By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW WASHINGTON —
Brady Meenach has had a solid career as a wrestler for the New Washington High School wrestling team.
During his career, the senior won Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference championships in his sophomore and junior years and has qualified for the Evansville Semi-State three times.
But there is one thing that Meenach, who is competing in the 138-pound division this season, wants to accomplish — qualifying for the IHSAA State Finals.
Meenach has had a great season thus far in trying to reach state as a senior. He has a 28-2 record and earned a third-place finish in his weight class at last month’s Jeff Classic.
But New Washington coach Jeremy Campbell believes Meenach has some work to do if he is going to be a part of the state finals.
“I think that he’s not where he needs to be and I’m sure Brady will agree with that,” Campbell said. “He’s working hard and he still has some goals that he wants to [accomplish], and the only way you get there is with dedication and hard work.
“He has had some success, but he knows he’s not finished yet. He’s pushing himself and his teammates every day in practice.”
On Tuesday, the News and Tribune continued its “On the Spot” series by visiting New Washington to talk with Meenach.
• QUESTION: What have you though about your season so far?
• MEENACH: “I think it’s been a great season. We have a great team this year compared in years past when we’ve had only four or five different wrestlers on the team and there were not many people to challenge you. This year, we have a lot of competitiveness on the team. We have a lot more freshmen and they really push us.”
• Q: Last month, you placed third at the Jeff Classic, one of the biggest tournaments your team competes in during the regular season. It was your best finish ever in that tournament. What did you think of your performance at that meet?
• MEENACH: “It really didn’t fit my goals. But as far as overall wrestling, I think I did fine. It was definitely a learning experience.”
• Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
• MEENACH: “My goals are to be the first one from New Washington to be a three-time conference champion and to get to state.”
• Q: What do you need to do to achieve both of those goals?
• MEENACH: “I feel like I need to adjust my style with my wrestling. I need to push myself harder and I can’t lose confidence. It’s my last year to make it.”
• Q: Being your last year at New Washington, are you feeling a sense of urgency to qualify for state since it is your last opportunity?
• MEENACH: “Definitely — it’s my last chance to make my mark.”
• Q: You have advanced to semi-state the last three years, but you have fell short each time in making it state. Describe how tough the competition is and the intensity level at the semi-state.
• MEENACH: “It’s a completely different [atmosphere] when you go from wrestling the tournaments like we’re used to at New Wash and we’re not wrestling these big [Class] 4A or 5A schools. When we get to semi-state, it’s a completely different world. You have all these fans around you and you just soak in. Everyone there wants to get to state and they’ll do anything to get there. You have to be just as tough against them.”
• Q: What would it mean to you to finally achieve your ultimate goal of making the state finals?
• MEENACH: “That would mean everything to me. It would seem everything that I have worked for would finally go into that.”
• Q: Since you are the lone senior on your team, what have you done this season to be a leader on your team?
• MEENACH: “I try to set an example. When you are a captain, you have all these people looking at you to lead them and help them out with anything they need. I try to keep myself open where they can come up to me if they have questions and I can work with them. I’ve stayed after practice with many of them to help them with the questions they have about their matches. If they just want to spar and get the extra work, I’m always there for them.”
• Q: Are you more of a leader by example or more of a vocal leader?
• MEENACH: “I consider myself more of a vocal leader.”
• Q: Being a vocal leader, is that something you have had to work on throughout your career?
• MEENACH: “All of the years that I’ve wrestled, I’ve always had some kind of leadership position and I’ve never been real aggressive with my voice. I’ve never spoke out to him and I’ve never tried to help anybody unless they came to me. Now, if there is something they need to know, I go ahead and tell them. I’m more aggressive with my words to help them out.”
• Q: What do you think of your chances of taking home another conference championship this coming weekend?
• MEENACH: “I feel real confident. You get out of it what you put into it, and I’m putting everything I have into it.”
• Q: What did you do in the offseason to prepare yourself for this season?
• MEENACH: “I wrestled with Team Jeff [Wrestling Club] and I was part of their team for AAU [season]. I went to different states and wrestled in different tournaments. I did some national tournaments. Mostly, I did a lot of things by myself. I ran, I worked out and I took up different sports to keep in shape.”
• Q: What other sports did you compete in?
• MEENACH: “I got into jiu jitsu and boxing.”
• Q: Jiu jitsu — that sounds interesting. It’s not every day a high school kid competes in that sport. What basically interested you in that?
• MEENACH: “[Jiu jitsu] is a lot like wrestling. It teaches me different things and you see different body movements with it. It helps me slow things down in a wrestling match.”
• Q: Has that helped you with your wrestling this year?
• MEENACH: “I feel like it has. It helps me slow down the match in my head, where I can see different positions and it helps me be more comfortable when I get into dangerous spots.”
• Q: I notice you are wearing a Manchester University T-shirt. Are you planning to go to college and wrestle there next year?
• MEENACH: “Yes.”
• Q: What attracted you to Manchester?
• MEENACH: “It’s a small community like New Wash and I fit in well there, I think.”
• Q: How much do you want to wrestle in college?
• MEENACH: “That’s always been a dream of mine to be able to wrestle in college. I watch them on TV all the time and I always wanted to be just like them.”
CONFERENCE MEETS THIS WEEKEND
The seven Clark-Floyd area wrestling programs will be competing in their respective conference meets on Saturday.
Floyd Central, Jeffersonville and New Albany will participate in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet at Seymour. Charlestown, Christian Academy, New Washington and Providence will wrestle in the Southern Indiana Wrestling Conference meet at Southwestern.
The following is the area seeded wrestlers for the HHC meet:
• FLOYD CENTRAL: 106 — Terrence Kennedy, first; 120 — Chris Whitley, first; 126 — Austin Ward, third; 132 — Tre Marler, first; 138 — Cory Troutman, first; 145 — George Emily, first; 152 — John Meldrum, third; 160 — Chase Herron, first; 170 — Ian Bagwell, second; 182 — Jackson Randall, first; 195 — Brennan Banet, second; 220 — Nick Ottersbach, first.
• JEFFERSONVILLE: 106 — Stevie Jones, second; 113 — Jasi Coureur, first; 120 — JoJo DeLeon, fifth; 126 — Xavier Weekley, sixth; 132 — Oscar DeLeon, fifth; 138 — Nick Stewart, third; 152 — Tyler Fridley, fifth; 160 — David Fridley, fourth; 170 — Daniel Thompson, third; 182 — Brandon Spangler, fifth; 195 — Aamil Haleem, sixth; 220 — Gary Gaines, sixth; 285 — Gavan Jolley-Little, first.
• NEW ALBANY: 106 — Lunden Bradford, sixth; 113 — Damon Dillion, third; 120 — Bryce Peavler, third; 126 — Austin Jamison, first; 132 — Tre Lynch, sixth; 145 — Hunter Castleberry, sixth; 152 — Gage Lewis, sixth; 170 — Ethan Lee, sixth; 195 — Nick Lynch, third; 285 — Wayne Byrd, sixth.
Seeds for the SIWC meet were not available at press time.
NEWS AND NOTES
• Highlanders second at Old Capitol Classic: Last Saturday, Floyd Central wound up second at the Old Capitol Classic in Corydon, finishing five points behind meet champion Zionsville.
Five Highlanders took home individual titles in Kennedy, Marler, Meldrum, Herron and Ottersbach. Finishing second for Floyd Central were Bagwell, Troutman and Michael Kruer, who entered the meet unseeded.
Also for the Highlanders, Lance Youtsey and Sean Brown, who also was unseeded, each finished third, Banet was fourth and Tanner Nifong and Chase Shalosky each placed seventh.
• Jeff goes 1-4 at Franklin: Last Saturday, Jeffersonville went 1-4 in a six-way meet at Franklin. The Red Devils took on some very tough competition, which included the host Grizzly Cubs, perennial Indiana powers Yorktown and Indianapolis Ben Davis and Michigan powerhouse Holt.
Jolley-Little and Coureur each went undefeated during the tournament.
CO-WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
Jeffersonville’s Gavan Jolley-Little and Jasi Coureur
Each wrestler went 5-0 against some tough competition in a six-way meet at Indiana perennial power Franklin last Saturday.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The Highlanders finished a narrow second to Zionsville at the Old Capitol Classic in Corydon last weekend. Five Highlanders collected individual titles.