Smith took up wrestling in seventh grade at the advice of a football coach. The coach told Smith he’d have a better chance at playing football in college if he wrestled, too. It worked. Smith will play football at the University of Indianapolis.
“What I’m going to remember most is the sense of companionship and family,” Smith said of wrestling. “You’re sharing blood, sweat and tears with your teammates for months on end. It just builds a bond that cannot be broken. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”
Lakota West senior Aneesh Vyas sixth at 285 pounds in D-I, capping his season at 25-8.
“It sucks it had to end this way but it’s all about the process, not the product. A hard journey,” said Vyas, who went through separate shoulder surgeries last season. “I’ve been doubted the whole way. I can’t hang my head on … two losses to end my career.
“(State) was surreal. I love the fact it was at Hilliard Darby. Honestly, it didn’t make state seem as big as it is. … I had a lot of fun here this weekend. I don’t have any reservations about anything.”
Lakota East senior Max Boaz placed eighth in D-I at 138 pounds.
“I was ranked 13th and I got eighth, so that’s a couple places higher than people expected me to get,” Boaz said. “I’m happy with the tournament overall. I had a really good win my third match to actually place. Overall I think I did pretty well but there’s definitely some things I can improve on.
“It’s a lot different than the last time I was here (as a freshman). Showing up at a high school felt like a regular tournament. I kind of like that more. It feels like less pressure. Not thousands of people in the stands screaming at you. … I had a good high school career and I’m glad it ended with me placing.”
In the D-II state tournament held at Highland High School, Badin junior Ely Emmons placed sixth at 195.