Pat Dowty is unqualified to envision what Indian Creek’s wrestling program is going to look like five months from now, much less five years.
Almost always a product recognized more for quality than quantity, there are encouraging signs the Braves might soon possess both.
Indian Creek’s current varsity roster numbers 13 student-athletes, an upgrade over last season when many matches had to be forfeited.
Even the program’s undisputed yardstick, the 2011 squad responsible for sending five wrestlers to the state finals — crowning two individual champions and one runner-up — had only eight competitors.
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“At Indian Creek we’ve never had a full lineup, but I’m very excited because we’ve got 18 eighth-graders wrestling and everyone on this team returning next season,” said Dowty, 35, who as a teen wrestled for Bob Hasseman at Franklin Community.
“I got to Indian Creek three years ago and got the elementary program going. Now some of those kids are coming up with our middle school numbers increasing every year. I think the future of Indian Creek wrestling is looking bright.”
The Braves, due to a dearth of able bodies, typically forfeited eight of the 14 weight divisions during matches in 2013-14. This season it appears that number could shrink to as low as two.
One day soon there may not be any vacancies.
Freshman Tony Mosconi has pinned all five of his opponents this season at 113 pounds entering tonight’s match with Brown County. There remains the possibility Mosconi could switch to 106, meaning one of two juniors — Jordan Summers or Yegor Georgiyev — would fill the void at 113.
Another ninth-grader, Tyler Weltich, is 4-1 at 120 pounds, while freshman Brad Trietich is 5-0 at 126 pounds. Working the 132 class for Indian Creek is freshman Alex Tran with junior Lavelle Albert and freshman Austin Worth wrestling 138 and 145, respectively.
Elijah Dunn, a junior coming off a semistate appearance at 145, is slotted at 152. Freshman Grant Goforth represents the Braves at 160 pounds with classmate Christian Thacker at 171.
The brothers Clevenger, sophomore Joe at 182 and junior heavyweight Nick consume half of the four high weight categories. Joe Clevenger is 5-0 so far this season with all five conquests coming by pin.
The 195- and 220-pound classes are void of an Indian Creek wrestler at this juncture, though perhaps not for long given the number of freshmen and sophomores likely to be on varsity a year from now.
“I know the team is young. We just want everyone to wrestle to their fullest,” Nick Clevenger said.
“We’re so close to a full team now. My freshman year we had six kids at county and last year we had eight. Now the wrestling room is full, which means there’s a lot more competition.”
Clevenger earlier this week took in a portion of a middle school wrestling practice at Indian Creek. The scene was impressive, to say the least.
“It was crazy,” the junior said.
In the meantime, the hand Dowty has been dealt continues to seek improvement from a program that — at least on paper — could be consistently formidable in the years ahead.
“Seeing how we’re so young, I want to see day-to-day improvement from this team,” Dowty said. “I’ve never had a harder-working team. And they’re good kids, too.”
A BRAVES WORLD
A good blend of weeknight dual meets and weekend invitationals await Indian Creek as it prepares for the rigors of postseason competition:
Today – Brown County, 6 p.m.
Saturday – at Evansville Memorial, 8 a.m.
December 20 – Johnson County Meet at Indian Creek, 9 a.m.
January 2-3 – at Connersville Invitational, 9 a.m.
January 7 – Eastern Hancock, 6 p.m.
January 10 – at Brown County Invitational, 9 a.m.
January 13 – Seymour, 7 p.m.
January 17 – at Edgewood Quad Duals, 9 a.m.
January 20 – at Monrovia, 6 p.m.
January 24 – at New Albany Invitational, 9 a.m.