By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS —
If there is one word to describe Nick Ottersbach’s tenure at Floyd Central, it would have to be perseverance.
Ottersbach’s hard work has made him one of the top wrestlers on the Highlanders’ wrestling team and a successful student at FCHS.
On the mats this season, the senior is sporting a 23-3 record in the 220-pound division. Ottersbach won his first Hoosier Hills Conference title last weekend at Seymour and captured his second consecutive championship at the Old Capital Classic in Corydon on Jan. 5.
Ottersbach will be vying to win the 220-pound title for the second year in a row at the Jeffersonville Sectional on Jan. 26.
“Nick has had a really, really good season so far. He’s been wrestling really well,” said Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson, who began coaching the senior when he was a student at Galena Elementary School. “At the beginning of the year, Nick was ranked seventh or eighth and he’s wrestled a lot of the guys that are ranked up there. He definitely has a very good opportunity to go pretty far in the postseason.”
In the classroom, Ottersbach has a 3.7 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. He currently ranks in the top 10 percent of his class at Floyd Central and made the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Academic All-State team last year.
Ottersbach also is participating in a new pharmacy program at the Prosser Career Education Center in New Albany. The program requires Ottersbach to take one weekly class at Prosser and work at an area pharmacy each week.
Ottersbach’s participation in the pharmacy program has forced him to alter his practice schedule with the wrestling team, as he misses a couple of days of regular practice each week.
But Sisson credits Ottersbach for planning ahead in coordinating a new practice schedule.
“He has done an amazing job of giving us his schedule from December all the way to February as far as when he has to work and when he has classes,” Sisson said. “He’s done a great job of relaying to us when he’s going to be here and when he’s not going to be here. We kind of worked out that we were going to help him out around that [schedule].
“He’s very smart. He’s right up there with the best grades on the team. He was Academic All-State last year and I expect him to be Academic All-State this year.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the News and Tribune traveled to Floyd Central to talk to Ottersbach about the wrestling season, his quest to be a pharmacist and other items.
• QUESTION: What have you thought about your season thus far?
• OTTERSBACH: “It’s been a special season so far. I feel like I blossomed and bloomed in my junior year and then I’ve really came through in my senior year.”
• Q: What do you want to accomplish by season’s end?
• OTTERSBACH: “My goal is to get as far as possible [in the IHSAA state tournament]. Last year, I never made it to semi-state. I just want to qualify for state and improve on that. I believe I’m able to do that.”
• Q: You won a sectional title last season. How much of a challenge is it going to be for you to repeat this year?
• OTTERSBACH: “Not [a challenge] at all. I made a pretty strong move in the finals match [last season at sectional]. This year, I think I have it locked up — no pun intended.”
• Q: What did it mean to you to win your first HHC championship last weekend?
• OTTERSBACH: “It wasn’t much of a victory for me because of the level of competition. The year before that, though, I faced [former Jennings County wrestler] Iyan Bass [in the HHC final]. He’s a pretty good wrestler and I almost had a reversal on him. I’m more proud of that reversal than winning the tournament.”
• Q: Your team won the HHC for the first time since 2008 last weekend. How did it feel to reclaim the conference title?
• OTTERSBACH: “It was fantastic. Not only did we reclaim it, we dominated. We won by [82 1/2] points.”
• Q: Does winning the HHC gives you and your teammates some momentum heading into the sectional?
• OTTERSBACH: “Absolutely. A lot of people from the HHC are going to be at the sectional. I’m just going to wrestle on through like I always do.”
• Q: Your team has been tabbed the favorite to win the sectional since the start of the season. Are you guys feeling any pressure to win the sectional championship?
• OTTERSBACH: “It’s always been Floyd Central’s mindset to be the best team. Since I’ve been here as a freshman, it’s been drilled into us that we are going to win. Now it’s the year that we want to make that totally possible.”
• Q: The Highlanders have not captured a sectional title in five years. What would it me to you and your teammates to bring back the sectional championship to Floyd Central?
• OTTERSBACH: “It would mean a lot to us. But I believe it would mean a lot more to Coach Sisson because I believe it would be his first sectional title and that would mean a lot to him.”
• Q: Talk about the pharmacy program you are in. What are some of the things you do in that program?
• OTTERSBACH: “I have an extracurricular class at the school every week and then I also work in a pharmacy. Actually, that takes time out of my practice and me and Coach have worked out a way to make up that practice time.”
• Q: How have you adjusted your practice schedule?
• OTTERSBACH: “I have to get here at 6 a.m. on Mondays. We run through the entire practice.”
• Q: Has it been difficult adjusting to getting up early on Mondays to practice? How much of a challenge has it been for you?
• OTTERSBACH: “At first, I thought it was going to be very hard. But I found out that by doing conditioning on Monday mornings that I can keep up with the team.”
• Q: How much are you enjoying being a part of the pharmacy program?
• OTTERSBACH: “I love it. I love where I work. I like all my co-workers there and my boss is fantastic. It’s a really good experience, especially before I go to college. I’ll know what I’m getting into.”
• Q: What interests you about getting into pharmacy?
• OTTERSBACH: “I like chemistry a lot. My freshman-year chemistry teacher handed us a pamphlet of professions and pharmacy just kind of struck me. I saw something about Indiana jobs and it showed it was a growing business, so I decided to go for it.”
• Q: I understand you are interested in going to Butler or Purdue to study pharmacy. I know both of them are really good pharmacy schools. What is your status on choosing between both universities?
• OTTERSBACH: “I’ve been accepted to both of them. But I have been working a lot harder towards Butler. I like the campus better. So I plan on heading toward Butler, but I haven’t confirmed that.”
• Q: Are you planning on wrestling in college as a walk-on?
• OTTERSBACH: “Butler doesn’t have as far as I know a wrestling program. But I’ll probably quit cold turkey. I’ll probably try to find some other form of competition — something new.”
NEWS AND NOTES
• Highlanders have eight individual champs at HHC: Floyd Central had eight champions and nine wrestlers reach the final in scoring 272 points and collecting its first HHC crown in five years last Saturday at Seymour.
Other Highlanders claiming individual conference titles besides Ottersbach were Terrence Kennedy (106 pounds), Chris Whitley (120), Tre Marler (132), Cory Troutman (138), George Emily (145), Chase Herron (160) and Jackson Randall (182). Teammate Ian Bagwell was the runner-up at 170.
Finishing third for Floyd Central were Sean Brown (113), John Meldrum (152) and Brennan Banet (195). The Highlanders’ Franklin Korte (285) was fifth and teammate Wylie King (126) ended up seventh.
“The guys continue to get better and are wrestling really well as a team,” said Sisson, who got his first tournament victory as Floyd Central’s head coach. “It was a nice win for this group of guys because they have taken their lumps over the past three years.”
Defending HHC champion Jeffersonville wound up fourth in the team standings with 180 points, just 9 1/2 points behind second-place Columbus East.
The Red Devils had two conference champions in senior Jasi Coureur (113) and junior Gavan Jolley-Little (285). Jeff had a pair of second-place finishers in senior Nick Stewart (138) and sophomore Stevie Jones (106).
The Red Devils’ Brandon Spangler (182) finished third, while teammates Oscar DeLeon (132), David Fridley (160) and Daniel Thompson (170) each placed fourth.
Also for Jeff, JoJo DeLeon (120), Xavier Weekley (126), Tyler Fridley (152), Aamil Haleem (195) and Gary Gaines (220) each finished fifth and Freddie Hudson (145) wound up seventh.
“We judge success by the end result, and our wrestlers are placing at or above where they are expected to place at tournaments, so we are pleased with their progress,” said Jeff coach Danny Struck, who mentioned it was the youngest team he had in the HHC meet in seven years.
New Albany ended up sixth as a team with 107 points. Bulldog senior Austin Jamison claimed the 126-pound HHC championship.
New Albany senior Nick Lynch (195) was runner-up, while teammates Ethan Lee (170) and Hunter Castleberry (145) each finished third. Also for the Bulldogs were Bryce Peavler (120) in fourth, Tre Lynch (132) in fifth, Landon Bradford (106) and Romero Bradford (138) in sixth and D Frederick (160), Jacob Clegg (182), Patrick Landrum (220) and Tyler Ward (285) in seventh.
• Pirates place second at SIWC: Charlestown placed second in the Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet last Saturday with 215 1/2 points.
Pirate sophomore Bryant Haynes captured his first SIWC title by winning his 120-pound final with a pin. Teammates Seth McCutchen (171) and Zach Higdon (160) each placed second, while Charlestown’s Luke Woods (106) and Zach Green (182) both were third.
The Pirates’ Artemio Gomez (132) was fourth, while three Charlestown grapplers finished fifth in Tanner Smith (113), Cameron Heil (152) and Esdras Hernandez (195). Also for the Pirates, Cameron Hopson (138), Austin Church (145) and Dakota Stevenson (285) each placed sixth and Jeffery Lopez finished eighth.
New Washington senior Brady Meenach took home the 132-pound title as the Mustangs finished fourth in the team standings with 142 points. Meenach became the first three-time SIWC champion in Mustangs’ history.
New Washington junior Jacob Franklin also had a huge SIWC meet, as he was named the conference’s most outstanding wrestler. Franklin won the 171-pound championship.
The Mustangs’ James Wise (126) ended up second, while teammates Jacob Blackwell (138) and Yancey Crase (145) each finished fourth. Also for New Wash, Dalton Bingham (152) and Gabe Nix (160) both placed sixth and Matt Mosley (106) was seventh.
Providence was 12th with 73 1/2 points. Sophomores Brett Kempf (145) and Matt Hayes (182) led the Pioneers by each finishing second. Providence’s Ethan Oakley (113) and Robbie Logsdon (220) both placed sixth.
Christian Academy finished 13th as a team with 51 1/2 points. Warrior junior Trey Sturdy (138) placed second and teammate Daniel Doty (126) was third.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Jacob Franklin, New Washington
Franklin was named the Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet’s most outstanding wrestler last Saturday at Southwestern. The junior won the 171-pound individual title.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The Highlanders won their first Hoosier Hills Conference championship since 2008 last Saturday at Seymour. They scored 272 points, 82 1/2 more than second-place Columbus East. Floyd Central had eight individual conference champions and nine wrestlers who advanced to the finals.
• TONIGHT: Jeffersonville at New Albany, 6; Evansville North at Floyd Central, 6:30.
• THURSDAY: Christian Academy at Jeff Mini-Classic, 5 p.m.; New Washington at Madison, 6 p.m.
• FRIDAY: Louisville St. Xavier at Floyd Central, 6 p.m.
• SATURDAY: Charlestown at Mid-Southern Conference Championships at Charlestown, 9 a.m.; Providence at New Albany Duals, 9 a.m.; Jeff at Capitol City Classic in Frankfort, Ky., TBA; New Washington at Milan Invitational, 9 a.m.; Christian Academy at North Hardin (Ky.) meet, 8 a.m.