Owls wrestlers looking to punch state ticket


Seymour High School’s wrestling team has a mantra.

Each time the grapplers break a huddle at the end of a run, weightlifting session or practice, they make it known three times.

“No magic,” one of the boys belts.

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“Hard work,” the group responds.

During the past five years, Owls coach Todd Weaver has preached to his wrestlers to work by that slogan.

“It has been that way since I got here. It stuck,” Weaver said of the chant. “I think one thing we’ve tried to do is try and turn up the level of intensity — not just in a match, but in practices. We tell our kids this all the time: Everybody thinks they work hard, but nobody works as hard as they think they do. So there’s always another level you can get to, and that’s what you need to strive to do.”

The Owls’ program has seen the benefits of putting in the time on and off the mats.

Those long, tough days have amounted to recent successes.

This past Saturday, the Owls advanced seven wrestlers — a school record — to the semistate while also finishing runner-up at the Jeffersonville Regional. The second-place finish was the best for the Owls’ program in a regional since 1980.

Isaiah Pichardo (106 pounds), Owen Chandler (113), Jake Kriete (152), Zack Newton (160), Alejandro Sachinas (182), Kevin Corrales (195) and Gabe Ramirez (285) will all rep the purple and white at Ford Center in Evansville this weekend.

The Owls had one champion (Pichardo), two runners-up and four third-place finishes at the regional.

“It means a lot,” Ramirez said. “It’s the most that we’ve sent to semistate. Everyone has been excited. It’s all you’ve been hearing about around school. Everyone is getting hyped about it. It’s an amazing feeling.”

The semistate draws came out Sunday, and the Owls’ coaches have been hard at work getting to know the upcoming matchups.

“Some of them we know, and others we don’t,” Weaver said.

“The ones that we don’t, on Sunday night, I had people calling me trying to get information for their kid. I’m doing the same thing. If you don’t have information already, you try to find it somewhere.

“We spent Sunday and part of Monday getting that info. We pretty much know just about everybody. We’re not going to tell our kids to watch out for this or that. We want to know if an (opposing) kid is going to try and hold position, have a high rate of attack or do we need to slow down or speed up a match? We want to control the pace of a match.”

Newton, a senior, is the only Seymour wrestler who has competed at the semistate level.

“I’ve told the other guys to just be ready and not to look at like the season’s close to an end,” Newton said. “You need to look at it like you need to keep moving.”

Having so many teammates going to the semistate is special for Newton.

“It’s great,” Newton said. “I could tell over the past four years I’ve been wrestling that the team gets better every year. It feels good to be a part of something that’s developing, something that’s getting greater and greater.”

While most all of the Owls’ wrestlers haven’t competed in semistate, they know what the atmosphere will be like.

“They do this thing called freshman-sophomore state,” Kriete said. “If you went last year, you know where to be, what you’re doing and how you’re supposed to wrestle, what the competition is like.

“It’s grueling. It’s a grueling sport. You put your body through a whole lot. You need to make sure you’re ready.”

In order to advance, wrestlers need to place in the top four of their weight classes. Wrestlers will have no choice but to win their first two matches or be eliminated.

Weaver said he doesn’t want to focus on this past Saturday but the next task at hand.

“Saturday was a great day, and we’re going to try and build off that momentum,” Weaver said. “We’re not going to sit and dwell on what we did Saturday. We’ve got another goal this weekend. It has been a while (2007) since Seymour has had guys in the state tournament. We’re going to figure out ways to get guys into the state tournament.

“Routine is good. It takes away some of that anxiety. Kids try to think about how big this weekend is. When it comes down to it, it’s another six-minute match. You need to have that mindset.”

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Who: Seymour High School Wrestling

What: 2018 Evansville Reitz Semistate

When: 9 a.m. Central Time Saturday

Where: Ford Center, 1 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Evansville

Admission: $8

Full brackets: www.trackwrestling.com


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