#1StudentNWI: On the striking diligence of Hanover’s wrestling team

#1StudentNWI: On the striking diligence of Hanover’s wrestling team

What’s recently happened?

Hanover Central High School is home to various sports. Within this variety, wrestling stands out. With the winter sports season going on, both the Girls and Boys Wrestling teams have been hard at work at Hanover. The dedication among the athletes was visible.

Notably, the Christmas tournament was the halfway point of the wrestling season. From then on, the team has consistently practiced for its upcoming state series tournaments. 

Sectionals for Boys Wrestling begin on January 27. Eventually, the athletes will progress to the Regionals, Semi-State, and State levels of the competition. The State competition is scheduled to be in February.

February will also include some other wrestling events. All this will continue to occur until the first week of March. After that, some athletes will enter into a “freestyle” phase where they can choose their own workouts since wrestling will have officially concluded for the school year. 

The entire training process for the wrestling team is composed of various parts – warm-ups, drills, etc. – all of which is followed by a corrections and refinements stage for improvement. 

Afterwards, the athletes engage in live wrestling which is more or less 30 to 45 minutes of intense competing. The last 15 minutes of training focus on conditioning. Devotedly, the athletes work at it for two hours. Still, as the athletes train and improve less time is spent: 90 minutes to 60 minutes practices become the new norm.

“We taper down as we get further into the season to not wear down,” said Andrew Bradbury, the coach of the wrestling team at Hanover. “Our strategy is to attack, be aggressive, look to score, and wrestle to win.”

Wrestling inevitably comes with its own set of barriers that must be overcome. Bradbury understands that doubt can be destructive for a wrestler if left unchecked. Thus, mental toughness is critical.

“There’s always some negative thought that might come in the way, so I try to refer them back to their original goal and stay focused,” said Bradbury. 

Similarly, wrestling takes discipline. A person literally tackles their opponent. It can be especially defeating when the opponent, who has been in the game longer, seems to have the advantage. 

Blood rounds may be one of the more intense parts of this sport for the athletes. 

“If you lose, you are out; if you win, you can advance,” said Kylie Benoit, wrestler.

Jayden Bartoszek, a junior and captain of the wrestling team, is a dedicated wrestler of six years who comments on this in terms of required discipline and the kind of mentality that is sought out. 

“I tend to like my lost matches better since they are something I can learn from,” said Bartoszek.

Over the course of this school year alone, Bartoszek won in North Montgomery. He won twice in Lake County and won in Conference. He also placed second in the Lake County tournament. All in all, there are quite a handful of accomplished wrestlers on Hanover’s team.

“You get quite a few bumps and bruises along the way but nothing too crazy,” Bartoszek said.

Moving forth, Bradbury teaches his athletes an important lesson.

“You look at any type of struggle as a speed bump. Not a wall or barrier. Wrestling can be hard. Life is hard. If you can get through this I’m sure you can get through other things in life,” said Bradbury.

“Everything else in life does not seem as bad,” said Bartoszek.

Furthermore, Coach Bradbury expresses some advice to any possible future athletes. He says to push oneself. Results come if one sticks to the process and doesn't cave in. Bradbury himself notes that he started as a freshman and advanced quickly with his wrestling journey because of his attitude on resilience.

“It is one of those rare sports where you get from it the amount of effort you put in,” said Bradbury.

What’s coming up? 

Hanover introduced a new event for its students: “What I Need Now” (WINN). If students have passing grades, they can come down during their student resource time, about once a month, to engage in fun recreational activities. Attendance is not required but highly encouraged.

Additionally, Hanover’s Student Council is doing another round of decorations for school appreciation in the month of February. February is going to be centered around providing thankfulness towards the nurses and guidance staff. 

Isabella Polkowski is one of the Student Council members working on posters for the mentioned appreciation month. She prudently realizes the value of the work being put in. 

“Making posters doesn't require a lot of work, but that simple act is able to demonstrate our gratitude,” said Polkowski. 

Staff spotlight: 

Andrew Bradbury was instrumental in all Hanover’s wrestling team’s successful season as he is the coach of Hanover’s wrestling team. He is also a teacher at Hanover Central Middle School.

In totality, Bradbury has been a wrestling coach for 15 years. His experiences stem from his university days, where his own past wrestling coach allowed him to be one of the student coaches while he was finishing his degree. He was also a graduate assistant coach at Lindenwood University.

Subsequently, Bradbury ended up being a coach all over the country. He coached at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Seminole Ridge High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. He coached for five years at Lindenwood University Missouri too. He was also the head coach in Portage, Indiana, where he originates from. 

He has learned plenty from such experiences. 

“There are a lot of different ways to win matches. It doesn’t have to be strictly one style. Florida wrestling is completely different to Indiana wrestling and vice versa,” said Bradbury.

Wrestling remains momentous in Bradbury’s life since it allows him to see his students grow – this will be Bradbury’s first year where he will have students coming in from the middle school and wrestling for him at the high school. The students get to see Bradbury as both teacher and coach. 

Aside from wrestling, Bradbury continues to find his own ways of competing. He enjoys golfing in particular. 

Equally so, he remains busy outside of school and wrestling by taking care of his three boys with his wife. The memories he creates with them are most treasured.

Bradbury stands with contentment for certain achievements. As an athlete, he is most proud of winning national titles twice in college. Within education, he is proud of the fact that he is the first one in his family to earn a master's degree: a degree in school administration. 

“Hanover is the best fit for me as an educator and coach. I will do my best to build the program where it is needed,” Bradbury said,

Student spotlight:

Kylie Benoit is one of the athletes on Hanover’s wrestling team and a high school sophomore. She is recognized for having attained the varsity level.

Unquestionably, she is dedicated to the sport of wrestling. After all, she has wrestled for about 10 years. Benoit has found herself wrestling ever since she was 5 years old. 

For a more thorough oversight, Benoit moved to the Hanover district when she was in the seventh grade. That instant was when she started wrestling for Hanover officially.

Wrestling is no easy feat to pursue. Hence, Benoit draws inspiration from certain individuals. 

“My dad was a wrestler, so my brother and I went into wrestling,” said Benoit.

Benoit is proud of what she has attained on her team. In particular, she looks fondly on being able to advance to the wrestling state-level competition. 

This is especially notable for her given that last year she made it to the state level but did not advance further. This year, she proved herself by winning her first match. 

“I ended up placing in seventh place this year,” Benoit said. 

She is also extremely proud of being able to attend the Fargo Nationals for wrestling over the summer in 2023. Each state has its own team wrestling. This year, she was more in the girls’ tournaments and participated in one tournament against a boy.

Given her successes, Benoit says she hopes to continue with the sport in college since it has already been in her life for so long.

She sees herself wrestling in Iowa in her future. She recognizes that the state has an exceptional Boys Wrestling team and hopes to be a part of the anticipated Girls Wrestling team there. 

Upcoming for Benoit will be the freshman and sophomore qualifier games for wrestling. 

If she isn’t wrestling, Benoit likes to waterboard out in the Lake Michigan area with her family.