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  • Val T.

Day 2 state wrestling recap: Brant Beck takes 3rd, Brady Beck 5th

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


Rochester sophomore Brant Beck, third from the right, stands on the podium after finishing in third place at 165 pounds at the IHSAA state finals at the Ford Center in Evansville Saturday. Beck went 3-1 for the finals and finished the season 46-2. Beck, a state qualifier in 2023 at 160 pounds, is a state placer for the first time. (photo provided by Paul Deming)



Rochester senior Brady Beck, second from the right, stands on the podium after finishing in fifth place at heavyweight at the IHSAA state finals at the Ford Center in Evansville Saturday. Beck also placed sixth at 220 pounds in 2022 and seventh at 220 in 2023, becoming the second wrestler in school history to place at the state finals three times. (photo provided by Paul Deming)


EVANSVILLE — The emotion of it all got to Brady Beck in the end – of what had just happened, of what could have happened and the sudden ending of it all.

Beck walked off the mat for the final time in his high school wrestling career at the IHSAA state finals at the Ford Center.

On one hand, he won his final match, beating Bluffton’s Juan Cruz 3-0 for fifth place. But how close he came to winning a state championship will be a great what-if.

Meanwhile, teammate Brant Beck finished in third place at 165. Brant Beck followed a heart-stopping 4-3 triumph over Bloomington South’s Evan Roudebush in the quarterfinals with a 13-5 loss to Warren Central’s Waylon Cressell in the semifinals. He then defeated Crown Point’s Anthony Rinehart by injury default in the third-place match.

Like his younger brother, Beck went 3-1 over the weekend. His lone loss was a grueling 2-1 overtime battle to eventual state champion Nate Johnson from Center Grove in the quarterfinals. 

Johnson went on to win the state title.

After losing to Johnson, Beck beat Heritage Hills’ Hayden Smith 5-3 in overtime before getting a reversal and an escape and beating Cruz.

Brady Beck could not get an escape from the bottom position against Johnson in the overtime. 

“You know, I’m not really sure,” Brady said. “I’ve been having a problem with getting tired the past two weeks. In practice, it’s all good. I think it’s just nerves getting up here, being that tired in triple overtime. It just takes a lot, and I wasn’t ready for it.”

He also suffered an ankle injury against Johnson and received medical attention from the on-site trainers.

“It’s the same thing that happened before team state (in January),” Brady said. “I just rolled it to the outside and stepped wrong. It’s still bruised, but I had the brace, so that kept me in the match for the meantime at least, and I had it taped the last two, so it feels a little better, but it still hurts.”

Had Brady beaten Johnson, his next match would have been against Plymouth’s Anthony Popi, whom Brady has already beaten three times this year. And with top-ranked Paul Clark of Crown Point having lost to DeKalb’s James Hartleroad in the first round Friday, the top half of the bracket seemed wide open.

Brady was asked if the Johnson match was his state championship match.

“Yeah, I 100% believe that, and I knew that going in,” Brady said. “Obviously, (losing) 2-1 sucks. I think obviously if I don’t have to take that injury time and keep him on his feet, I may have a shot there, but yeah, that was the match to win to get into that, in my opinion.”

Johnson then got his escape in the final overtime period to take a 2-1 lead, and Brady Beck could not get a takedown.

The dream of a state title was over.

“If I’m being honest, I think pressure got to him,” Rochester coach Clint Gard said. “Nerves and the pressure, you can call it what you want. To me, it’s the same thing. I just think that the moment got to him a little bit. If we wrestle that kid 10 times, I still think we’d have beaten him seven or eight times. We’re a better wrestler than he is. I think the moment just got to him a little bit. He shut down. They’re not a whole lot of guys in Indiana that hold Brady Beck down. I’m not sure anybody did this year. We reversed Paul Clark last week at semistate. So I think who helped Brady down was Brady. And that cost you the match. It happens.”

Against Smith, Brady led 3-0 but saw Smith get an escape and a takedown in the third period to tie the match.

But in the overtime, he scored the winning takedown. Brady started a low ankle shot, but officials blew the whistle for a caution. Gard instructed Brady to try the move again. A similar move had worked against Clark at the semistate a week earlier.

“Low ankle,” Brady explained. “Heavyweights don’t move their feet as much as the lighter guys do. I’m confident hitting it, so that’s what I went to.”

Brady then beat Cruz, the Fort Wayne semistate champ who was undefeated going into the state finals. He got an escape in the second period and stalling penalty point in the third period.

“That kid’s giant,” Brady said. “He’s huge, super strong, a real big kid. So that was a little intimidating at first, but I knew if I kept my feet moving, that I was OK. Obviously, trying to get him on my feet, but his hips are double mine, so obviously, it came to top and bottom.”

With his win over Leo’s Isaiah Coolman in the first round Friday, Brady Beck joined 1994 grad Damon Hummel as the only Rochester wrestler to place at state three times.

Brady Beck was also sixth at 220 in 2022 and seventh at 220 in 2023.

His career total of 164 wins ranks No. 1 in program history. Afterwards, Brady said he has no future plans to wrestle. He plans to learn the heating, ventilation and air conditioning trade and start his own HVAC business after graduating.

He also said he wants to get into coaching. It was an emotional farewell to the sport, especially recalling his leadership role and watching other wrestlers improve.

“I’m not a big fan of school,” Brady said. “I don’t want to keep going. Obviously, coaching is in my future. I think it’s time to hang up the singlet.”

Brady was Marshall Fishback’s training partner during Fishback’s run to the state title in 2022.

“He showed me it was possible,” Brady said. “I couldn’t do it, but he showed a lot of other people it was possible too, and I hope that Brant sees that and Layne (Horn) and even Declan (Gard) and Grant (Holloway), so they can get that done in the next couple years.”

“It was nice to see him go out wrestling the way I think Brady’s capable of wrestling,” coach Gard said. “Winning the final match of your career, and doing it with some good wrestling that got you there in the first place, so I’m proud of him for that.”

Brant Beck trailed 3-1 in the third period against Roudebush before the backtracking Roudebush was hit with a stalling penalty point.  Brant was within 3-2.

Brant said that Roudebush was “big and strong and just wants to stay there and hold you tight.” He said the key was to open up and keep moving his feet, shot fakes and shot recognition.

With time bleeding away, Brant finally got a hold of Roudebush and got on top of him just before time expired. The official raised two fingers in the air – the buzzer-beater takedown counted.

“Just being dedicated, wanting to win, having the fire to go get it,” Brant said of his victory. “I knew I was down with not very much time left, and I knew I just had to go and get it.”

Said coach Gard: “We were certainly in better shape. He certainly had a game plan versus Brant. We just gave up that takedown, but then we were able to battle back pushing the pace, and Brant did a real nice job of getting the kid off-balance and getting him hopping on one foot and throwing him to his back.”

It was on to the semifinals against Cressell, a state championship in North Dakota last year as a freshman.

Stylistically similar to Brant, he relied on pushing the pace and top hand-fighting skills to repeatedly take down Brant. All five of Brant’s points came on escapes that Cressell gave him just so he could take him down again.

“Waylon’s a very good hand fighter, and I got caught halfway through that match really studying Waylon and trying to figure out what he was doing,” coach Gard said. “Brant did OK, but when you’re not used to that and you’re not as skilled in that hand fighting as he was, it’s hard to keep up, and that’s just where we ended up.”

The match against Rinehart was a rematch of their semistate title match at East Chicago one week earlier but turned out anticlimactic when Rinehart suffered an apparent serious right knee injury and had to be helped off the mat.

“I didn’t want to win like that,” Brant said. “I wanted to get it back in a full match between us battling through and seeing if I could come out on top with a full match. But it’s pretty disappointing. I feel bad, but I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just his knee got twisted up.”

“Brant had a good day,” coach Gard said. “You come here, and you’re 3-1 against some of the best competition in the state. We’ve got a little bit of a gap we’ve got to close with the Cressell kid. … We’re going to have to do some work this offseason. I know he’s playing baseball, but he’s going to have to figure out a way to get some wrestling in because we’ve got to close that gap.”

IHSAA wrestling state finals (top 10 teams): 1. Brownsburg 124.5, 2. Center Grove 121.5, 3. Crown Point 121, 4. Warren Central 71, 5. Avon 52, 6. Evansville Mater Dei 50, 7. Floyd Central 42, 8. Indianapolis Roncalli 39.5, 9. Indianapolis Cathedral 39, 10. Delta 32.5, 21. Rochester 23

Rochester individual results

106 – Grant Holloway – did not place

lost to Jensen Boyd (Delta), technical fall (23-8), 3:35

126 – Layne Horn – did not place

lost to Cody Rowles (Jay County), 9-5

165 – Brant Beck – third

def. Cody Abbott (Cowan), 5-1

def. Evan Roudebush (Bloomington South), 4-3

lost to Waylon Cressell (Warren Central), 13-5

def. Anthony Rinehart (Crown Point), injury default, 0:53

215 – Alex Deming – did not place

lost to Jackson Weingart (Indianapolis Cathedral), 3-2

HWT – Brady Beck – fifth

def. Isaiah Coolman (Leo), 7-3

lost to Nate Johnson (Center Grove), 2-1 (tiebreaker OT)

def. Hayden Smith (Heritage Hills), 5-3 (sudden victory OT)

def. Juan Cruz (Bluffton), 3-0

IHSAA state champions

106 – Peyton Schoettle (Indianapolis Roncalli), 113 – Revin Dickman (Brownsburg), 120 – Charlie LaRocca (Center Grove), 126 – Luke Rioux (Avon), 132 – Jake Hockaday (Brownsburg), 138 – Kyrel Leavell (Warren Central), 144 – Easton Doster (New Haven), 150 – Wyatt Krejsa (Center Grove), 157 – Mitchell Betz (Western), 165 – Wyatt Cressell (Warren Central), 175 – Chase Leech (Garrett), 190 – Noah Weaver (Rossville), 215 – Will Clark (Crown Point), HWT – Nate Johnson (Center Grove)


LEFT: Brant Beck is declared the winner of a match at the IHSAA state finals in Evansville Saturday. Beck finished third at 165 pounds, joining Damon Hummel, Cory Fornal and Marshall Fishback as Rochester wrestlers to finish in the top three in their weight class at state. (photo provided by Paul Deming)

Center Top: Rochester senior Brady Beck covers Heritage Hills’ Hayden Smith from the top position during their match at the IHSAA state finals in Evansville Saturday. Beck won 5-3 in sudden victory overtime and would eventually finish in fifth place. (photo provided by Paul Deming)

Center Bottom: Rochester’s Brant Beck grapples for wrist and neck control with Bloomington South’s Evan Roudebush during their quarterfinal match at the IHSAA state finals in Evansville Saturday. Beck, ranked No. 5, won 4-3 over the third-ranked Roudebush on a takedown in the final second to advance to the semifinals. (photo provided by Paul Deming)

Right: Rochester’s Brady Beck wrestles at the IHSAA state finals in Evansville Saturday. Beck finished fifth at heavyweight. He went 7-5 in 12 career matches at the state finals, and he finished his high school career with a school record 164 wins. He said after the finals that his wrestling career is over. (photo provided by Paul Deming)


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