Times Sports Editor
Wabash Valley Wrestling Club product Jacob Hendrich claimed a state championship in folkstyle during the weekend.
Hendrich went a perfect 4-0 during the day, beating the third, fourth, sixth and second place finishers in perhaps the toughest draw of the tourney.
In the Midget 87-pound division, Hendrich won his first match 6-0 before he overcame his second opponent in a 4-3 overtime decision. In the semifinals, Hendrich claimed an 8-0 victory before winning the championship 7-3.
Coach Dan Mikesell pointed out that Hendrich overcame some very tough competition to win the championship.
"The competition among younger wrestlers has really gotten to be tough," said Mikesell. "There are several clubs and now private tutoring in the Indianapolis area as well as in the Northern part of the state. It is really amazing how skilled some of these young athletes are."
Hendrich has been a long standing member of the Wabash Valley Club and Mikesell noted that he's seen great improvement in his skill level.
"Jacob has been in our club since the first year," said Mikesell. "I believe he started going to tournaments the second year and really starting competing the next year every weekend."
As the success level rises for the high school program, Mikesell commented that the club is reaping benefits at the high school level as well as in the junior high.
"Our goal is to produce High School state champions, but for the club it is a nice reward to see that (Hendrich) is on the right track of competing with the best in the state in his age group," said Mikesell. "Right now he is having a lot of fun and learning how to handle the competition at the highest level."
The Northview coach was also quick to point out that Hendrich is enjoying the success that comes with his hard work as well.
"For him, he was pretty excited," commented Mikesell. "He works really hard at it for such a young athlete, but he really seems to enjoy the sport. So for me as a coach that is very rewarding."
"Jacob has put a lot of extra time in going to camps and working out with some older kids from our middle school team," said Mikesell. "I am happy with his progress so far and we will continue to nurture his development as a wrestler. I was proud of what he did on Saturday."