Beau Pingleton (140), Caleb Dutrow (145) and Zach Stultz (152) in a good position to move on to the next level.
The Knights seemed to be a popular winner last week after winning the school's first sectional championship in 23 years.
Plenty of coaches and athletes were quick to congratulate the Northview wrestlers and coaches, including head coach Dan Mikesell.
Mikesell believes the good will from opposing teams is a credit to his team's work ethic as well as the fraternity of the sport.
So many of our kids travel around the state everyone has seen the hard work we have put in," said Mikesell. "I think there is a degree of mutual respect among wrestling coaches. To have so many opposing coaches come to me and congratulate me meant a lot. They know we put in the time to accomplish this and I think they can appreciate a good performance when it is all on the line."
"We battle in the seed meetings and believe me we all coach our butts off so our kids will perform their best, but when the dust settles it is somewhat like a fraternity feeling that you are happy for the ones who come out on top," commented Mikesell.
At the regional level, the top-three in each weight class will advance to the semi-state. The rest will go home so there is no time to rest on past accomplishments because the level of competition is rising each week.
The Knights got five third places and a fourth at the sectional and each Northview wrestler will have their work cut out for them today. Mikesell commented that his regional wrestlers need to continue to improve if they are to reach the semi-state or state finals at Conseco Fieldhouse.
"We will have to continue to work hard and improve our technique and add to our knowledge and skills," said Mikesell. "That is one of the beauties of our sport, the friendships not only on your own team but with the others as well."
The Knights got third place finishes from some of their younger wrestlers as freshmen Skyler Hall (103) and Brandon Mikesell (125) each took third and sophomores Brady Silvers and Luke Pingleton each reached the regional as well.
The youth movement will help offset the loss of some key seniors, which include third place Jared Staley at 215 along with champions Pingleton, Stultz and Dutrow. Fifth-place finisher Tom Herr-Smith also will graduate.
Mikesell hopes that his program can continue to build the team despite the loss of a talented senior class.
"I know we lose a lot good seniors this year, and my hope is that this is a stepping stone to even greater things in the future," said the fifth-year head coach. "Right now we are just going to concentrate on winning regionals and sending individuals to Conseco. We will worry about the program goals for the future in the off season. But for sure this proves to those younger wrestlers in the community that with some hard word and dedication, dreams can come true."
The community has also done a great deal to support the team according to Mikesell, who feels that the crowd was a big part of the team's sectional title. Their vocal support could also be a big boost in Bloomington today.
"I was really pumped with the crowd through out the day (at the sectional). I think many people are realizing that wrestling is really an exciting sport when you get behind your team," he said. "I know our kids fed off the big crowd in the finals. Our parents have worked really hard taking the boys to spring and summer tournaments, camps and regional training centers. We owe this win to (the parents) as much as anyone. It couldn't have happened without their support and encouragement."