Mitch Rusch has a 41-4 record this season and is the state’s No. 2-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds behind Dominic Lampe of St. Xavier. Rusch is seeking his fifth straight regional title this weekend at Western Hills. He won at 113 pounds as an eighth-grader, 119 as a freshman, 145 as a sophomore and 160 as a junior. He has qualified for the state tournament every year, starting in the seventh grade when he competed at 103.
How did you get started in wrestling?
(Brothers) Dean and Kent wrestled in middle school, and Chase and I went to their matches. Chase began wrestling after that, and I went to his matches, and I wrestled him at home.
You played catcher in baseball. That’s not an easy position, but was that tougher than wrestling?
No. There’s a lot more movement in wrestling, and you have the opportunity to push yourself more.
Have you ever wrestled St. X’s Lampe?
Not in a match. Three years ago Chase wrestled Lampe’s older brother, John, and our parents became friends with their parents. The Lampes invited us over to their house once, and I wrestled Dominic then.
How do you feel about this year’s state tournament?
I feel really good about my chances, but it’s going to be a tough tournament. I want to give it my all so I won’t have any regrets.
What’s been your biggest thrill in wrestling?
Placing fourth at State in the eighth grade. I had a lot of big moments throughout that tournament. I was really proud of myself. (He has a 2-2 record in his last three state meets).
What do you do for enjoyment or relaxation?
I get out in the woods and hunt for waterfowl, deer, turkey and squirrels. I like to fish on our family farm at Nolin Lake. Last summer I worked on the river as a boat valet, taking boats out and pulling them in for people.
What are your future plans?
I haven’t decided whether to go to college or go into the military. I’ve been invited to visit St. Catharine College and Lindsey Wilson for wrestling. It’s a big decision. I’m interested in what a military career offers. Both of my grandfathers were in the military.
MITCH RUSCH UP CLOSE
* School: North Oldham. Year: Senior. Sport: Wrestling. * Student-athlete: Rusch has a 3.16 GPA and a schedule that includes graphic design, history through film and forensic science. “I like my classes a lot,” he said. “They keep me interested.” He also tutors special education students. He played JV baseball as a freshman and sophomore before concentrating on wrestling. He has wrestled on the varsity since the seventh grade. * Family: Rusch lives with his mother, Carol, father, Perry, and brother, Chase, who wrestled for North Oldham before graduating two years ago. Chase wrestled for Lindsey Wilson College last year and now attends Jefferson Community College. Mitch’s other brothers, twins Dean and Kent, 24, are in the Army Reserve. * Coach Tony Zeppa: “Mitch has been wrestling for a long time. His brother, Chase, wrestled for us, so Mitch is always getting challenged by his brother, who is one of our graduate assistant coaches. Mitch is a four-time regional champion who placed fourth at State in the 113-pound class as an eighth-grader. We’re expecting Mitch to get to the 160 state finals this year.”
— Bob White