Carmel’s 2015 girls swim team has established itself as perhaps the best in U.S. history and certainly the best ever in Indiana.
In conjunction with that, The Indianapolis Star is selecting all-time best teams in the 19 other Indiana high school sports. Selections were made in consultation with experts from around the state.
Two teams from Marion County made a case for best ever in wrestling:
The 2005 Lawrence North squad that went 29-0, featured three-time state champ Reece Humphrey and rolled through the team state tournament.
Perry Meridian’s 2013 squad that dominated the in-season team tournament before setting a state record for points at the state meet — winning three individual titles — and taking home a third successive state championship.
But the No. 1 distinction goes to what Evansville Mater Dei coach Mike Goebel calls his best-ever squad, the 2003 squad. That’s saying a lot, considering Goebel coached the Wildcats to 12 state titles.
“The team would have to rate as the best I have coached and, in my opinion, as the best in Indiana history,” Goebel said. “No team in modern wrestling history has left (such) a mark to match.”
The Wildcats sent 10 wrestlers to the individual state meet and placed seven of those third or higher. They won four state titles: Craig Weinzapfel, Dustin Nosko, Sam Wildeman and Blake Maurer. It was the third of what would be four individual titles for Maurer, who went on to qualify for the NCAA tournament at Ohio State.
Weinzapfel was a two-time state champ. Matt Coughlin — who finished second that season — would go on to win two state titles before earning All-America honors at IU.
Coughlin said some of the best competition the team faced that year came inside the Mater Dei wrestling room.
“Imagine half of your lineup being top three in the state,” he said. “There was no place to hide. If you were in that room, you were getting tougher and getting better.”
Unofficially, the Wildcats scored what would have been a record 158 points at the individual state meet; point totals weren’t kept because of the team state tournament. But the following week, Mater Dei reaffirmed its dominance.
The Wildcats downed a 26-0 Perry Meridian squad 54-9 and beat No. 2 Bellmont 48-11. They won the team tournament with a 42-23 victory over No. 3 Griffith, which featured three state champions. The Wildcats finished 23-1, losing only to Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio.
“Going into that season we knew what we were capable of, and so did our coaches, but they did a great job of keeping us level-headed and not underestimating any opponent,” Coughlin said. “I’ll always remember our 2003 team. It was great to be a part of that atmosphere.”