INDIANAPOLIS – Warsaw wrestler Kyle Hatch had hoped to place higher at the State Finals than his father Dan had during his high school career.
The WCHS standout at least equaled his accomplishment Saturday as the State Finals concluded at Banker Life Fieldhouse.
Freshman Hatch, despite a rough final day in the two-day event, reached the podium with an eighth-place finish in the 106-pound class.
Hatch’s father Dan, who is an assistant coach for the Tiger program, placed eighth at State himself in 1992 at 140 pounds for WCHS.
The younger Hatch, who rallied in the final seconds Friday night for a thrilling … win in his first-round match to reach the final eight, went 0-3 Saturday. He concluded his season by losing in a fall in 2:03 to Columbia City sophomore Hunter Langeloh.
“Overall, it was a success for Kyle this weekend,” said Warsaw coach Justin Smith in a phone interview Saturday night. “Anytime you can place in the top eight that’s quite an accomplishment. To medal is a special thing.”
Hatch lost in the quarterfinals Saturday morning by a 6-2 count to New Palestine freshman Alec White. He then lost a 16-4 major decision to Will Egli, a freshman from Evansville Mater Dei before the final loss to Langeloh.
“In his first match of the day, Kyle struggled with his offense,” Smith said. “We then knew it was going to be tough against the Mater Dei kid.”
“It’s hard right now for Kyle to see the value in placing eighth, but once it all sinks in he’ll be happy with what he accomplished.”
Hatch, who entered the State Finals as a No. 4 seed, beat top-seeded Lukas Long of Lakeland 13-12 Friday night. Hatch trailed Long by six points with just 18 seconds left in the first-round match and got the winning points on a takedown with only two ticks left on the clock.
Smith says the whole experience of being at State as a freshman bodes well for Hatch.
“Kyle got a lot of great experience this weekend and learned what the tournament is all about,” remarked Smith. “I think this will just be fuel for his next campaign.
“Kyle has the right mindset. He knows that after a little time off that he needs to get back to work. The sky’s the limit for him in the future.”