Even as the oldest of Dave and Maureen Smith’s quadruplets, their son, D.J., doesn’t go to great lengths to exercise authority over his sisters.
Having entered this world only minutes apart, the playing field involving the Franklin Community High School juniors has remained relatively level for the past 17 years. All four have their respective interests and areas of expertise.
For D.J., that means a wrestling mat with a cheering section always close by.
“D.J. always reminds the girls that he’s the oldest. They all think he’s just hilarious, but I don’t see it because he’s quiet around my husband and I,” Maureen Smith said.
THE SMITH FILE
Name: D.J. Smith
School: Franklin Community High School
Family: Parents, Dave and Maureen Smith; brothers, Gary Smith, 42; Mike Dowty, 35; Pat Dowty, 33, and Christopher Dowty, 31; sisters, Leaha Gosnell, 39; Kylie, Katie and Traci Smith, all 17
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite food: Biscuits and gravy
Favorite movie: “Dodgeball”
Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
“His sisters love going to his wrestling matches. Two of them are cheerleaders. So when they can’t go, they’re constantly texting me to see how he’s doing.”
Odds are, pretty well.
Ranked third in the state in the 106-pound weight class, Smith is 22-2 this season. His lone losses were to No. 1-ranked C.J. Red of New Palestine, 6-4, at the recent Mater Dei Classic in Evansville, and 6-5 to an opponent from Hope, Mich., at last weekend’s Super Six at Franklin.
“To be quite honest, D.J. is wrestling at a high level. He is really good on his feet and already has over 100 takedowns this season,” Grizzly Cubs coach Bob Hasseman said. “This season he’s become a good leader in the practice room, too. He gives everyone fits up to about 132 (pounds).”
D.J. and C.J. haven’t seen the last of one another.
Smith and Red will compete when the Class 3A No. 3 Grizzly Cubs host New Palestine on Wednesday and perhaps even a month later with the second day of the IHSAA Individual Wrestling State Finals slated for Feb. 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The latter would be Smith’s second consecutive trip downtown, having made it there as a sophomore. Smith found himself paired against defending state champion Nathan Boston of Lawrence North but came up on the short end of a 3-1 decision to finish the season with a 31-7 record.
“D.J. had a tough draw, but he really wrestled a great match,” Hasseman said. “He gets frustrated now and then, but he’s been really good about not dwelling on a loss.
“To beat him this year, you’ll have to go to work because he’s pretty good.”
Though disappointed, Smith has come to realize the value in the loss to Boston, the eventual state runner-up at 106. Like Smith, Boston is a junior.
“It really prepared me for this season and let me know I could wrestle anybody in the state competitively,” said Smith, who is the younger brother of second-year Indian Creek wrestling coach Pat Dowty, himself a former state finalist for Hasseman’s program. “I was upset at first, but it made me better, and a lot of that is the experience I got from last year.”
Before the season, Smith and Hasseman discussed the possibility of Smith moving up a weight division to 113 pounds. In the end, both decided 106 would be best.
“I expected to go to 113 this year, but I think it was better for our team that I stay at 106,” Smith said. “My main goal this season is to be a state champion.”