Perry Meridian's success on the mat is a family affair

Perry Meridian's success on the mat is a family affair

News

Perry Meridian's success on the mat is a family affair

160 pound winner Christian Warren of Perry Meridian High School (left), works against Elijah Mahan of Roncalli High School, during this title match, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

160 pound winner Christian Warren of Perry Meridian High School (left), works against Elijah Mahan of Roncalli High School, during this title match, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

INDIANAPOLIS –
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Georgia}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}
Beneath dimmed fluorescent lights, Noah Warren lies down on the mat and closes his eyes. In the darkness, he can see and hear everything. The stands are filled with screaming fans. His Perry Meridian coaches and teammates standing around the green mats, rooting him on against his opponent.

Warren remembers the exact atmosphere of competing for a state title after making it to last year’s quarterfinals at 160 pounds, but he also sees something only from his imagination: His cousin, senior Christian Warren, standing next to him, both of them newly crowned state champions.

“I’ve been thinking about this ever since he moved here, both of us winning it together,” Noah Warren said, now wrestling at 152 pounds and ranked No. 2 in the state. “It would make it even better.”

Prior to Christian’s family moving from Mooresville to Indianapolis two years ago, the second cousins’ interactions were limited to offseason tournaments and family gatherings around the holidays. Now, the two see each other every day, grab food together after practice and root for each other at every match.

On the practice mats, the Warrens couldn’t be more different. Noah is aggressive and goofy, keeping the mood light and his teammates loose. Christian is quieter and more methodical, never stopping to joke around and keeping his eyes forward.

“The one thing they do have in common is they work their tails off,” Perry Meridian coach Matt Schoettle said. “Christian will just go about it and you’ll never know. Noah is more flashy. I think having those wide range of personalities on any team is good. Opposites attract I guess.”

Noah Warren of Perry Meridian High School, is controlled by eventual second place finisher Walter Ballinger of Beech Grove High School, during this 152 pound championship match, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

Noah Warren of Perry Meridian High School, is controlled by eventual second place finisher Walter Ballinger of Beech Grove High School, during this 152 pound championship match, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

One similarity? Their results. Both were crowned regional champions this past weekend and now turn their attention to Saturday’s semistate matches at New Castle. In a combined 78 matches, the Warren duo has lost just once all season.

“Having that cousin bond on the team, it’s different than being at Mooresville,” Christian said. “Because at Mooresville, yeah, (teammates) were your friends. But having your cousin around, it’s your family, too.”

The Warren presence around the Perry Meridian wrestling scene is not just limited to Noah and Christian. Nearly everywhere you look around a Falcons wrestling practice, there is a Warren present.

Both of Christian’s uncles, Alex and Alfred, rarely miss a day of practice and dedicate time to helping train the team. Alfred wrestled for Mooresville in the late 2000s, while Alex went on to compete for IU after winning a state championship as a senior.

Out in the hallway of the practice gym, Stephanie Warren, Noah’s mom, can usually be found working on paperwork for the team — Schoettle calls her the team’s president. She has been involved in wrestling since she met Noah’s father, Lewis, back in high school. Lewis heads up the middle school team and helps out at the elementary level.

“If I didn’t have the Warrens, I would quit my job — I’m not kidding,” Schoettle said. “That’s how much they help. That’s how much the Warrens mean to this program.”

Noah Warren of Perry Meridian High School (top), works against Walter Ballinger of Beech Grove High School, during this 152 championship match, won by Warren, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

Noah Warren of Perry Meridian High School (top), works against Walter Ballinger of Beech Grove High School, during this 152 championship match, won by Warren, IHSAA Wrestling Regional, from Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

Both of the Warrens came to Schoettle at the beginning of the season and told him they felt more comfortable wrestling down a weight class. Schoettle warned Noah wrestling at 152 pounds would mean going through Joe Lee of Evansville Mater Dei, who is committed to Penn State and won last year’s state title at 132 pounds. But Noah didn’t care. He didn’t mind the challenge if he thought he could perform better.

“Well, once Christian heard that, he was like, ‘I want to go to 160,’” Schoettle said. “And I was like, ‘If you guys are confident and want to do that, I’m not going to stop you.’”

If the Warrens have their way, nothing will stop them. Each cousin may take a different approach to earning his chance to stand beneath the spotlight, but both share a vision of standing there together, proudly bearing their family name.

“We both just really bond over wrestling,” Noah said. “That’s all we talk about. It’s just cool, repping my family, getting everyone to know the Warren name.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07.

More USA Today High School Sports
Home