The present remained strong, and the future remained bright.
That was the story of Cathedral High School 2021-2022 wrestling, a season in which one Irish wrestler further established himself among the best in program history – and one in which others maximized their potential.
As Irish wrestling coach Sean McGinley saw it, that made ’21-22 successful.
And memorable, too.
“We’re proud of this season,” McGinley said.
Senior Zeke Seltzer won a third consecutive state championship and senior Evan Dickey turned in a second consecutive Top 3 state finish, helping a deep Irish team to a fifth-place finish at the ‘22 Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse February 18-19.
Senior JJ Braun finished seventh at the state at 170 pounds, with sophomore Jackson Weingart finishing seventh in the state at 220 pounds and sophomore Hosia Smith finishing fifth in the state at 285 pounds.
“All in all, I thought the kids did the best they could,” McGinley said. “They all won their last round in the state tournament, which is nice.”
The Irish (58.5 points) finished behind Crown Point (178), Brownsburg (105), Evansville Mater Dei (93) and Center Grove (65).
Seltzer (43-1 as a senior) won the state title at 132 pounds with a 10-5 decision over Crown Point junior Anthony Bahl. Seltzer won sectional, regional and semistate titles as a senior after winning the 120-pound state title as a sophomore and the 126-pound state title as a junior.
“It’s somebody we could rely on,” McGinley said. “He’s a guy you could move around a little. He’s been that big gun ever since he walked in. Sometimes, it takes a year or two before a guy comes into his own and is considered a premier wrestler in the state of Indiana.
“He walked in as one of the best and proved it year in year out, match after match.”
Dickey (40-2) made the state tournament at 113 pounds, finishing third with a 7-3 decision over senior Johnny Cortez of Lake Central. Dickey lost in the state semifinal to state champion and unbeaten junior Ashton Jackson of LaPorte in a 3-1 decision.
Dickey won sectional, regional and semistate titles after finishing second in the state at 106 pounds as a junior.
“He’s somebody special,” McGinley said of Dickey. “The whole coaching staff truly thinks highly of him on and off the mat. He’s just a super student athlete. I can’t say enough about him. I get a little teary-eyed thinking about him and how much he means to the program.
“He gives everything he has when he practices, when he competes. When you talk to him, he’s all in. He soaks everything in. You couldn’t ask anything more from the kid.”
The Irish won the Arsenal Technical sectional with 323 points ahead of runner-up North Central with 184.5. They won the Pendleton Heights regional with 233.5 points ahead of runner-up Hamilton Heights with 93, then won the Perry Meridian semistate with 142.5 points ahead of runner-up Roncalli with 117.5.
A look at Irish ’22 wrestling:
*Sophomore Gavin Bragg (28-12) made the semi-state at 106 pounds, then lost to Southport senior Nathan Smith in a 9-2 decision in the second round. Bragg won sectional and finished as regional runner-up.
*Junior Aden Reyes (31-10) made the state tournament at 120 pounds, losing in the first round to sophomore Hayden DeMarco of Chesterton in a fall at 4:51. Reyes won sectional and regional titles, then advanced to the state tournament with a fourth-place finish at semistate.
*Junior Josh Johnson (31-7) made the semistate at 126 pounds, then lost to Fishers junior Griffin Ingalis 7-5 in the second round. Johnson won sectional and regional titles.
*Senior Luke Gonzalez (32-8) made the state tournament at 138 pounds, losing in the first round to Delta senior Dillon Tuttle 10-8. Gonzalez won sectional and regional titles and finished third at semistate.
*Sophomore Dillon Graham (29-6) after sectional at 145 pounds. Graham won sectional in a fall over Lawrence North junior Romeo White in 1:35. Graham sustained a broken ankle and did not compete after sectional.
*Junior Jackson Edwards (7-10) made the semistate at 152 pounds, then lost to Roncalli senior Kody Glithero with a fall at 1:27 in the second round. Edwards was the sectional runner-up and finished third at regional.
*Junior Gabe Bragg (18-16) made the semistate at 160 pounds, then lost in the first round to Roncalli junior Andrew Stuck in :49 in a fall. Bragg was the sectional runner-up and finished third at regional.
*Braun (37-9) made the state tournament at 170 pounds, finishing seventh with a 5-2 decision over Norwell senior Eli Johnson. Braun lost in the second round of the state tournament to Greentown Eastern senior Brodie Porter, 11-2. He won sectional, finished as the runner-up at regional and finished as the runner-up at semistate.
*Senior Jake Hasbrook (22-12) made the semistate at 185 pounds, losing in the first round to Connersville junior Orlan Foster in a 9-4 decision. Hasbrook won sectional and finished third at regional.
*Senior Grayson Harvey (22-9) made the semistate tournament at 195 pounds, losing in the first round to Roncalli senior in an 8-4 decision. Harvey won sectional and finished as the runner-up at regional.
*Weingart (30-13) made the state tournament at 220 pounds, finishing seventh with a 4-2 decision over Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran junior Chance Harris. Weingart lost in the second round of the state tournament to Crowne Point sophomore Paul Clark in a fall at 5:36. Weingart won sectional, regional and semistate titles.
*Smith (32-8) made the state tournament at 285 pounds, finishing fifth with a 8-1 decision Elkhart junior Brayden Jellison. Smith lost in the second round of the state tournament in a 3-1 decision to Brownsburg junior Leighton Jones. Smith was the sectional runner-up, won regional and was semistate runner-up.
“The upside of these two individuals is tremendous,” McGinley said of Smith and Weingart. “They’re going to be counted on quite a bit. We hope they can fill the shoes of a Dickey and Seltzer. Those are two big shoes to full, but they have upsides where they can compete for titles their junior and senior years.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who are going to be role models and role players that will make us a pretty tough dual team to beat.”