INDIANAPOLIS — East Noble junior wrestler Aidan Sprague placed sixth at 120 pounds in the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Sprague, ranked sixth in the indianamat.com rankings, placed at state for the second straight year. He was sixth at 113 last year.
“It just hurts,” Sprague said. “It sucks and it will light a fire in me even more.
“Last year, I was complacent. I was happy to finish sixth before I even wrestled,” he continued. “My hand-fighting could’ve been better. I need to get stronger. I can get better in a lot of areas.
“But at the end of the day, we had a season. And that’s something to be grateful for.”
Sprague lost in the quarterfinals to Crown Point sophomore Logan Frazier 9-1, but bounced back by pinning Westfield junior Braxton Vest in 3 minutes, 23 seconds in the first consolation match.
Frazier (34-4) went on to be the state runner-up Saturday night, losing to Chesterton sophomore Sergio Lemley 3-2 in the state championship match.
Sprague lost to Evansville Mater Dei senior Cole Ross 6-5 in a rematch of last year’s fifth-place match at 113. Ross won a 16-3 major decision over Sprague last year.
There was something different about this sixth-place finish to Sprague and Knights coach Sam Riesen. Sprague finished the season with a 31-3 record.
“The two losses were hard-fought matches and he was above the class of the kid he beat,” Riesen said of Sprague’s Saturday.
“Aidan really had a great weekend,” he continued. “So much of it for him is mentality. He turned the corner mentally where he can compete with everybody in the state.
“To place sixth in the state is unbelievable. He keeps improving and he’s on the precipice of getting to the finals, which is his ultimate goal.”