By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS —
If there is one word to describe Terrence Kennedy’s wrestling season at Floyd Central, it would be stellar.
Kennedy posted a 39-2 record during the 2012-13 campaign as a 106-pound wrestler, finishing the regular season as the fourth-ranked wrestler in the state.
Kennedy captured three significant individual titles during the regular season. He won the 106-pound division at the Hoosier Hills Conference meet and the Old Capital Classic in Corydon.
Last December, Kennedy claimed the 106-pound title at the prestigious Mater Dei Classic in Evansville as the senior became just the second grappler in Floyd Central wrestling history to win two Mater Dei titles in his high school career. The other Highlander to achieve that was one of the best Floyd wrestlers in history — two-time state champion Cooper Samuels.
Kennedy carried his regular-season momentum into the postseason. He won sectional and regional titles at 106 pounds, followed by finishing third at the Evansville Reitz Semistate. His semistate showing qualified him for the IHSAA State Finals for the second time in his career.
Those accomplishments have earned Kennedy this season’s News and Tribune Area Wrestler of the Year award.
“It feels pretty good. I didn’t expect to win Area Wrestler of the Year,” Kennedy said in a recent phone interview. “I did good this season, but I could’ve done better. I have room to improve when I wrestle in college.”
Floyd Central coach Brandon Sisson thinks no one deserves the Wrestler of the Year honor more than Kennedy.
“He proved he was pretty good all season long,” Sisson said. “I thought he really had a successful season. It probably didn’t end the way he wanted to, but he beat a lot of ranked kids. He was consistent all year long.”
Unfortunately, Kennedy’s season ended on a sour note.
On Feb. 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Kennedy lost to Penn freshman Drew Hildebrandt in the first round of the IHSAA State Finals by a 2-1 decision.
It was not Kennedy’s night as he suffered leg cramps during the middle of the match and could not recover. He was hoping to redeem himself at the state finals after he lost his opening-round match in the 103-pound division during the 2011 state meet as a sophomore.
“It was kind of a weird match,” Sisson said. “He cramped up during the middle of the match, and he couldn’t get into a rhythm. I don’t want to make any excuses, but when you start cramping up, it’s tough to get into a rhythm.”
Kennedy is confident that if he did not have the leg cramps, he would have brought back some hardware to the Knobs.
“If I didn’t cramp up, I would’ve won that match and placed in the top eight,” Kennedy said. “I’m proud that I got to go to state again. I just fell short. I was cramping up so bad that I couldn’t run my offense.”
Kennedy says he wants to wrestle in college “very bad.” But he has hardly gotten any offers from schools to compete at the next level. Sisson says Kennedy will most likely wrestle at either a junior college or an NAIA school. Kennedy is trying to get noticed by collegiate teams by competing in a few recent All-Star meets.
Sisson says without question, Kennedy has the tools to wrestle in college.
“He can improve when he moves onto college,” Kennedy said. “He has the athletic ability for sure to compete in a collegiate wrestling room.”
Kennedy says he will miss being around his teammates and coaches at Floyd Central.
“I will miss the people on the wrestling team the most. We’re like a big family,” Kennedy said.
Sisson says he will miss the positive attitude Kennedy brought to practice and meets throughout the senior’s four-year career.
“He was a fun kid to be around,” Sisson said. “He has a great smile and he’s a genuinely happy kid most of the time. He did what I asked him to do. He’s a very coachable kid.”
As for Kennedy’s legacy at Floyd Central, Sisson thinks he left his mark within the Highlander wrestling program.
“Floyd Central has had a long, long line of great wrestlers, and he’s definitely one of the top ones to not make All-State,” Sisson said. “He’s one of the better ones we’ve had.”
ALL-AREA WRESTLING TEAM
Terrence Kennedy, Sr., 106, Floyd Central (Area Wrestler of the Year)
Hunter Castleberry, So., 145, New Albany
Jasi Coureur, Sr., 113, Jeffersonville
Jacob Franklin, Jr., 160, New Washington
Matthew Hayes, So., 182, Providence
Chase Herron, Jr., 160, Floyd Central
Austin Jamison, Sr., 126, New Albany
Gavan Jolley-Little, Jr., 285, Jeffersonville
Ethan Lee, Sr., 170, New Albany
Brady Meenach, Sr., 138, New Washington
John Meldrum, Sr., 152, Floyd Central
Nick Ottersbach, Sr., 220, Floyd Central
Cory Troutman, Jr., 138, Floyd Central
Chris Whitley, Sr., 120, Floyd Central
Brian Arnold, Jr., 220, Eastern
Ian Bagwell, Sr., 170, Floyd Central
Brennan Banet, Sr., 195, Floyd Central
Yancey Crase, Jr., 145, New Washington
Oscar DeLeon, Sr., 132, Jeffersonville
George Emily, Sr., 145, Floyd Central
David Fridley, Jr., 160, Jeffersonville
Bryant Haynes, So., 120, Charlestown
Nick Lynch, Sr., 195, New Albany
Bryce Peavler, Jr., 120, New Albany
Jackson Randall, Sr., 182, Floyd Central
Brandon Spangler, Jr., 182, Jeffersonville
Austin Ward, Jr., 126, Floyd Central
Luke Woods, Jr., 106, Charlestown
Brayton Brading, Jr., 152, Eastern
Sean Brown, Fr., 113, Floyd Central
Zach Green, Sr., 195, Charlestown
Stevie Jones, So., 106, Jeffersonville
Brett Kempf, So., 145, Providence
Tre Marler, Sr., 132, Floyd Central
Seth McCutchen, Sr., 182, Charlestown
Kolton Popp, Sr., 132, Floyd Central
James Searcy, Sr., 285, New Albany
Luke Terry, Sr., 170, Eastern
Daniel Thompson, Sr., 170, Jeffersonville
James Wise, Fr., 126, New Washington