Bob Hasseman has been coaching high school wrestling long enough to value a good hold.
The dominance his Franklin Community High School program has exhibited at the Mooresville Sectional the past decade most assuredly applies.
Franklin has won five consecutive team titles and eight since 2005, with championship totals ranging from 234 to 284 points.
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Recent history, coupled with Hasseman’s squad at No. 16 being the lone ranked program among the 10 feeding the Mooresville site, would seem to make the Grizzly Cubs the favorite Saturday. Barely.
Center Grove in December tallied 35 points to edge Franklin (31) to win the team championship at the Johnson County Tournament hosted by Indian Creek.
“It will be a good battle because Martinsville and Whiteland have some good kids, too. You hope your kids want to move on and keep wrestling together,” Hasseman said.
“I try to stress (team title) with my kids, and in the sectional you really need everyone to place to win. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.”
Franklin takes the mat having won 17 sectional team championships compared to 11 for Center Grove.
Ninth-year Trojans coach Cale Hoover knows his wrestlers must again perform with county-tournament-like precision to have any chance of taking down their longtime county rival for a second time this season.
At the same time all coaches are attempting to advance as many athletes as possible to the Mooresville Regional on Feb. 7.
“Generally speaking, winning that team championship is very important, but we really lump both of them together. We talk about how every match is important and getting every pin you can get and every bonus point you can get,” Hoover said.
“Based on results you would probably think it comes down to us and Franklin. But if you don’t have your team ready crazy things can happen.”
Among Center Grove’s consistent performers this season are junior Zak Siddiqui (20-7) at 106 pounds, sophomore Zach Blevins (26-8) at 113, juniors Connor Noble (22-12) and Nick Summers (24-9) at 138 and 132 pounds, respectively, and freshman 220-pounder Cory Heinrichs (27-8).
All were crowned county champions along with freshman teammate Jonah Hayes at 160 pounds.
Hasseman anticipates big things at the sectional from the likes of, among others, Quinn York (32-2) in the 285 class, defending state champion Jake Stevenson (170), Burk Van Horn (152) and Shane Wilkerson (145).
County champs from other schools also will be on display at Mooresville with Whiteland freshman Ryan Hammond (182), Indian Creek junior Elijah Dunn (152) and Greenwood sophomore Tyler Futrell (120).
Franklin thoroughly dominated the sectional a year ago, producing 284 points to the 145.5 of runner-up Martinsville (Center Grove took third with 143.5).
However, many of the Grizzly Cubs’ triumphs at Mooresville have been by close margins against second-place Center Grove — a 36.5-point spread in 2013, a mere seven points in 2012 and 23.5 points in 2011. The Trojans’ most recent sectional title in 2007 had them scoring 18.5 more points than Franklin.
Then there is the all-timer, Martinsville totaling 220 points to Franklin’s 219 to Center Grove’s 215 in 2009.
There have been close calls in the past at Mooresville, with Saturday suited to add to that reputation.
“Everyone knows coach Hasseman is a competitive guy, and the rivalry’s intensity has picked up,” Hoover said. “I think there’s a healthy amount of respect on both sides.”
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Mooresville High School
Teams: Center Grove, Decatur Central, Franklin, Greenwood, Indian Creek, Martinsville, Monrovia, Mooresville, Plainfield and Whiteland
Champions (and point totals) since 2005
2014: Franklin, 284
2013: Franklin, 257.5
2012: Franklin, 234
2011: Franklin, 241.5
2010: Franklin, 248.5
2009: Martinsville, 220
2008: Franklin, 237
2007: Center Grove, 225.5
2006: Franklin, 273
2005: Franklin, 242