The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

March 27, 2013

THB Wrestler of the Year: Driven Blanton rises to the top

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — It took Luke Blanton a little more than a week to get over the only loss of his senior season.

The Alexandria star worked nonstop for nearly a year to chase down a state championship. When that quest ended Feb. 16 with a 12-7 loss against Mishawaka’s Tommy Forte in the 138-pound state finals, all that emotion came pouring out.

Blanton sat motionless on a side mat for long minutes after his opponent’s hand was raised, and he later gave a heartfelt tearful interview.

It’s unlikely Blanton ever truly will put the last match of his storied high school career behind him, but in the month-plus since he left the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse he has found a healthy perspective.

“After about the first week, I started looking more positively at it,” Blanton said. “I had a heck of a run. There’s no negative. It’s all positive. I just really enjoyed my time.”

After finishing in fourth place as a 132-pounder in 2012 — and ending his season with a loss to Forte in Indianapolis — Blanton devoted his considerable work ethic toward standing on top of the podium this year.

His effort was more than admirable. It was historic.

And it was more than enough to earn him the honor as The Herald Bulletin’s 2013 Wrestler of the Year.

Blanton won his first 51 matches, claiming titles in the Madison County tournament, the sectional, the regional and the semistate on his way to the state finals. With three more wins in Indianapolis, Blanton became the first wrestler in Alexandria history to wrestle under the lights in a state championship match.

It’s a memory that clearly will last a lifetime.

“I felt like I was representing my school, my community, the county, the sectional, the regional, the semistate,” Blanton said. “It was just an awesome feeling, just being under the lights. I’ve never felt something like that before. It was just awesome.”

The loss to Forte only dulled those emotions for awhile.

At Tigers head coach Jack Grimaldi’s urging, Blanton took a two-week break from the mat. The rest healed his battered body and cleared his cluttered mind.

And he returned earlier this month with renewed purpose.

Blanton will wrestle at the Senior Nationals from April 4 to April 7 in Virginia Beach, Va. He chose that event over a similar tournament in Fargo, N.D., because it allows him to stick with the folkstyle matches of high school and college competition.

His familiar work ethic is back in full effect. He’s been on the mat four or five days a week all month, and he said he’ll likely increase his workouts as the tournament approaches.

He’s also got a familiar partner by his side, longtime Alexandria teammate Lincoln Kyle.

“We still push each other,” Blanton said. “We work very well together. I’m blessed to have him as a partner.”

When he’s done in Virginia, Blanton’s intense focus will turn to Bloomington. He’ll wrestle next fall at Indiana University, and he spent much of last week watching the Hoosiers compete on the mat in the NCAA tournament.

His goals, predictably, are high.

Blanton hopes to make the varsity roster as a freshman, no easy feat in a sport where redshirt seasons are routine, then set his sights on Big Ten and national championships.

And he’ll chase after it all with the same dogged determination that marked his career at Alexandria.

“It’s gonna be fun to get another goal and just work like hell for it for four years,” Blanton said.

If the result is anywhere near the career he carved out with the Tigers, it’ll be a memorable four years indeed.

“He definitely made history at Alexandria,” Grimaldi said in Indianapolis after the state finals. “He’s going to be a tough act to follow.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - HB0729 - Chris Rainey - DK Colts release RB Rainey

    Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 1 Luck still learning

    Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University. During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Lions star plays in national tourneys Liberty Christian senior Chris Nunn, a three-year starting guard for the Lions and Indiana Class Basketball Junior All-Star, took his talents on the road this summer,competing in back-to-back tournaments with his AAU travel team, Team Progeny.

    July 28, 2014

  • SPT - HB0729 - Colts practice - JC 046a.jpg Colts Camp Update: ESPN's in town

    The first week of practice at Anderson University wrapped up Monday morning with the Indianapolis Colts working out from 9 a.m. to noon.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Castonzo 2 - 278 Castonzo comfortable with Colts' changing O-line

    For all the changes along the offensive line the past three seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been the lone constant. He joined a veteran group anchored by center Jeff Saturday in 2011, was part of a remodeled unit in 2012 and became a mainstay at left tackle for all 16 games last year.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Allen 1 - 290 Colts' offense adapting to new arsenal

    Third-year tight end Dwayne Allen suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guard Donald Thomas, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Reggie Wayne also exited the lineup over the next six weeks. It left offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scrambling to come up with new ways to attack defenses with an ever-changing cast of characters.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Gordon art Fifth Brickyard for Gordon Indiana racing fans roared their approval of the kid they watched growing up in open wheel cars as Jeff Gordon scored his record fifth Brickyard 400 victory Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dorer scores JEGS win at Anderson Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300. The next year he flipped in Turn 1 during the CRA Super Series event. He scored another highlight Saturday night by winning for the first time with the CRA/JEGS All-Stars Tour event in the Edgewater Woods 100.|ANDERSON — Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Fre

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT-HB0727-Luckwatch-ColtsCamp-094.jpg Colts Quick Hits: Sunday, July 27

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0727-AndrewLuck3749.jpg Change the Play

    Andrew Luck had an active childhood filled with a myriad of sports and activities. Now, he wants Hoosier kids to have that opportunity, too.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News