Take two

Sophomore wrestler hopes to ascend podium after freshman year finals run


Sam Findley

Sophomore Eddie Goss squares off against a Carmel wrestler during a senior night meet on Dec. 14.

Charlie LaRocca, Staff Writer

Electric anticipation coarsed through every seat in Gainbridge Fieldhouse as the IHSAA State Finals crowned its 2022 medalists. Packed to the brim with anxious wrestling fans hoping their school’s state qualifiers could claim a prized state medal, now-sophomore Eddie Goss could only remember how desolately empty it had seemed a few hours earlier. As the 106-lb weight class finished, Goss prepared to take to Mat 2 for his match against undefeated sophomore and returning medalist Tanner Tishner. Despite the frantic environment, the 113-lb freshman marched to the mat without a single nerve or ounce of hesitation. After all, he had nothing to lose.

“It was my dad’s birthday,” Goss said. “I thought, you know, I might as well go and give him the best birthday gift ever and place in state my freshman year.”

Goss did just that. After a hard fought six-minute match, the score sat at 1-1 going into overtime. Almost instantly, Goss zeroed in on a quick right-handed single leg and limped out of Tishner’s whizzer to lock up the takedown. Goss, who just a week earlier was expected by many to have his campaign ended in the ticket round of semi-state to Columbus East’s Liam Krueger, had secured himself a spot on the podium — the first freshman medalist for the Trojans since Jay Yates in 1997. 

“I was so excited when I saw Coach Littell and Coach Deuce jumping up and down in my corner,” Goss said. “I got off the mat and saw Coach Swain and Coach Curry running around and freaking out. I just couldn’t believe it. I was a fourteen year-old, and I placed at state.”

However, the next day of competition would only bring disappointment for Goss.

“That night I went to bed, and I thought, I’ve done what I wanted to, but let’s see how far I can take this,” Goss said. “After that first match Saturday morning, I knew I needed to bounce back. Then, I lost. And I lost again. I was unsatisfied with myself, and I knew I could do a lot better than that.” 

Maybe that dissatisfaction is exactly the motivation Goss needs to ascend the podium even higher in his sophomore season. 

“That’s what I’m here to do this year,” Goss said. “To show everybody that it wasn’t a fluke. I don’t care what other people think. I feel like the work I put in will show in the postseason.”

Goss goes into tomorrow’s sectional with a 29-3 record and a No. 7 ranking in the state at 120-lbs. In the regular season, Goss scored victories over the No. 6-ranked wrestler and the No. 8-ranked wrestler at the 113-lb weight class, Indian Creek’s Jackson Heaston and Zionsville’s Tommy Frazier, as well as big wins over competitors in his own division, including Cathedral’s No. 15-ranked Gavin Bragg, Lowell’s No. 9-ranked Dominic Brown, Garret’s No. 12-ranked Carter Fielden, and Penn’s No. 13-ranked Dylan Bennet. However, Goss is far more concerned with redeeming the three blemishes on his impressive record. 

“I feel like I’ve wrestled two tournaments pretty bad,” Goss said. “The second day of the Al Smith, I should have gone to the finals, but I lost the first round. And team state, I just got into my own head. If I just keep my head clear, I can do anything I put my mind to.”

On Saturday, Goss is expected to meet Cascade’s senior Logan Bickel in the finals of the Mooresville Sectional — the first stop on the road to Gainbridge. Last year in the same event, Goss dropped a 5-1 decision to the Cadet after a well-timed throw put Goss to his back early on in the match.

“I need to stay out of his throws,” Goss said. “He’s got one move that he tries on everybody. As long as I can stay out of his positions and stay in my positions, I know I can put points on him and possibly pin him.” 

Moving on from the sectional, Goss’s competition will only continue to stiffen as the Mooresville Regional will see the Trojan compete against No. 2-ranked Jake Hockaday of Brownsburg, who is the returning 106-lb state champion and holds an 11-4 decision over Goss earlier this year, as well as No. 14-ranked Quinten Schoeff of Avon, who Goss defeated 3-0 in the last dual meet of the season. Goss believes his mindset is key to closing the gap on the Bulldog as well as widening the gap on the Oriole. 

“I realized this year in Michigan if I don’t care who I’m wrestling and I know who I am, then I can beat anybody,” Goss said. “I just need to throw everything I’ve got at them.”

For Goss, the biggest leap he has taken is forgetting about the number by his opponent’s name. Building confidence and trust in his skills has been essential for the sophomore in the last few weeks of regular competition. As for the physical training, Goss has continued to give all he has in the practice room. 

“Sometimes it sucks,” Goss said. “It really sucks. But, I know that when it sucks, I am working hard and getting closer to my goal of winning the state tournament.”

Goss acknowledges the significant impact of both his coaches and teammates on his performance this year. Particularly, Goss has found himself cornered by former state champion for the Trojans, Brayden Littell, for a majority of the season, who just so happened to have won his state championship at the 120-lb weight class in 2019. 

“He pushes me harder than any coach,” Goss said. “After practice, me and him do extra work like banded shots down and back across the whole room. He wants me to be the best I can possibly be. He wants me to win state for the next three years, and he wants to be in my corner to do that.”

Certainly, a lot of pressure rides on the sophomore to repeat his success, but Goss and his coaches believe he is prepared to climb even higher than before. 

“Eddie has committed himself to getting bigger and stronger over the last year,” head coach Maurice Swain said. “Eddie has also done the things in the practice room over the offseason to take his wrestling to the next level. He rarely misses summer workouts, be it on the mat or in the weight room with Coach Mills.”