Standing on a lower perch of the awards podium at the state wrestling finals last February, Center Grove’s Anthony Schoettle knew deep down he could have fared better.
An eighth-place medal, while an impressive accomplishment in its own right, will no doubt serve as inspiration for Schoettle this winter as he makes the jump from the 113-pound weight class to 120.
The senior who by season’s end could emerge as the Trojans’ all-time leader in wins, pins and takedowns seeks a more exhausting climb on the podium inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse this time around. The higher the better, with the ultimate objective being where state champions stand.
“I think 120 is more of a comfortable weight for me. I can eat what I want, go to practice and have fun. It’s more relaxing,” said Schoettle, who advanced to the final eight at 113 last season, only to lose three consecutive matches and finish with a 42-5 record. “It’s just about going out there and being relaxed.”
Schoettle has been a varsity mainstay since his freshman season for Center Grove coach Cale Hoover. It’s a career that, going into Thursday night’s season-opener at two-time defending team state champion Perry Meridian, has spawned far more success stories than disappointments.
As a ninth-grader wrestling in the old 103 class, Schoettle won a sectional championship at Mooresville before turning right around and capturing regional there. Nonetheless, he hadn’t placed at state until the conclusion of last season.
“Winning a medal was big for Anthony. The year before he won regional at 112 and then got a concussion during a practice the week of semistate, so that was very, very disappointing. Anthony is an interesting guy. A creature of habit. He likes what he likes, and he’s a gamer,” Hoover said.
“You put him under the lights and he’s probably going to perform better than he does in practice a lot of the time. He’s just been a real solid contributor since the day he walked in.”
Schoettle’s reputation for liking the big stage is what made his three losses to close the 2012 season so surprising.
“Everything was on course for him until the Saturday of state finals. Anthony’s last two matches, he was leading both and wound up losing them,” Hoover said. “That’s the one thing that has plagued him is if he’s had a loss or a tough match, he sometimes has a hard time letting it go.”
“They were definitely close matches, and I let the pressure get to me,” Schoettle admitted. “I kind of let down, and in some matches guys came back and beat me. I’ve got to do better and not let the pressure get to me.”
Maybe being a year older, wiser and physically stronger will enable Schoettle to again find his way back to the same podium in February, only this time in the 120 division. He has no reservations about moving to the level and is confident it’s a step up to something better.