Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

February 12, 2013

Pirate wrestling pair show bright future

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Evansville — Greensburg’s pair of wrestlers that competed in the Evansville Reitz Semi-State returned to Decatur County with a reason to believe they ended the season on a high note - and that the program is on the rise.

Junior Drew Neisius marked the highest Semi-State placing a Greensburg wrestler occupied in five years, finishing sixth in the 195-pound weight class after competing in four matches.

“Drew had a very solid day,” said Greensburg head coach Matt Cochran.

The junior’s day began with a first-period pin of Edgewood’s Ben Patton. Neisius fell to Kalob Salkill of South Spencer in the ticket round to state.

Neisius (30-11) bounced back and defeated Moises Valenciano of Jasper, then fell to Cesar Guttierrez of Ben Davis. Neisius placed sixth overall, marking the highest finish by a Greensburg wrestler since 2008.

“We’re excited about that,” said Cochran. “It was a good day for Drew. He had an outstanding season. We’re very excited for what Drew can possibly do next year.”

At 113 pounds, freshman Brandon Butz ended his season with a 6-0 loss to Mathew Mastison of Evansville Harrison in the first round

“He had a very good freshman season, and the future is very bright for Brandon,” said Cochran of Butz, who finished with a 24-12 record.

“Brandon wrestled well, also, so we’re very happy with the performances of both of our competitors,” said Cochran.

Cochran looked back fondly at the season.

“Our team made good strides this year,” he said. “We went through a rough patch in December, but in the second half of the season, we wrestled real well and we accomplished some things that haven’t been done in a while.”

Most of the wrestlers will be returning next season. Greensburg loses just three seniors - John Cook, Justin Dance and Chaz Smiley.

“The future is very bright for the upcoming season,” said Cochran. “Guys are looking forward to getting into our offseason program to get better.”

Judging by how bright that future actually looks, it won’t be long before discussions about chasing Greensburg state history begin.

Neisius’ sixth-place finish at Semi-State conjured recent memories of Greensburg’s previous success at the elite level. Other state qualifiers were Michael Pittman at 145 pounds for fourth place in 2007; Kyle Pittman’s fourth-place finish at 130 pounds in 2005, Tom Horan’s second-place finish (145) in 1987, and second-place Steve Butz (138) in 1985.

At the top are Greensburg’s state champions - Stan Goodman at 112 pounds in 1974 and Mike Wenning at 98 pounds in 1976.

Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.