Winning a IHSAA state wrestling championship is a dream for every Portage wrestler. Senior Kris Rumph and junior Jake Moran won their first state championship this past February at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Only 16 of the very best make it to this prestigious competition with hundreds not making it every week. Last year, Rumph got a chance to wrestle at 138 under the spotlight against Hobart’s Brendan Black and took a 10-2 loss.
“Last year under the lights my emotions were wild, it got the best of me,” said Rumph, “But this year I was use to being under the lights and I controlled my emotions, wrestled tough and smart and won my first state title!” Rumph said the feeling of winning state is great and exciting. Rumph won against Zach Melloh of Indianapolis Cathedral, 9-6. He is also undecided on which college he will attend and wrestle at.
Moran also won state at 106 after not being able to wrestle last year due to ineligibility reasons.
“Being under the lights were really something special and nerves were going through my mind,” said Moran, “But I knew I had prepared right so everything would fall into place.” Moran won against Alexzander Cottey of Perry Meridian, 9-1.
Rumph started wrestling in 6th grade, took 7th and 8th grade off, then started back up in 9th grade and became varsity his sophomore year. Moran started wrestling when he was four years old and it took off in 8th grade when he stopped playing baseball. The whole team and coaches inspire both Rumph and Moran.
9 Portage wrestlers made it to the state tournament this year, which broke the school record. Ones who fell one match short of placing, but helped in breaking the school record include Ricky Hedegus (113), Drake Guerrero (170), Jeremy Torres (182), and Colin Poynter (126) who had a heartbreaking injury loss which resulted in a concussion.
“When Colin got hurt I was worried but I knew he’d be alright,” said Rumph,
“I couldn’t let that affect my emotions or my matches.” Rumph said he wrestled hard and won his first state title for Poynter.
Other placers include junior Brock Peele 7th at 120, senior Kasper McIntosh 6th at 145, and junior DJ Washington 5th at 152. The individual performances brought Portage back home with a fourth place finish with 67.5 points falling to Columbus East (98.5), Brownsburg (100.5), and the team champion Indianapolis Cathedral (108).