East Noble Wrestling will send 2 to the 2020 State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis this weekend.
Sophomores – Keegan Malott (106) & Aidan Sprague (113)
Check out the preview by the KPC News Sports Staff:
Keegan Malott, East Noble
Weight class: 106
First-round opponent: Bryce Lowry, 36-0, Roncalli
Malott, a sophomore, is making his first trip to the state finals and doesn’t feel any nervous jitters, yet.
“I’m not really nervous. I think it’s going to be the same as semi-state, but once I get down there, I bet you being in that big arena, I’ll finally get the nerves, but now, I’m just really excited,” Malott said.
He’s received some advice on how to handle the nerves from his teammate Aidan Sprague, who competed in the state finals last year and will be going once again this season, and from his brother Blaine, who was on the East Noble football that went to the state finals this past season.
“(Blaine) has been telling me, ‘Don’t let the big lights, big arena affect you. It’s just a regular match,’” Malott said.
East Noble head coach Sam Riesen thinks both of his state qualifiers will be ready for the big stage, because they’ve shown up in big moments already this season, including in the ticket round last Saturday.
“Keegan was as focused as I’ve seen him all year in that round. He probably wrestled his best match,” Riesen said.
Aidan Sprague, East Noble
Weight class: 113
First- round opponent: Stefan Vitello, 35-10, Valparaiso
The East Noble sophomore makes his second trip to the state finals. He was beaten by technical fall in the first round last year, but he’s learned from that experience.
“Don’t let the nerves get to you, and last year at semi-state, once I made it, I just stopped wrestling and I was comfortable going to state. This year, I set my goals higher so I can’t stop wrestling,” Sprague said.
Sprague called his first-round matchup with Vitello a “gift from the gods.” He’s already faced Vitello once this season. He pinned him in the 113-pound championship match at the Connersville Spartan Classic in December.
Sprague was not pleased with the way he wrestled in last Saturday’s New Haven Semi-State, despite being the runner-up in his bracket. But it’s just another piece of motivation for him to use this week.
“Not everyone knows, but me and my coaches know, what those fans saw Saturday wasn’t the real Aidan Sprague. So now I have another opportunity that really wasn’t me,” Sprague said.