At this time last year, Grant Goforth’s wrestling season already had been over for nearly three weeks.
Losing in the first round of the Mooresville Sectional, the 170-pound Indian Creek freshman slipped into the offseason virtually unnoticed.
Goforth’s wrestling anonymity didn’t last long.
Placing fourth last weekend at the Evansville Reitz Semistate at 182 pounds, Goforth (30-10) is mere hours from making his IHSAA State Finals debut when he wrestles Elkhart Memorial junior David Eli (38-3) this evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“Grant has just gotten better and better and better as the year has gone on,” Braves coach Pat Dowty said. “I think he only won seven or eight matches last season, so to go from that to the state finals …
“He finished as the sectional champ, then was runner-up at regionals.”
Goforth kept his momentum going at the Evansville Reitz Semistate, defeating Karl Hauser of Floyd Central in the opening round. Then it was on to face Tecumseh junior Jeremy McKinley, who entered the match with a record of 47-1.
Goforth won, 5-2, assuring him a semifinals appearance and a trip tonight to downtown Indianapolis.
“He had a returning state qualifier who was 47-1 and Grant handled him,” Dowty said. “(He) came out and took the first takedown and pretty much controlled the entire match.
“I mean, that’s a kid who has 10 losses on his record going against someone with one loss. It didn’t faze him.”
Not a talkative young man by any stretch of the imagination, Goforth said he couldn’t help celebrating once the dream of making it to state had been realized.
“I celebrated with Pat. I hugged both my coaches (Braves assistant Brent Mosconi). I was really happy,” Goforth said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to make it to state at the beginning of the year. I just performed as well as I could at semi-state, and now I’m going.
“I’m going to have fun because I wrestle my best when all the pressure is taken off. Then I wrestle like I can.”
Dowty said Goforth’s postseason accomplishments this season remind him of another former Indian Creek wrestler.
In 2011, Tyler Hupp advanced to state at 130 pounds. Despite losing in the first round, Hupp used it as a momentum-builder for his final seasons of high school wrestling, making it back to state as a junior at 132 pounds and taking third-place at 138 as a senior.
“It reminded me of when Tyler was a sophomore and he punched his ticket to the state finals,” Dowty said. “That was pretty exciting, and that’s about how excited we were with Grant. We couldn’t be more pleased with him.
“Grant got a tough draw, but at this point they’re all tough.”
THE GOFORTH FILE
Name: Grant Goforth
High school: Indian Creek
Weight class: 182 pounds
Family: Parents, Gerald and Stacey; brother, Brody, 10
Favorite TV show: “South Park”
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Friday Night Lights”
Favorite athlete: Brian Bosworth
Favorite team: University of Oklahoma football