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Wrestling takes Scecina junior to new heights

 From left, Crusaders wrestlers Jake Rebein, Leonard Love and Phillip Truong advanced to the Regionals in the IHSAA Wrestling Tourney.

By Cari Gallagher '93, Athletics Assistant

The “blast double” is one of the most physically dominating takedowns in wrestling, and it’s the favorite move of Scecina wrestler Leonard Love. The wrestler pressures into his opponent, who usually pressures back. At that point, the wrestler drops down and squeezes his opponent’s legs to bring him down.

“It’s the closest thing to a football tackle. I love it,” said Leonard, who also played football this year for the Crusaders.

It’s hard to believe the softspoken 195-pounder is wrestling for just the second year, taking up the sport after not making the basketball team. He had no previous experience and he notched just one victory in the first season. Head Coach Bobby Sponsel ’04 says Leonard was overjoyed with his first win.  “He was jubilant. He cried,” he said.

Leonard went from that single victory last year to a current record of 19-4 and made it to the IHSAA Wrestling Regionals on Feb. 4 at Perry Meridian High School. The opportunity to wrestle at Scecina has opened a new world for Leonard.

“I have learned to push myself, and to be my best self at all times,” he says. “I have also become friends with people that I never thought I would.”

Enthusiastic and hardworking, the Scecina wrestlers are building a legacy from the ground up. For the second straight season the team is composed of only underclassmen. Joining Leonard at the Regionals were another junior, Phillip Truong, as well as sophomore Jake Rebein. Rebein then advanced to the Semi-States on Feb. 11 at New Castle.

“I explained to the juniors on the team that they have an opportunity to mold this team into what they really want it to be,” says Sponsel. “They took on that responsibility with enthusiasm and they are really striving to make this one of the overall best teams that Scecina has seen in many years.”

So far this season the Crusaders’ efforts have paid off with successful showings in the City Tournament as well as the Indiana Crossroads Conference tournament.

Leonard has figured out what it takes to be successful in one of the toughest sports in the world. “Leonard is a quiet role model who leads by example,” Coach Sponsel says. “He is always striving to better himself, yet continues to put the team and their needs first.”

Through his athletic experiences at Scecina, participating in both football and wrestling, Leonard has discovered that he would like to be a collegiate athlete. He hopes to attend either Indiana University or Purdue University and study business or engineering. 

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Angie Therber wrote:
Two OLL alums and Leonard, make a great trio! So proud of all of you!

Mon, February 6, 2017 @ 7:34 AM

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