Times Sports Editor
Northview's Aaron See has had quite a senior year for the Knights. After a standout football season he received Second Team All-Wabash Valley honors. He was named Homecoming King on Jan. 20, and tonight, he'll take the state's biggest stage in high school wrestling.
See reached the IHSAA State Wrestling Finals by placing third in the Evansville Reitz Semi-state last weekend. This evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, See will take the mat for his first round match as the state finals contests its first round beginning at 6 p.m.
The 220-pounder becomes the seventh state finalist under the tutelage of Northview coach Dan Mikesell and a resurgent Knights' program.
Prior to Mikesell's tenure with the program, Danny Majors reached the finals in 1985 followed by Mike Hoffa in 1986. Austin Staley was the first state finalist under Mikesell with Cory Grigsby, two-time finalist Chris Dean, Beau Pingleton and Zach Stultz.
"I am proud of all these guys and that is some pretty good company to be associated with," Mikesell said. "Ironically Beau is our head middle school coach and Zach is my
Mikesell noted that See's success really took hold with his work during the summer against some of the nation's top competition.
"For Aaron it is the pinnacle of a great career. He owns school records for most pins in a season (26) and career (80). He has been very dedicated to the sport and has bought into our system," Mikesell said. "He has traveled to camps with me over the past few summers and was on a Disney Duals team wrestling in the All-American division (the toughest) to challenge himself and make improvements. I know it means a lot to him to accomplish this goal."
"Our program has been through some adversity the past few seasons with athletes we have counted on getting distracted and that has caused us to have a drought of state qualifiers. So this was very important to our program goals," Mikesell noted. "I think Aaron understood all season how important is was not just for him but for Northview Wrestling to get us back to state. I really have appreciated his efforts, for me as a coach it has been a bit of a revival."
See, who is 41-5 and ranked 14th according to Indianamat.com, will take the mat against a bit of an unfamiliar opponent in the opener. Greenfield-Central's No. 11 ranked Austin Gearlds (34-5), the runner-up to Pike's Justin Sanders in the New Castle Semi-state is See's opening match-up.
"His opening opponent is a pretty strong 220-pounder. We don't see Greenfield-Central and don't have any common opponents so it will be somewhat of a blind match-up for both wrestlers," Mikesell said. "I did have a friend that was at the New Castle Semi-State so I have a little information. I believe our system of wrestling can beat anyone and that is what we have done all year so we aren't going to change oars in the middle of the stream anyway."
If See can claim a round one victory, he'll be an all-state wrestler and would see the winner of a match between Southern Wells Seth Biberstine (45-0) and Michael Nickson (35-8) of Merrillville. However, neither See or Mikesell is looking past Friday night's battle.
"We really focus on one match at a time," Mikesell said. "We can't beat the match-up in the quarter or semifinals unless we get by the first opponent, but we also have looked at our path and have incorporated specific drills and technique into our practice plans this week for anticipated match-ups.
"I really hope people in the community can get to Indianapolis on Friday," added. "That round is very intense. Not quite as intense as the quarter final round at semi-state but a very close second," Mikesell added. "One win and you are all-state. (If you finish) Top-eight, that is one heck of an accomplishment considering how tough our state has become nationally."
First round competition begins this evening at 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 per session or $20 for both days. On Saturday, competition begins at 9:30 a.m., with quarterfinal action.