Cathedral Wrestling Team Takes Home State Championship
Writer: Lynda Hedberg Thies
Photographer: Hannah Tuttle, Cathedral Yearbook Staff
For the second time in five seasons, the Cathedral High School Irish Wrestling Team won the state title. Since their first state title in 2014, the Irish have come close to victory placing no less than third in the state. The commitment of every wrestler to achieve their goals put in motion the victory before they ever stepped foot in Bankers Life Fieldhouse to claim the title on February 17 at the 80th IHSAA Wrestling State Finals.
The Irish built this state championship from every individual goal that was set, every required and extra workout when no one was looking, their intention at practice and the collective vision they had as a team. That is when the “Luck of the Irish” met opportunity.
While the Irish clearly had the depth and one of the strongest teams in the state, victory was not guaranteed even though they positioned themselves well. The Irish led with five semi-state champions and had 10 wrestlers qualify for the state championship. This was the most of any of the 104 schools participating in the tournament. Brownsburg, the defending first-time, state champion had seven qualify for the state tournament and had four semi-state champions, so the path to victory for the Irish was not a guarantee.
Cathedral Head Wresting Coach Sean McGinley knew even with having the most wrestlers qualify, that there was a chance that they could wrestle well but still just might not be enough.
Having been close many times in his 18-year coaching career, McGinley knew that everyone would have to give their best to make victory a certainty.
“The only way we could win was a total team effort. Fortunately, we wrestled extremely well and won the title. Perhaps better than anyone expected,” McGinley says.
Cathedral junior Jordan Slivka won the individual state title at 145 pounds, and the team effort was aided by six more top eight finishers: sophomore Logan Bailey, junior Lukasz Walendzak, junior Alex Mosconi, senior Zack Melloh, sophomore Elliot Rodgers and senior Jacob Obst. Sophomore Caleb Oliver also made the state meet for Cathedral, as did freshman Andrew Wilson and senior Anthony Mosconi.
“I credit the five seniors for providing the leadership and for keeping the team going when the pressure got to them,” McGinley says when reflecting on what the senior leadership meant to the team. “They got this team mentally where they needed to be and that is such a tribute to those guys.”
For senior and team co-captain, Zach Melloh, winning a team state championship meant more to him than achieving an individual state championship.
“Winning the state championship was something I will never forget and will always cherish. It was really cool to be part of a team of so many talented wrestlers,” says Melloh, who will wrestle for Purdue University next year.
The seniors’ record over the four years included this state championship, state championship runner-up and two years at third place.
“When I think about all this senior class has accomplished, it is just very impressive, and I could not be happier that this group achieved a state title,” McGinley says.
As the Head Coach for 18 years, McGinley, has had quite an impressive run leading the program to 18 City Championships, 12 Sectional Team Championships, 10 Regional Team Championships and a State Runner-Up. Cathedral’s first state championship was also credited to McGinley and his staff in 2014. His confidence in the program is evident.
As the Irish look to the future, McGinley reflects on this year’s state victory. The Irish won the state title with 108 points, 7.5 points ahead of Brownsburg and 9.5 ahead of Columbus East.
“I am very optimistic about next year because we have the wrestlers that earned 85 of those state victory points returning next year,” McGinley says.