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1 week ago

Olympian Wrestling: Law Returns to State

Law and Order / East junior back in state finals after year absence

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Columbus East’s Kade Law holds down Madison’s Luke McCarty in the 160-pound sectional championship match at Jennings County, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Paige Grider for The Republic

A year after losing in the ticket round at the Evansville Semistate, Kade Law was a little nervous going into this year’s ticket round match in the semistate at Jasper.

The Columbus East junior, who had qualified for the Wrestling State Finals as a freshman, was going up against Brownsburg’s Nick Ciccarelli, who Law had beaten only 8-6 in overtime during the regular season.

Law, ranked No. 4 at 170 pounds, took care of No. 17 Ciccarelli 5-1 in that quarterfinal match on Saturday to punch his ticket to his second state finals. Law went on to finish third in his bracket.

“Going in, I was confident, but I was a little nervous since I went out sophomore year,” Law said. “It was tough. It was heartbreaking. It was crushing. I felt like I had to redeem myself. The kid I beat, I went overtime with early in the season, so I had a lot of pressure on me, but I felt like I had improved since the beginning of the season.”

Last year, Law was ranked No. 6 at 152 when he injured his knee in the opening sequence just seconds into his ticket round match. Although he fought valiantly, he came up short of earning a repeat trip to state.

“I think him losing in the ticket round last year, in the ticket round this year, there were a little bit of nerves,” East coach Chris Cooper said. “He beat a very good Cicciarelli kid that he had went to overtime with in the dual. So we knew it would be a tough match, but he won.”

The knee injury last season kept Law out of action until late May. That coincided with the shutdown of the school and facilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last summer and fall, Law competed in the national Super 32 event, along with the Indiana Hoosier Preseason Open and tournaments in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. That got him back on track for the beginning of the high school season.

“I think that the positive side to it is, the COVID and the injury kind of overlapped,” Law said. “The timing was perfect. It wasn’t like I was missing a whole bunch since there wasn’t a whole lot going on. Once things started opening up around June and July, I started getting back on the wrestling mat as soon as possible. I traveled around a little bit.”

This season, Law is 33-3. His three losses are to the top-three ranked wrestlers in the 160-pound class.

“There’s a lot of people that go back and forth,” Law said. “I think I can go wrestle with anybody. My only losses are to tough opponents, and I think I can win if I wrestle them again.”

Law will open his state tournament against Maconaquah sophomore Logan Farnell in the second preliminary session, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Although Farnell is 40-3, he is unranked.

“At this point, if they’re at the state finals, they’re a good wrestler,” Cooper said. “It’s not easy to get there, so we don’t take anybody lightly.”

If Law wins Friday, he would face either No. 5 Orlando Cruz (28-2) of Crown Point or Perry Meridian’s Jakob Sheets (21-12). Law won a 3-0 decision against Cruz during the regular season.

Looming for a possible semifinal matchup is top-ranked Robert Major (37-0) of Carmel. At the Perry Meridian Invitational in early December, Law was tied with Major with 30 seconds remaining before Major pulled out a 7-4 decision.

“I blew it in the last 30,” Law said.

No. 2 Brody Baumann of Evansville Mater Dei, who beat Law in the semifinals in Saturday’s semistate, and No. 3 Andrew Wilson of Cathedral, who has split a pair of matches with Law this season, are on the opposite side of the bracket.

“I think I did get a good draw,” Law said. “I think I got on the right side of the bracket. I’m confident that whoever I got, I would have been fine. I just have to show up and wrestle my best, and I’ll be good.”

Cooper thinks the competition that Law saw at the semistate will prepare him for what he will see this weekend.

“I think the goal is a state title,” Cooper said. “Just coming from that semistate, we’ve already seen some top guys. We’re right up there with the top guys. Anybody up there at the top, you could probably interchange those. In that weight class, I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite. It’s just who can put together the best three matches on Saturday.”

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