Carmel High School senior wrestler Isaac Ward’s goal for the postseason is clear.
He wants to end up on the podium in the state finals Feb. 18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ward lost in the first round of the state finals in the 126-pound division last year and the 113-pound class as a sophomore. The top-eight placers make the podium.
“I think making it to state last year will definitely help with my experience because I know what it takes to get there, and this year our team should have multiple state qualifiers once again,” Ward said.
CHS coach Ed Pendoski said the experience of being under the lights in the first round should be a benefit.
“Going through it once, you know what is coming,” Pendoski said. “There is a familiarity that makes things calmer.”
As of Jan. 24, Ward had an 18-0 record in the 132-pound weight class. He is ranked fifth in his class by Indianamat.com.
“This year, I have made the most improvements in my mentality and constantly being on offense,” he said. “My highlight result probably (was) going 5-0 and winning the Mooresville Holiday Classic as an individual and as a team.”
Ward started out the season at 138 pounds but moved down to 132. which he said has been a good weight for him this season.
“One thing Isaac has always brought to the wrestling room is there are no excuses in his world,” Pendoski said. “He works hard. He owns his mistakes. He owns his choices. I think he’s matured a lot through this season. He’s competing at a really high level. A lot of kids will make excuses why they lost, but it’s almost a family tradition.”
Pendoski said Ward has put on muscle.
“What he really has an advantage is with his length and his body,” Pendoski said. ‘There are lot of good kids in his weight class, but no one is unbeatable.”
Ward’s older brother, Ethan, wrestled for CHS. Ward also has two younger brothers competing in the Carmel club program.
Ward will attend Wabash College but is unsure if he wants to wrestle in college.
Growing up, Ward played football, baseball and lacrosse. He started wrestling at age 10.
“I gave up all other sports my eighth-grade year,” Ward said. “I am passionate about wrestling because I love the solo aspect of you controlling your own match as well as enjoying the team and coaches.”
Favorite athlete: Allen Iverson
Favorite movie: “Fight Club”
Favorite musician: Zach Bryan