Sean McGinley likes what he sees so far this season.
McGinley, Cathedral High School’s wrestling coach, likes the Irish’s talent in 2021-2022. He likes their potential. He likes how the senior leadership is leading and performing.
He also likes how the team is developing, and he might like that best of all.
“We’re getting better every week,” McGinley said.
McGinley, in his 22nd season as the Irish’s wrestling coach, said that development could serve the Irish well during a season in which the state is loaded with elite programs.
“Our big guns are doing great,” McGinley said. “We just needed some other guys to step up and they’re starting to do that.”
McGinley said the steady improvement also will serve many young individuals well, with the Irish having multiple wrestlers improving – and peaking – as the postseason approaches.
“I’m really pleased with the improvement our younger guys have made throughout the year,” McGinley said. “These younger guys are improving so much. They might not be the big guns this year, but in another year or two years down the road, they will be the guys we’re counting on in the semi-state and state tournament to score some points. You hope they keep getting better and better.”
The Irish won Indiana team state titles in 2014, 2018-2020 and finished fifth in the state in 2021. They were ranked No. 7 in Indiana according to HoosierMat as of January 8, with programs such as Crown Point and Brownsburg ranked in Top 10 nationally and with perennial state power/defending state champion Evansville Mater Dei having been ranked in Top 20 early in the season.
“There are a couple of teams that are exceptional this year,” McGinley said “We’re not that far off our normal level, but there are some other teams that are exceptional this year. We need to try to close that gap.”
The 2022 Irish are led by a core of experienced wrestlers, a group that features two-time Indiana state champion Zeke Seltzer – who has committed to the University of Missouri and who McGinley said will be remembered as one of the top wrestlers in Cathedral history.
Seltzer, who won the 120-pound state title as a sophomore and the 126-pound state title as a junior after finishing second at 106 pounds as a freshman, was ranked No. 1 in Indiana at 132 pounds as of January 8 according to HoosierMat.
A look at other top Irish wrestlers and seniors:
*Evan Dickey (26-1), senior, 113 pounds: Ranked No. 2 in Indiana by HoosierMat. “He’s one of – if not the – hardest workers in the room and a great kid,” McGinley said. “We look forward to him putting the cherry on top of his career here at the end. He’s just an outstanding young man.”
*Aden Reyes (22-7), junior, 120 pounds: Ranked No. 14 by HoosierMat. “I think this is the year he’s going to break through,” McGinley said of the two-time semi-state qualifier. “He’s in a tough weight class, but I would be shocked if he’s not at the state tournament this year.”
*Josh Johnson (23-6), junior, 126 pounds: Ranked No. 11 by HoosierMat, Johnson transferred to Cathedral before this season. “He’s experiencing why kids come to Cathedral to wrestle as far as schedule,” McGinley said. “You’re battling the best guys in the state, week in and week out, but I look for him to get on a roll. He likes the limelight and he’s going to perform come tournament time.”
*Luke Gonzalez (23-5), senior, 138 pounds: Ranked No. 12 by HoosierMat. “He’s been right there at the end at semistate,” McGinley said. “We’re looking forward to him taking that next step, getting on that podium.”
*Dillon Graham (25-6), sophomore, 145 pounds. Ranked No. 11 by HoosierMat. “Dillion is a gamer,” McGinley said. “We look for him to raise his game in the next couple of weeks.”
*JJ Braun, senior (26-5), 170 pounds. Ranked No. 10 by HoosierMat. “He’s a quiet, no-nonsense kid,” McGinley said. “All he does is work and just has a smile on his face.”
*Jake Hasbrook (18-9), senior, 182 pounds, a first-year starter whose family has been crucial to Cathedral wrestling for decades. “He’s one that has improved throughout the year,” McGinley said.
*Grayson Harvey (17-7), senior, 195 pounds and a four-year starter. “We threw him out there as a freshman, and he never complained,” McGinley said of the semi-state qualifier as a junior. “He put the work in. When he does what he knows he can do, he’s pretty good. He’s got a shot at making the state tournament.”
*Jackson Weingart (17-11), sophomore, 220 pounds. “The way he has improved has been dramatic,” McGinley said.
*Hosia Smith (20-5), sophomore, 285 pounds. “Look for him to make some noise at the end of the year,” McGinley said.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who are on the verge,” McGinley said. “They’re excited to be out there. When you come down to the end of the year, you need guys who are excited and who are positive. We have guys who are in that mentality right now. Our practices are going well. We’re starting to get to where were starting to get better and better.
“If you look at us from the beginning of the year, how much we’ve improved; it shows. We’re a totally different team.”