It's state championship weekend for Hoosier state wrestling, and as usual, Mater Dei is expected to compete for titles, after besting both the competition and Coronavirus.
"Everyone wants to see us do our best. So it's helpful to have that heritage behind us," Mater Dei junior Brady Baumann says.
There are few sports traditions in Indiana like Mater Dei high school wrestling. The Wildcats exploits are etched in gold. 12 team state titles and 30 individual state champions adorn their trophy case. And this weekend in Indianapolis, they'll look to add to that tally.
"Just win it all, wrestle as hard as I can and leave everything out there" says Mater Dei senior Blake Boarman.
"When I get to state, I'm going to do the same thing I do in practice," says Mater Dei junior Gabriel Sollars.
"It's just all about consistency," says Baumann. "Just keep doing what I've been doing all season, because it's been working for me, so far."
Another facet that has been working for Mater Dei wrestling this season has been their ability to fend off Coronavirus, especially in a sport that demands up-close-and-personal contact.
"We've just got to make sure to limit our contacts and doing everything right," says Boarman. "Wearing our masks, sanitizing our hands before practice and everything. Being cautious of everything we do outside of the room."
"Really weird," says Sollars. "We didn't have a lot of tournaments that we usually go to. It was different, but we kept the same intentions that we always do."
"It's been different, but the team's come together," says Baumann. "I think we've been doing everything we can to make it as normal of a year as possible. We've been excelling so it's been a good year for us."
And that's putting it mildly. Mater Dei has rolled like an automaton through sectionals, regionals and semi-state, earning team titles in all three, not to mention boasting of five semi-state individual champions. And the banners around school have celebrated that success. However, there's another banner these grapplers have their hearts set on.
"Ever since I was a little kid, you look at that wall and you always want your name to be up there," says Baumann. "It would just be awesome."
"If I were to have my name by Matt Coffman and Blake Maurer, I mean, that would mean quite a bit," says Sollars. "Coach Greg Schaefer. We have a lot of people up there. I mean I don't even compare my name to there's, but that would definitely mean a lot."
The state meet begins with preliminaries Friday morning and continues up until Saturday night's finals.