One of the Indian Creek wrestlers headed to semistate competition offers advice to his younger teammate: Ignore the crowds. Do your thing.
And the freshman who is getting his first taste of postseason competition this month looks up to the co-captain.
They’ll pull for one another because, well, it’s what teammates do. Brothers, too.
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Junior Elijah Dunn and freshman Tony Mosconi are among the Johnson County wrestlers qualified for today’s Evansville Reitz Semistate.
“There’s no doubt they’re brothers. They fight like brothers, but there’s also that love,” Indian Creek coach Pat Dowty said.
“There’s also the competition there, too. They feed off each other, which is good.”
Brent Mosconi is one of Dowty’s assistant coaches and the boys’ father. His wife, Cindy, was a single mother with two children — Elijah, six months; and older sister, Ajene — when she started dating Brent Mosconi in the late 1990s.
The couple wed, and had 15-year-old Tony and four more children to join Elijah and Ajene.
All four boys inherited Brent Mosconi’s passion for wrestling. Their dad, after all, wrestled three seasons at Franklin Central High School, but not as a senior after suffering an ACL injury prior to the 1994-95 season.
With Brent Mosconi a part of Indian Creek practices and meets, the lines separating father/son from coach/athlete often are blurred.
“We always fight that hard-line battle between dad and coach,” Brent Mosconi said. “When we close the doors in the practice room, I’m a coach, and I do challenge them.”
The family moved to the Indian Creek community before Elijah’s freshman year and continues to leave its mark on Indian Creek wrestling.
Next winter there will be three brothers starting for the Braves, with Alex Mosconi likely slotted in at 106 pounds and Tony bumped to 113 or 120.
Meanwhile, Dunn takes a 39-1 record to the semistate, the lone blemish coming against Edgewood High School senior Gabe Koontz, the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds.
It’s the only time this season Dunn stepped away from his weight class, the reason being top-flight competition for a pair of potential state finalists.
“Elijah has come into his own this year. He’s always had the technique but lacked some of the confidence to go to the next level. This year the confidence is there, which comes from being a year older, being more mature,” Brent Mosconi said.
Both brothers understand it will take the best performances of their wrestling careers to place in the top four in Evansville and advance to next week’s IHSAA State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
They have one another upon which to lean.
“I’ve always looked up to Elijah, and he helps me out when it comes to wrestling. He’s always been really supportive,” Tony Mosconi said. “It’s been fun having one of my brothers on the same team.”
“It’s been fun, but we do clash sometimes because we are brothers,” added Dunn, one of two team captains this season along with junior 285-pounder Nick Clevenger. “My advice to him is to stay calm and just do your thing. Don’t get nervous because of the big crowds. Just wrestle like you always do.”
The competition both brothers sample during and beyond their high school seasons has prepared them for this moment.
Dunn advanced to the Evansville Semistate as a sophomore in the 145-pound division. In the opening round, he lost a 4-2 decision to Evansville Mater Dei senior Josh Pierre, who would go on to place third and qualify for state.
Tony Mosconi, though a semistate novice, has nonetheless proved himself.
“Tony is not a stranger to big matches,” Dowty said. “He is under the radar right now, which is kind of good for him. It keeps the pressure off; and when people look at the brackets, they’re looking past him.”
Brent Mosconi witnesses both at school and home the sweat, sacrifice and discipline that goes into building a semistate qualifier.
In a matter of hours he may even be sharing dinner table space with a pair of state finals competitors.
“You see the work these kids put in with the extra runs after practice and holding your weight all season,” Mosconi said. “Boy, that would be something … just a real proud day for dad.”
And plenty to talk about during the drive home.
Weight class: 152
Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead”
Favorite movie: “4 Minute Mile”
Favorite athlete: Jordan Burroughs
Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks
Weight class: 106
Favorite TV show: “Supernatural”
Favorite movie: “Step Brothers”
Favorite athlete: Cale Sanderson
Favorite team: Ohio State University wrestling