Amongst the loud pump-up music playing in the Seymour wrestling room, varsity coach Todd Weaver can be heard whistling and bellowing instructions.
Three Seymour wrestlers have advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in their careers: Garrett Johnson, Tristan Sitterding and John Shuffitt
One minute passes on the black digital stopwatch, and a new wrestler enters the ring to take on the regional qualifier.
Despite their seasons ending, 15 wrestlers still practice to help their teammates.
“Next,” Weaver yells.
This is how you prepare for the toughest wrestlers in the area. Wrestling fresh opponents when you’re beaten and bruised.
“It raises their level when a fresh guy comes in,” Weaver said. “It makes them able to wrestle harder, longer and able to do stuff when they’re tired. We try to get them tired and make them wrestle. When you’re tired and there is one minute to go, that is when you win or lose a match. You have to find a way to do it when you’re tired.”
Last weekend, Johnson placed third at sectional following an 8-3 victory against Scottsburg’s Alex Sexton and a 10-7 win against Columbus East’s Stuart Bryan in the wrestle-back round.
Johnson, a junior, places high expectations on himself on the mat.
“I need to score and keep scoring,” Johnson said of preparing for regional. “I feel like I should have done better last year. I feel like I should have finished higher than third at sectional this year.”
Saturday, Johnson (21-7) will go up against Floyd Central’s Sean Brown (22-6) in the 132-pound weight class.
In his senior year, Sitterding had one word to describe his feelings on making regional: finally.
The 170-pounder qualified with a fourth-place finish last weekend.
After losing to Scottsburg’s Zack Adams 3-0, Sitterding won twice in wrestle-backs to get to the third-place match.
Next, Sitterding (18-14) will face No. 1 seed Idris Frederick of New Albany.
“I’ve been working hard for it,” Sitterding said. “Frederick won at conference, so he’s a pretty good wrestler. I just need to keep moving and stay off my knees. I just expect to go out and give the kid a match. Hopefully, take it and upset a No. 1 seed.”
Shuffitt, a sophomore, feels that he’s peaking right at the postseason.
At sectional, Shuffitt got through the first round with a bye before losing a pair of close decisions to Columbus East’s Jake Martindale.
Shuffitt, a 126-pounder, still made regional with the top-four finish.
“We’re getting a lot of reps in right now,” Shuffitt said. “I feel like it’s helping me a lot wrestling with the fresh guys. I’ve been practicing better this week than I have all season. The fact that there’s fresh guys coming in, I have to raise my level of competition to theirs because they have more energy than I do.”
No. 1 seeded Chase Shalosky (14-8), of Floyd Central, will face Shuffitt (19-8) tomorrow.
This past season, the Owls’ Matthew Ruddick and Richard Rohde advanced to the postseason. Both graduated in 2014.
“I feel good about this,” Weaver said. “I think all three guys can qualify for semistate. But, at the same time, our regional is tough. Our sectional was tough. If they don’t come to wrestle they could be one and done.”
“I feel good about this. I think all three guys can qualify for semistate.” Owls coach Todd Weaver.
What: Regional wrestling
Where: Jeffersonville High School
Weigh-in time: 9 a.m.