By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
If you happen to have met Northview senior Aaron See, you'll know that he's rarely without a smile and always has a comment that will have his peers laughing around him. So it might surprise you that the reigning Homecoming King at Northview doesn't give opponents much to grin about on the wrestling mat. In fact, a whole different See took the mat for the Knights, one that opened quite a few eyes in the state as he battled his way to a fourth-place finish at the IHSAA State Wrestling Finals this winter.
Count Campbellsville University wrestling coach Franky James as one of those who noticed what See accomplished this year. See was offered a full scholarship by the Kentucky school and will join a heralded program that finished third in the nation at the NAIA level this year.
"It's really an honor, because I was overlooked a little bit around here since Northview is a little small on the map, but I think my finish in the state finals really helped me get noticed," See commented. "Campbellsville has a great wrestling program and I'm just ready to get there and wrestle. Distance wasn't really a factor. The program there is phenomenal and is really what drew me there."
See won't be joining a team looking to rebuild, in fact, James' Tigers return five All-Americans and should begin the season as a pre-season top-3 team for the third year in a row. However, See fills one of the weight classes that is somewhat thin as James has looked to fill spots at 125, 165, 197 and 285.
See finished his career at Northview with a 43-7 mark his senior season and was 107-30 in his career while breaking school records for most pins in a season (27) and in a career (77).
"It was just an amazing run for Aaron this year to have more than 40 wins and break a couple of school records," Northview wrestling coach Dan Mikesell said. "To place fourth in the state was an amazing cap to all the hard work he's put in over the last three years."
While See competed at 220 pounds this year, he's expecting to drop to the 197-pound division in college.
"It's about a 30-pound drop. Their current 197-pounder, Jamelle Jones, is a great wrestler and is easily one of the best NAIA wrestlers that I've ever seen," See noted of is future teammate, who is 86-7 in his college career. "I'm actually excited to drop weight because I haven't cut (weight) in so long. I think 197 is a good college weight for me.
"Coach James said that my type of wrestling is key in college. I'm good on top and that transitions into riding time (in college)," See mentioned in regards to his wrestling style. "Coach James is really looking forward to me coming in and I'm excited for the opportunity. The all-year round wrestling will probably be the hardest thing because sometimes you do get burnt out after wrestling for so long. Coach James says that he mixes (practice) up and we go out and run on the football field and we have days that are just meant to be fun so I think I'll be okay."
Mikesell agreed that See has grown a lot in his career as he went from single-digit wins as a freshman to a two-time conference champion, who won a sectional title this year.
"His hard work in-season and his dedication, he comes in every day ready to practice," Mikesell said. "I think he lead by example with his hard work and he was vocal in telling kids what they need to do. He has great leadership skills.
"I think it has to do with his off-season conditioning and going to camps," Mikesell continued when asked about what aided See's emergence. "One of the camps he went to before his sophomore year, he got to work out with Tom Rollins, who just barely missed the Olympic team this year. He worked out with him for four straight days and things like that and going to off-season tournaments are what helped him progress."
See will join a program that placed a school record seven All-Americans in the top-8 individually in the NAIA Wrestling Tournament. The Tigers had two wrestlers finish second in the tourney that also had Greencastle High School graduate Charlie Pingleton claim a national title for Lindsey Wilson College.