DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
As a firefighter for Wayne Township with five young children, Pat Dowty couldn’t succeed as Indian Creek High School’s wrestling coach without help.
Dowty’s job calls for him to work 24 hours straight then take 48 hours off.
“It’s really difficult because obviously I can’t be there every day,” Dowty said of wrestling practice. “I try to use my vacation days on days of the matches. I have the best assistant coaches around, so it really helps.”
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At home, his wife, Jackie, holds down the fort with the children ranging from 1 to 9 years old. He has two older daughters, and his 5-year-old son just started wrestling.
“My wife is absolutely amazing,” said Dowty, who is in his first year with Wayne Township Fire Department after eight years as an Avon firefighter.
His assistants are ex-Indian Creek head coach Keith Grant and Brent Mosconi, who has two sons, junior Elijah Dunn and freshman Tony Mosconi, on the squad. Dowty, a former standout wrestler at Franklin Community High School, is in his fourth season at Indian Creek after spending one season as an assistant under Grant.
In Dowty’s first season as an assistant in 2011, Indian Creek had two state champions, Nathan Raley and Trey Reese, and one runner-up, Aaron Stevenson, in the IHSAA State Finals even though there were only eight wrestlers on the team.
Grant stepped down as head coach after that remarkable season, and Dowty has led the way since.
“Keith took time off and then wanted to come back, so he’s been an awesome help,” Dowty said. “Brent has been a phenomenal coach. He’s a wealth of knowledge.”
Dowty said his first mission was to get the program started at the elementary school level.
“It takes a few years for the feeder program to build up,” Dowty said. “Right now my middle school team is unbeaten, and we have 16 to 17 eighth-graders.”
Of the Braves’ 14 varsity wrestlers this season, seven are freshmen.
“We’re still missing two weight classes,” said Dowty, who had eight wrestlers in the 2013-14 season. “We’ve never had a full team in Indian Creek history, so next year I should definitely have a full team and a reserve lineup.
“It’s going to be an exciting year.”
At Saturday’s Mooresville Sectional, Dunn (36-1, 152 pounds) and Tony Mosconi (34-4, 106) won individual titles. Other Indian Creek wrestlers advancing to the regional with fourth-place finishes were freshman Brad Trietsch (29-11, 126) and junior Nick Clevenger (27-7, 285).
Dunn’s only loss was a one-point decision to Edgewood’s Gabe Koontz at 160 pounds. Dowty said he had Dunn wrestle up a weight class to get that tough match with Koontz, who is ranked second in the state by Indiana Mat at 160 pounds. Dunn is ranked seventh at 152.
“I think Elijah is one of the best kids in the state,” Dowty said. “He’s just got to put it all together on the right day.”
Dunn just missed making it to the state meet last season, losing in his final match at the semistate. Dowty said that was the first time in several years Indian Creek hasn’t had a state qualifier.
Dunn is confident that won’t be the case this year.
“I’m really hungry,” Dunn said of making it to state. “Last year I didn’t wrestle offensively at all. I’ve been more aggressive and offensive, and it’s working for me.”
Before coming to Indian Creek, Dowty was an assistant coach at Franklin for several years under Bob Hasseman. Dowty was a three-time state qualifier at Franklin, placing fourth as a senior in 1997.
Dowty was a Junior College All-American for one year at an Illinois junior college and went on to qualify for the NCAA Tournament three times at 133 pounds while at Eastern Illinois University.
“Indian Creek has taken me in, and I felt at home here,” said Dowty, who lives in Morgantown. “We love this community. This is my chance to give back to the kids. We’ve had a lot of fun with it.”
Brent Mosconi, 38, said Dowty is excellent at teaching technique to the wrestlers.
“We try to be hand and glove,” Mosconi said. “Some days it doesn’t work out, and some days it does.”
In the wrestling room, Mosconi said, he has to make the distinction between dad and coach with his sons.
“That’s always awkward when you are coach one minute and dad the next,” he said. “But we make it work.”
Mosconi, who wrestled at Franklin Central High School, has been a wrestling instructor for several years.
Another of Mosconi’s sons, Alex, is an eighth-grade wrestler.
“If they stick in the program and develop as they go along, I really look forward to having a really strong team when these freshmen are seniors,” Mosconi said.
What: IHSAA wrestling regional
Where: Mooresville High School
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Feeder sectionals: Avon and Mooresville
Advancement: The top four place-winners in each weight class advance to the Feb. 14 Evansville Reitz Semistate.
Johnson County regional qualifiers
Center Grove (9): Zach Blevins, Ethan Duke, Connor Noble, Logan Coyle, Gleason Mappes, Jonah Hays, Rhett Mappes, Skyler Stits and Cory Heinrichs
Franklin (6): Trevor Reese, Shane Wilkerson, Burk VanHorn, Jacob Stevenson, Damon Munn and Quinn York
Whiteland (5): Austin Schmoll, Jordan Wooten, Matthias Ebeyer, Tommy Copeland and Ryan Hammond
Indian Creek (4): Tony Mosconi, Brad Trietsch, Elijah Dunn and Nick Clevenger
Greenwood (3): Keegan Overton, Tyler Futrell and Gavin Fuqua