Wrestling powers through injuries at start of season

Early into the 2018-2019 season, the University of Indianapolis wrestling team has been able to find success, according to Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan, despite the injuries they’ve suffered from. Warthan stated that, so far in the season, they have suffered from a few injuries that they hadn’t been expecting. This came as a surprise to the team, and has been a challenge to work through, due to not anticipating them this early in the season.

“We have been pretty beat up, so that has been a little bit of an obstacle,” Warthan said. “So, some of these guys, our 149-pounder, it was his first match back. Some of these guys only have one tournament under their belt.”

Redshirt sophomore 149 Kyle Barkovich found success in the duel against the No. 7 Cardinals on November 29th. Barkovich suffered from a season ending injury last year. He earned both GLVC and NWCA All-Academic honors his first year in the program. This was Barkovich’s first match back and was able to pick up a 11-3 win. Barkovich success coming from the injury was caused by keeping a calm head and making sure to get everything going.

“I’ve been off for about a year now, so it was just kind of a mental thing,” Barkovich said. “Make sure I had my positive spirits and everything. I’ve just been working in the room the last month or so getting my head right and my body right.”

The injuries early in the year have also led to some young surprises with this senior heavy roster. With injuries to many senior wrestlers like Keith Lang some of the younger guys on the roster have had to take their place. Wrestlers like freshman 157 Blaze Lowery and senior 184 Duane Deerwester, came in on the meet to pick up wins against the no. 7 ranked Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals.

“Some of these young guys stepping up, 157 [Blaze Lowery], he’s a freshman,” Warthan said. “He got the call two days ago because Keith Lang, our senior, went down. So he’s been somewhat of a surprise.”

Despite the surprises, the Hounds dropped the home opener to the Cardinals 22-14 only winning the four out of the ten matches on the card. According to Warthan, the Hounds suffered on the defensive side of the mat, despite leading in takedowns throughout the entire match. Redshirt senior Angelo Robles lost his match 8-4 in the 141 weight class and summarized his issues as a loss of focus.

“I felt good in the first period. And then I went away from it, kind of got a little tired there in the third,” Robles said. “It’s little things. We’re still in the first month of this, and we have four more months till the end of it. So it nothing to harp on, just adjust.”

The Hounds then hosted the Little State tournament on the first of December which pits 13 schools from all around the state, and over 200 wrestlers so it gives the opportunity for younger wrestlers to get some experience wrestling against other schools.

“It’s great experience, we have over 200 people enter right now so there is going to be a lot of wrestling,” Warthan said. “If you keep winning, you’re going to get four or five matches maybe six on the weekend. That is critical experience.”

According to Warthan, the tournament also serves as a way for UIndy to gain some bragging rights against other schools that compete for recruiting. Being able to ask a potential recruit on visit who else they’ve looked at, and say that we beat them at Little State really does help with the recruiting process. The Hounds had five wrestlers place in the tournament with both sophomore Nick Brady [125] and senior Shelden Struble [165] taking runner up finishes.

On Dec. 4, the team went into face the new program to our regional, Urbana University Blue Knights. The Hounds pulled off a clean sweep of the new program taking a 40-0 victory. This marked the first win for the Greyhounds young season as they are still looking forward to the rest of the season. Robles summarized his goals for the rest of the season of keeping mentally focused.

“Keep a good mindset, don’t worry so much about the losses,” Robles said. “Enjoy the wins but it’s a long season and it’s really important in this sport to stay mentally strong. and it’s a grind and staying healthy is important and everything along with it.”

The Hounds still have plenty of their season to go and are looking forward to a good season according to Barkovich.

“Proud of my guys, and looking forward to a good season,” Barkovich said. “I think we started off the season strong and I’m excited to keep moving forward from here.”