March 1, 2019

Cathedral’s wrestling team earns second straight state title

The wrestling team of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis celebrates its state championship on Feb 16. (Submitted photo)

The wrestling team of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis celebrates its state championship on Feb 16. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

The wrestling squad of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis knew it faced a tough challenge in trying to earn a second consecutive state championship as a team.

When Cathedral earned the team title in 2018, it did so with 10 wrestlers advancing to the finals of the Indiana High School Athletic Association state championship.

This year, the Cathedral team advanced only five wrestlers to the finals so head coach Sean McGinley understood there was “little wiggle room” if the team wanted to repeat as champs.

To anyone outside the Cathedral program, that margin of error seemed to be slipping away as senior Jordan Slivka entered the last period of his individual championship match, down by four points to his opponent in the 160-pound weight class.

Yet after coaching Jordan for four years, McGinley knew that the senior never gives up and usually finds a way to push through in the toughest times. So he wasn’t surprised when Jordan rallied to win. In becoming an individual state champion for the second year in a row, the senior also helped Cathedral clinch the team title again on Feb. 16.

“Jordan has a history of grinding out close wins, and the other kids battled, too,” McGinley says. “It’s just about the mental toughness these kids have.”

Elliott Rodgers, a junior at Cathedral, also came from behind in his match to become the state champion in the 152-pound weight class.

Senior Alex Mosconi finished second in the 145-pound weight class while freshman Zeke Seltzer was runner-up in the 113-pound weight class. And senior Lukasz Walendzak completed the scoring for Cathedral with an eighth‑place finish in the 126-pound weight class.

“In 2018, we won a lot of close matches coming from behind, so I didn’t think we could top that,” McGinley says. “But 2019 was even more exciting. With just five kids, it left us with little wiggle room. They had to compete at their highest level, and they did. It was relief and joy when we won because these kids work so hard.”

McGinley credits the leadership of the seniors for the team title.

“This group of seniors has probably had more success as a team than any that has gone through Cathedral,” says McGinley, who has coached at the Catholic private school for 19 years. “In their four years, they finished third, third, first and first in the state championships as a team. It’s been an incredible stretch.” †

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