Last season, Tyler Futrell was battling to earn mat time with his teammates — for Ben Davis.

This school year, he transferred to Greenwood Community High School and is bidding to become a state champion for the Woodmen.

He dedicated his offseason to achieving that objective, and it’s yielding impressive results.

“He put in a lot of time in the summer,” said first-year Woodmen coach Jay Yates, who had previously been a Greenwood assistant. “He wrestled over 60 matches, just in the offseason, to help himself get better. I think that’s been a big part of him improving from more of a JV wrestler (at Ben Davis) to a varsity contending wrestler this year.

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“When he’s in the room, he’s working pretty hard and he’s intense whether he’s drilling or wrestling live. He’s one of our hardest workers. He cares about it a lot. That has a lot to do with why he’s been successful so far.”

Futrell, who transferred from Ben Davis to Greenwood to live with his mother, owns a 22-1 record after finishing second to Cathedral sophomore Breyden Bailey in the 120-pound championship match in the Mooresville Holiday Classic tournament Jan. 31.

Bailey was third at the state meet at 106 pounds last season.

“I’m not pleased with second,” Futrell said. “I need to shoot more and not wrestle so scared.”

Yates said the 120-pound class was one of the toughest in the Mooresville tournament with four unbeaten wrestlers in that class prior to the start.

Futrell said his biggest accomplishment so far was winning the Johnson County title with a 4-0 mark.

“I think my bottom wrestling has improved the most, thanks to my personal coach (Nick Hull),” Futrell said. “I’ve basically improved in every area of wrestling.”

Futrell has been getting private instruction from Hull from Indiana Pride Westling Academy since the end of his freshman season.

The fact Yates was a state runner-up at Center Grove at 126 pounds in 1995 also helps, Futrell said.

Yates said Futrell probably has to cut the most weight of his wrestlers before each competition.

“I went from 135 pounds at the start of the season to 120,” Futrell said. “I’m walking around about 127 right now. It’s pretty hard (to cut the weight). I get pretty cranky sometimes.”

There is a two-pound allowance by the IHSAA that started Jan. 1, so Futrell can be 122 pounds.

“That should make it easier,” said Futrell, adding 120-pound class is the best fit for him. “I just want to improve as much as I can before sectionals.”

Futrell, 15, has been wrestling since seventh grade.

“I ran cross-country and track, but I dropped them to focus on wrestling,” Futrell said.

Now he wrestles year-round and said it has become a passion for him.

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.