Luke Kriech has stated more than once his preference for wrestling in the 160-pound weight division this season.
Longtime Franklin Community High School coach Bob Hasseman isn’t so sure about the idea.
As the 2012-13 campaign nears, the only definite at this point is that Kriech, a senior who placed second at the last year’s IHSAA State Finals at 152, would be one of the state’s best wrestlers, regardless of where he finds a home.
“He would like to go to 160, and I’d like him to be at 152,” Hasseman said. “He should be a 152, I think, but I don’t know.”
The level of Kriech’s persuasiveness should be determined soon. Franklin opens its season Nov. 29 at Columbus North before hosting Mooresville on Dec. 4.
The next few months are important to Kriech on a variety of levels. Being a defending state runner-up (he lost a 2-1 decision to Muncie South junior Isaiah Bradley in the final to finish with a 35-5 record) invites its own attention.
Winning it all greatly intensifies the spotlight.
“Last year was just an awesome feeling, all of the surroundings,” said Kriech, referring to the elaborate introductions in Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the 14 championship matches. “That’s my goal this year. It’s where I want to be again.”
Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Hasseman has no doubt Kriech’s season will extend to the state meet. The only question is, how far will he go when he gets there?
“He has ambitions of wrestling in college. Part of that hinges on how he does this season, so he’ll be highly motivated,” Hasseman said. “Luke wants to win a state championship. He had a great tournament last year and peaked at the right time.”
Unlike those who pick up wrestling in middle school or late in one’s elementary school years, Kriech became enamored with the sport at the age of 4. His father, Marc, wrestled for Center Grove, as did his uncle, Keith.
As a sophomore, Kriech placed second at sectional and third at regional in the 135-pound class. Last season he won both sectional and regional titles before taking third at the Evansville Reitz Semistate.
Hasseman is a firm believer in not taking the easy way, which explains why his program has been so successful through the years. Not that there is such a thing as easy in wrestling. Whether it’s 152 or 160 pounds this season, Kriech knows he’ll have to be at the top of his game to get to the very top after last season’s near miss.
“During the offseason it’s important to always get stronger and improve your technique,” Kriech said. “I always want to do better.”