Proof of the Mappes legacy at Center Grove is displayed on the west wall of the school’s wrestling room.
Two brothers are already among the Trojans’ top three in career victories. The youngest of the four siblings, Gleason, a senior currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 160 pounds, will see his total added to the leaderboard at the conclusion of this season.
A Mappes has been on the mat for the Trojans every season since 2005-06. The family is already responsible for 483 wins, a state championship and fond memories near and far.
The brothers are each other’s biggest fans, and the extensive support system includes their mom, Therese, who is in her 11th season driving the Center Grove team bus to away meets.
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“It was totally the boys’ choice to wrestle,” said their father, Don, 59, a 1976 Roncalli graduate who won state as a senior in the 145-pound class and later wrestled at Ball State University. “For them to love wrestling as I do and to have that same passion, what more can you ask for?
“But the most important thing is they’re great young men. That’s what you’re after, right?”
Each brother is different in the way he handles wrestling competition, Don said. Shelby (class of 2009) simply attacked, Sean (2012) was more of a counter-wrestler on his way to the family’s second state championship and Rhett, currently a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis, is the most competitive.
Then there’s Gleason, a three-time state finalist who carries a 29-0 record into the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference meet at Warren Central on Saturday.
Aside from Gleason’s superb wrestling mechanics, Don Mappes thinks it’s his youngest son’s instinctive feel on the mat that helps set him apart.
Whatever the case, the upcoming postseason is the final opportunity for a Mappes to stand atop the victory podium at a state finals.
Don did so inside Southport Fieldhouse back in the day; Sean enjoyed the view at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2012 after completing an unbeaten season at 170 pounds in which he pinned 29 of 46 opponents.
Gleason would prefer a similar ending to his high school career, but he isn’t consumed by it.
“When I first started high school I was a little bit anxious because I really hadn’t done anything. I was, like, ‘Man, that’s a lot to live up to,’” he said. “After that first season I knew I could do this and be just as good, if not better than them.
“I know there are siblings out there who want to be better than each other, but my brothers have always pushed me to be better than they are. They’ve always been my biggest supporters and want me to be the best I can be.”
As a freshman, that meant one instance of learning the hard way.
Gleason, who never liked giving up points in the practice room early in his varsity career, had a tendency to cheap shot a teammate or throw a hissy fit during competition.
Trojans coach Cale Hoover, tired of issuing warnings to Gleason, called in the best reinforcement possible — Shelby Mappes, who is nine years Gleason’s senior.
“I told his dad about it, and Don’s like, ‘Do whatever you’ve got to do.’ I had been telling Shelby about it, but it was the first time he witnessed it himself,” Hoover said. “Shelby just took care of it (on the mat).
“But the coolest thing is Gleason went home and his dad asked him how practice went. He said, ‘Fine,’ and has never said a word to him about it. Ever. Now the story comes full circle this year. In Shelby’s first practice in the room this season, Gleason beat him up.”
Gleason Mappes’ maturity should prove beneficial as he seeks another deep trek into the postseason starting at the Mooresville Sectional on Jan. 27. Next season, he’ll be a member of the UIndy wrestling program, where he and Rhett will have at least two years of being teammates.
“At this point I’m doing it all for myself. I’m signed to wrestle in college. That scholarship is there. That’s not going to change,” Gleason said. “I don’t really look at (postseason) as pressure. I just look at it my last chance for a state championship.”
Center Grove’s leaders in career wrestling victories:
* – active