Raiders News · High School Wrestling Awards Banquet

I was holding out hope that we would be able to come together and celebrate together this wrestling season, but like everyone else plans have changed and I wanted to some how give these guys the reorganization that they deserve. So below is my Awards Speech I was hoping to give, its long but had a lot of things I wanted to say about this group.

HS Awards Speech 2020

Thank You

Parents- Not only is this a great group of guys, but this has been such an amazing group of parents who have showed so much support for the wrestling team. We have been able to do things that have never been done and things I always wanted to do as a wrestler and a coach. A few things that come to mind are Spartan Classic tournament, an overnight trip to a 2 day holiday wrestling tournament, participated in the team state tournament, hosted an elementary rival night tournament with over 500 people there, bought new 2 piece uniforms, took guys to off season tournaments, and the list can go on what seems forever. None of this would have been possible with out the full commitment of wrestlers and parents. I rember when this group of Seniors were in middle school and I said it would take a village to raise a successful wrestler and a great young man, and you guys did it! The community of parents involved with SW wrestling is second to none!

Assistant Coaches – What an amazing coaching staff we have built here at Southern Wells!

Levi Jones – he is my guy and I couldn’t be more proud to have watched how Levi has grown and developed into an amazing coach and friend! Levi has been with me for 7 years and there is doubt I have learned to rely on Levi and is no way I could have done this with out him! I know it almost killed him not to being able to wrestle with the guys after his accident at work, but I am here to tell you, he will wrestle with one hand if he needs to, whatever he can do to help the guys out. Against doctor recommendations he did make it back on the mat by the end of the season to see if he still gots it!

Daniel Beeks – What a great addition and such a benifit for a small school like SW to have their own personal trainer to come in and work the guys out in the weight room. Daniel has done an awesome job and I am so grateful of him to give up his time and has contributed so much to the wrestling program.

Former Alumni – We have had some awesome nights in the wrestling room when these guys show up for live practices. We had all the Fiechter brothers, Vince, Troy, Darin, and Benjamnin all in the room at least once this year. T.C. Was there to help push his little brother and it was priceless to see these guys get after it with this group of Seniors. Seth Biberstine was there a few times to beat up on some guys and one night I think we had all 8 of our State Qualifiers in there getting after it! Competition is a beautiful thing, and I am so thankful for this group and for bringing the intensity and toughness into the room when we needed it the most!

Administration –I wanted to make sure I took time to tell all the people who work in the school building and help me with any questions, concerens or issues that I have how much I appreciate them. Big thank you to Mr. Burman and Jayme Biberstine as those 2 get the bulk of my questions. But to everyone in the office and all the teachers who have supported the wrestling team. Wanted to make sure I mentioned Mr. James Schwarzkopf and Mr. Kevin Lavanchy for hiring me as a 19 year old kid as the assistant coach and continuing to support the wrestling team for the next 19 years!

My Family – Through this journey I have felt support from so many different groups of people, but no other group has been there for the ups and downs quite like my family! Amber has been a super hero in my mind keeping our 4 kids on schedule with all their school activities, being locked in a gym all day with them at the Saturday tournaments, and listening to all my concerns when I finally got home that night. I love my kids being around these guys, and you will never understand the importance that you as a high school athlete can have on a younger kid, until you have kids of your own. My girls were proud to wear their Southern Wells wrestling shirts to school and my boys have about 16 big brothers and a few big sisters on this team. You guys have created a 6 year old boy who loves wrestling and has seen how it is done to…Be Strong when you are weak, Be Brave when you are scared, and Be Humble when you are Victorious! And for that I couldn’t be more grateful!!

This Season

So they always say there are 2 seasons during a sport year, the regular season and the post season. There has never been a year more true to that statement than this year turned out to be. The regular season was tough, it was very challenging for us to fill all 14 varsity spots which it always is. With only 16 wrestlers on the roster it was almost impossible to spread them out into the 14 weight classes. It was again a log jam of talent with 5 of our best wrestlers coming into the season weighing between 150-160lbs. Well that’s great but there is only 2 weight classes between those weights. So with some weight management and guys being willing to wrestle up weight classes we were able to get all 5 guys into the lineup and put together a stretch that later became known as “Death Row”. The team ended up with a dual meet record of 12-14 which isn’t bad but after many dual meets had me scratching my head how did we lose that dual, seems like we won every match that we wrestled? Well against full lineups we were giving up 24 points before we wrestled so we would have to get 4 pins just to start 0-0, that’s tough to win! Give the guys credit for sticking with it and battling through some tough times in the middle of the season. Xavier Booher broke his hand and was out for the season, and Josh Beeks tore up his knee that set him out for about a month. It was a challenging regular season, but the post season was one that should be remembered as one of the most successful tournament runs is Southern Wells history. Before we get into all the individual awards I want to make a quick statement about each one on the team.

106lbs. Kat Ramsey – I remember Kat walking into practice 3 years ago, and me thinking she is so little and sweet, not sure she will be able to stick with wrestling? Well she is still the same sweet little girl, but now has a 5th place IHSGW State medal and contributed 32 wins to our Varsity team. She is an amazing young lady and I am glad wrestling will be part of her HS memories.

113lbs. Blake Maloney – I was getting pretty frustrated with how Blake was wrestling in the middle of the season, because I knew this kid had a ton of potential. He turned it on at the end of the season and I remember Levi and myself looking at each other during the ACAC tournament and saying where did this kid come from? The sky is the limit for Blake if he is focused on becoming better each day!

138lbs. Cain Clark – Cain is a kid who you know will be at practice and at every match, ready to wrestle. Unfortunately we couldn’t get Cain down a weight class and he only got a few Varsity matches this year, but was always ready if we needed to put him in the lineup that night.

138lbs. Cameron Grove – I feel like Cameron really grew up this year and was a huge asset to our team. Maybe I was over confident, but there were very few matches that I didn’t believe Cameron was going to win when he went out on the mat. He has the physical and technical tools, just needs to find that confidence and grit and he can win any match he wrestles.

145lbs. Gage Roberts – Probably the biggest surprise on the first day of practice is when we seen Gage. Think he grew 4in over the summer and really slimmed down. Gage had an awesome freshman season going 7-3 at the JV level and getting a couple matches to see what the Varsity level was all about. He was a guy who I believed over achieved what I was expecting at the beginning of the season. Will be exciting to see what Gage can do has he develops and gets stronger on the mat the next few years.

145lbs. William Fiechter – Where do you begin with a kid like William? William has so many accomplishments and awards that I will talk about later. But the young man that he is on and off the mat is something that will be remembered by anyone who followed SW wrestling. I have so many memories of William and am so honored to have been a part of his HS wrestling journey.

152lbs. Josh Beeks – What a Stud!! This season showed me what kind of man Josh Beeks is. The adversity he went through this year, injuring his knee and battling back to be ready to go at Sectionals when the doctors where telling him there is no way you will be ready was truly amazing. Getting roughed up in the Sectional Championship match and then coming back and putting a beating on the same kid to win a Regional Championship was awesome! However the way he handled himself, and the way he stuck with the team after having his dream be ripped away at Semi-State was what I will remember about Josh! No one deserves what happened to Josh at Semi-State but, we can all learn from unfortunate situations, and Josh taught me a lot this year!

152lbs. Xavier Walden – I am so glad that Xavier was able to come back out his Senior year, and was such a joy to have on the team! This kid is one of the hardest working guys that I have coached, and its hard not to fall in love with that kind of work ethic and attitude. It probably didn’t end up like he had planned but to see him in the ACAC Championship match was one accomplishment that can never be taken away from him.

160lbs. Jed Perry – He is a killer! Another kid that has so many accomplishments, but the type of young man is what continues to stick out to me. Jed is such a competitive guy and will go toe to toe with anyone and I believe feeds off of being the underdog. Everyone loves Jed, even his opponents want to warm up and drill with him! He displayed everything that SW wrestling stands for on the biggest stage…toughness, bravery, and humbleness!

160lbs. Alex Bigham – Alex was a first year wrestler who, I have to give props too. Its not easy to come out as a freshman for something you have never been a part of or don’t know much about. I enjoyed having Alex on the team and hope that he sticks with it and can get even more mat time in the next few years and continue to improve.

170lbs. Jacob Duncan – I have come to believe that Jacob likes to entertain! He always made his championship matches entertaining and one that the whole gym was excited about. If he had to go on his back or throw a good elbow he always made it entertaining! In all seriousness it has been an absolute joy to watch Jacob grow and develop into a State Caliber wrestler! Its seems to be a common theme but these guys have all had so much success on the mat, but the way they represent SW wrestling off the mat is just as important and couldn’t be more proud for Jacob to be a part of that.

182lbs. Clay Smith – A guy who I absolutley love having on the team! He will do anything I ask him whether its drinking 3 Gatorades to be heavy enough to wrestle up a weight class to help fill a spot. Or if it is being consistent and working hard in the weight room and practice room every day, Clay did it. There was no better moment to watch Clay get his first Varsity win and see some much needed confidence be displayed by himself.

195lbs. Cole Meeks – How I would describe Cole is a blue collar wrestler. He was a guy who packed his lunch and showed up to work every day. He wasn’t the flashy, explosive wrestler but he was the guy who went out on the mat and went to work. He was a grinder and a guy who I learned to just know he would be there. Consistency is such a valuable trait, and Cole displayed that through his whole career.

220lbs. Xavier Booher – What a character!! Anyone who knows Xavier knows what I mean by this statement. I sure wish we could have gotten Xavier out for the team earlier, I really enjoyed getting to know him and appreciated his humor so many times during the season. Not an easy thing to do is coming out for a sport you have never done as a Senior but I sure glad he did.

285lbs. Tucker Corwin – Tucker is a guy who came out in the middle of last season and I was so excited to have him back and for a full season this year. Tucker showed so much improvements picking up multiple wins for us after not winning a match last year. Sickness ended Tucker’s season early, but it was so fun to see the growth from his 1st to 2nd year of wrestling.

285lbs. Jesse Turner – Jesse is an unique athlete and young man, and I mean that in a good way. Another kid that I don’t know why we didn’t get him out for the team earlier! Obviously Jesse is a big strong kid but the way he picked up on the sport was amazing. He understood the concept and was very strategical in the way he wrestled. It was a joy getting to know Jesse and the young man that he is.

Managers – Hannah, Kayleigh, Makenna, and Grace all did such an awesome job this year. I don’t tell them enough how much I appreciate them cleaning mats, keeping book, taking video, and dealing with these high maintenance guys every day. But they made my job so much easier just knowing what to do and doing it with out me even having to ask them to do it. So for that I want to say THANK YOU!

Individual Awards

Spartan Classic – this is a tough 32 team individual tournament with a lot of Indianapolis schools and almost all schools being bigger that we are, but not only did we compete, we had our 1st Champion!

William Fiechter – 2nd place finish, losing a thrilling 9-8 decision to two time State Qualifier A.J. Poindexter of West Lafayette Harrison.

Jed Perry – 2nd place finish, losing to Purdue recruit, and returning State runner-up Cooper Noehre of Green-field Central 12-5.

Jacob Duncan – became SW 1st and only Spartan Classic champion with a dominating performance picking up a fall in 3:03 over Chandler Schubert of Danville in championship match.

The team finished in 11th place even with Josh Beeks being knocked out of the tournament due to his knee injury. Cole Meeks also made it to Day 2 by winning 2 matches Friday night.

ACAC – Finished 5th place has a team and had everyone who wrestle place in the top 6. Unfortunately we only had 9 guys wrestling that night so hard to compete with the top teams in the conference. This was the first time we were treated to the performance of “Death Row” sending 145, 152,160, and 170 into the championship match.

William Fiechter – won his 3rd ACAC title after his dominating 12-4 win over Adams Centrals Alex Currie who later became the 7th place State finisher.

Xavier Walden – did a great job of filling in for Josh Beeks and won a tough overtime semi- final match before having to Injury default his championship match due to rib injury.

Jed Perry – rolled to his 3rd ACAC title pinning all 3 of his opponents, and displayed his dominance in the area at the 160lb. Weight class

Jacob Duncan – put on a show in the championship match against Adams Centrals Paul Faurote before pinning him in 4:41 to secure his 1st ACAC title.

Sectional – Not a great team showing at Sectional in placing 6th but again really hard to compete as a team when we only have 9 wrestlers scoring team points.

William Fiechter – Makes SW history by becoming the only 4 time Sectional Champ with another good battle against Alex Currie in the championship match 12-6.

Josh Beeks – doesn’t disappoint in his much anticipated return to the mat picking up a :05 pin win over a Bellont kid in the semi-final round to put him self in the championship match where he fell to Gage Shuckman of Norwell by pin.

Jed Perry – Starting to look unfair as Jed didn’t wrestle out of the first period and picks up 2 more pins and a 3rd Sectional Title to add to his resume.

Jacob Duncan – still makes it exciting but does show much more dominance in a major decision 14-5 win over Paul Faurote of AC for the 2nd week in a row.

Regional –With 4 Regional Qualifiers, this was a tournament that I will never forget. SW went 12-0 and added 4 names to the short list of Regional Champions. In my 19 years at SW we had only 3 Regional Champions, before this year. We added 4 in one day and they were back to back to back to back in weight class. This is where the name “Death Row” was used to describe the SW lineup by the Berne Witness as they webcast-ed each championship round of the post season. The team placed 4th and literally didn’t lose a match, what an awesome day. It was a great day for all 4 of the guys but especially for Josh Beeks! We honestly didn’t know what we were going to do going into the tournament, whether if Josh could win his 1st rd match should we default the rest of the matches and be satisfied with being a Semi-State qualifier with a torn up knee? Josh won his 1st rd match by pin and I asked him if he was going to keep wrestling…Oh yeah was Josh’s response! That response didn’t surprise me, knowing Josh’s competitive nature but to say I wasn’t nervous about the next two matches would be a lie. Josh went on to pin his semi-final opponent and then revenged his Sectional lost to Schuckman in the finals by a convincing 11-0 major decision! What a day for SW wrestling!

Semi-State– What an exciting week it was to prepare for the Semi-State tournament with 4 Regional Champions. The draws came out on Sunday and we were all feeling very confident going into the tournament.

William Fiechter – Started the day off with a tech fall win and then a good controlled 5-2 win over Landon Buchanon of Jimtown to qualify for the State tournament for the 2nd year in a row. SW had the roughest round of the year our Semi-final rd at Semi-State has the wind was taken out of our sails after Josh’s ticket round match. William lost a close 6-4 decision to Evan Urlick of FW Caroll, but was able to get it turned around with a 9-5 win over A.J. Dull of South Adams and finish the day with an important win and a 3rd place finish.

Josh Beeks – The day started off good for Josh as well as he wrestled a solid Lukas Medford of Jimtown and won 5-2. Then the match that took all the momentum and still to this day gives me a horrible feeling in my gut as I am replaying it in my mind. Their were a lot of negatives from this match as Josh will never have the opportunity to compete and fulfill his dream of being a State Qualifier, all because of a false start. But the positives from this situation are very apparent to me today as well. All wrestling fans around the State were able to see the kind of young man Josh has become and we are all reminded sometimes things just don’t go our way, get up move forward and learn from it.

Jed Perry – Wrestled a great tournament as he finally was matched up with some kids with equal wrestling ability and changed his style from lasts years Semi State tournament. Jed wrestled with patience and wasn’t afraid to grind out a close controlled win. It started with a good 7-0 decision win over Shane Tinery of West Noble followed up with a close and tough 6-5 win over Jacob Kreager of FW Snider to punch his ticket to the State Finals. Again the semi-finals wasn’t kind to SW but Jed lost to a good Isiah Levitz of Prairie Heights but bounced right back in the consolation round with a fall over Tytus Morrisett of Eastern to place 3rd and set himself up for a good draw next week.

Jacob Duncan – Jacob’s magical Senior season continued at Semi-State as he still was on his back way more than I would have liked but he makes it exciting! He picks up a pin over Tavion Ruckulos of FW Snider in the first round and then wins a back and forth match over Peyton Anderson of Elkhart Central 11-8 to become tiny little Southern Wells 3rd State Qualifier on the day! The next 2 matches didn’t go Jacob’s way but it wasn’t for lack of effort. Jacob is going to go after it, win some and lose some and I am OK with that, he is fun to watch and never know what is going to happen!

State Finals – What an awesome weekend for these guys to wrap up their high school careers. Not many wrestlers get the opportunity of knowing that this will be the last match of their careers. William and Jed both were able to do just that as they won their Friday night matches and guaranteed themselves a spot on the podium as one of the top 8 wrestlers in the State of Indiana.

William Fiechter – The Friday night match between Fiechter and Orlando Cruz of Crown Point was one of the best, most intense matches I have ever been a part of! I wanted so bad for William to win that match and he did too as it was one of those moments you could tell William was locked in. Those 2 guys put on a show and it is listed as one of the best matches of the State Tournament on Indiana-mat website and I would have to agree. William’s story book career didn’t end quite as we expected has he fell in his next 3 matches but finished with an 8th place State medal. It was hard to find the words after his last match but I am reminded of this….Wrestling doesn’t define us, it is what we do not who we are!!

Jed Perry – Friday night was a match up of Perry vs Aaron Steenbeke of Penn high school and was a match that Jed really controlled from the beginning. With that win Jed guaranteed himself of becoming only the 4th SW wrestler to have a State medal at the end of his career. Jed wrestled himself back to a 6th place finish after losing one of the most competitive matches to the eventual State Champion Eli Dickens of Mater Dei first round Saturday morning. Jed went toe to toe with the best in the State has his 4 losses on the season all came from the top 5 guys in the State. A remarkable way to end a remarkable career at Southern Wells.

Jacob Duncan – Coming in as a 4th place finish from Semi-State makes it tough as Jacob was matched up with a Stud from Indianapolis Cathedral Tyler Wagner. He lost by pin, but that by no means takes anything away from the awesome Senior season Jacob had. 41-4 and a State Qualifier is an impressive way for anyone to end their HS wrestling careers. I couldn’t have been more proud of these 3 guys, and of our new assistant coach for the weekend, Josh Beeks, of how they represented SW wrestling that weekend and it will be a memory that I will never forget!

Season Awards

Academic All-State – must have a 3.25% GPA to qualify

Jacob Duncan and Cole Meeks both made honorable mention

Most Season Wins – Jed Perry (43)

Most Season Takedowns – William Fiechter (86)

Most Season Pins – Jed Perry (30)

New School Records

Most Career Wins – William Fiechter (148)

Most Career Takedowns – William Fiechter (305)

Most Career Pins – Jed Perry (108)

Most Improved Wrestler– Jacob Duncan

Hard to argue why Jacob wouldn’t be our most improved wrestler this year! 2 years ago Jacob was fighting for a Varsity spot and last year he had a record of 27-15. This year he was a Spartan Classic , an ACAC, a Sectional, a Regional Champion and a State Qualifier with a 41-4 record. Enough said! But honestly Jacob is a great example of what hard work and consistency can lead to. This group of Seniors has each other to thank for the success they all have experienced. Iron sharpens Iron!!

Most Valuable Wrestler –Jed Perry

So when Coach Levi and myself started talking about this award, I was like there is no way I can pick a Most Valuable out of this group! That would be like picking a favorite out of my own kids, and that is just impossible! However this is an award that is very prestigious and I wanted to hand it out to one guy and once I sat down and put all the statistics together, I believe Jed earned the award this season. He led the team in wins, pins, and was a great leader in the practice room pushing to get better each and every day!

Future of SW Wrestling

First of all, congratulations for making it to the end of this speech! I did not plan on it being this long, but this was a historic wrestling season for SW. Secondly maybe I did that on purpose I have been very anxious about writing this final paragraph! I truly believe that SW wrestling is in a great spot, we just had the most successful individual season I have ever been a part of. The Jr. High team has a lot of potential with a strong 8th grade class moving up to the high school level next year. The Elementary Club just had the strongest season, as far as number of kids, has it ever has. For all those reasons I feel at peace with the decision to step down as the Head Wrestling Coach at SW and am excited to see what the future holds for myself and SW wrestling. It has been an amazing 19 years at SW, and an unforgettable 16 years as the head coach. The relationships that have been made and the memories that have been made will last a lifetime! This is obviously not how I had it planned as I wanted to make this announcement in person at our awards banquet. But like all of you our lives have been turned upside down and no one could have predicted how the Cornovirus would change our plans for the next couple of months. It has truly been a blessing to be a part of the SW community and I will cherish my time here always. So as we all our planning the next steps in our lives, I encourage all of you to be obedient and never hesitate to call, text, or just stop by and say hi. All of you have my phone number and know where I live. It has been a blast, and I want to Thank everyone who has been a part of this journey!!


Coach Landis