State placer: Rochester’s Brady Beck
Sophomore caps 42-4 season with 6th-place finish at state
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
INDIANAPOLIS — Rochester sophomore 220-pound wrestler Brady Beck smiled after his 11-1 win over Roncalli’s Justin Lewis in the first round of the IHSAA state finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse Friday.
Lewis might have appeared to be the more impressive physical specimen. Beck even acknowledged so much.
But he was not nearly the wrestler.
Beck repeatedly attacked Lewis’ legs for single-leg takedowns and was even awarded two points for a near-fall late in the second period.
“He looked a little better in a singlet, but that doesn’t really matter,” Beck said.
Beck went 2-2 at the state tournament and finished in sixth place with a 42-4 record. All four of his losses were to fellow state placers.
He lost his quarterfinal match to eventual state champion Christian Carroll of New Prairie by technical fall (15-0) in 3:38, bounced back to beat Fort Wayne Concordia’s Chance Harris 10-0 in the wrestleback round and then lost 4-3 to Adams Central’s Blake Heyerly in the fifth-place match.
Beck is the first Rochester wrestler to be a state placer prior to his senior year since Garrett James took sixth at 125 pounds as a sophomore in 2005.
Beck and eventual state champion Marshall Fishback became the first Zebra teammates to both place at state since James and Cory Fornal did it in 2005.
Carroll, a junior who has verbally committed to the University of Pennsylvania, was ranked No. 1 by IndianaMat.com coming into state.
“You can’t be greedy, but you can’t be timid,” Beck said of his strategy against Carroll.
Gard might have even been more blunt.
“We’re going to come wrestle,” Gard said.
As it turned out, Carroll was a strong presence from the top position, turning Beck four times for near-falls.
Beck refused to back down and even attempted the first shot.
“I was told to wrestle, go out there and give it your all,” Beck said.
In the next round, he shut out Harris, whom he had also beaten 5-2 in the semistate semifinals in Fort Wayne one week earlier. He got an escape and a single-leg takedown and then a two-point near-fall to take a 5-0 lead in the second period.
Another takedown on a bear hug that he turned into a hip toss and an associated near-fall in the third period made it 10-0.
“This time, there were no nerves,” Beck said. “I feel like I wrestled much better this week than I did last week. So it was just getting after it a little quicker than last week.”
Beck then lost to Heyerly for the second time in as many weeks. He vowed to improve his defense after a 10-4 loss to Heyerly in the semistate final one week earlier, and he limited Heyerly to one takedown.
But Heyerly also got two escapes in the second period and hung on to win despite being penalized one point for stalling in the third period.
“I made him pull out a different shot to score, so I think I did pretty well,” Beck said of his rematch with Heyerly. “I defended his double and made him shoot to the outside.”
In his Friday match, Beck said it was his game plan to attack Lewis’ legs.
“I was told he didn’t really have an offense, so I knew I was going to have to score, and obviously, that’s the best way to win,” Beck said.
Said Gard: “Brady was just a better wrestler – bigger, stronger. I think that kid maybe had a shoulder brace on. I think he was hurting a little bit. It seemed like he was. I thought Brady wrestled really well. … The sooner you can score on a guy and kind of break that match open, the quicker you get over your nerves. He did a nice job. We know Brady can wrestle. So he’s going to wrestle guys. He’s not just going to stand there and tie up and hopefully keep it close. That’s not his style of wrestling.”
‘I’ve gained a little bit of muscle’
Beck reflected on his accomplishment afterwards. He lost in the ticket round at semistate in 2021.
He said he was more nervous at semistate this time than he was at state. He said wrestling at state was like “just another match.” He just wanted a better result than sixth place.
“It’s not what we wanted, but we’re here,” Beck said.
Beck also got an up-close look at his daily drill partner, senior heavyweight Marshall Fishback, winning a state championship. Their drills continued up until just a few hours before Fishback took the mat against Westfield’s Mihail Platonov in his state championship match.
“Awesome,” Beck said of Fishback. “I mean, (as his) drill partner, I’ve been with him since he started wrestling. To see it happen is amazing. … It was intense.”
As for himself, Beck credited the work he has done on improving his body.
“Last year, wrestling 220, I looked like a freshman,” Beck said. “The usual freshman 220. This year, I think I look a lot slimmer … and stuff, and obviously, I’ve gained a little bit of muscle.”
Asked if it bothers him if his opponent looks better in a singlet, Beck scoffed.
“No, it’s a usual thing,” Beck said with a smile. “I know I’m a better wrestler.”
Rochester sophomore 220-pound wrestler Brady Beck stands on the podium after finishing in sixth place at the IHSAA state finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Saturday. Beck is the first Rochester sophomore to place at state since Garrett James in 2005.