Jordan Winkle remembers the first words that came out of Dustyn Hangen’s mouth after being eliminated from the wrestling semistate as a junior.
“He lost, I believe by six points in the ticket round to go into state, and the first thing he said after he got off the mat, was ‘I’m going next year,’” said Winkle, who was an assistant at Winchester before taking over as head coach this year.
It hasn’t been easy for Hangen, now a senior, but Winkle describes him as goal-oriented.
Hangen’s goal of reaching the state finals became reality last Saturday when he placed fourth at the IHSAA Fort Wayne Snider semistate.
The 220-pounder punched his ticket by pinning Layne Emery of Huntington North in 25 seconds, becoming the first Winchester wrestler to qualify for state since Adam Chalfant won a heavyweight title in 285.
Hangen (39-3) will face undefeated Kobe Woods (40-0) of Penn in Friday’s opening round.
“Coming off the mat last year, it was the second round, which is the ticket round, I lost 11-7 last year against a senior from Peru and as soon as I got up, I was determined that I’d come back this year,” Hangen said.
That followed with an off-season of weightlifting and Hangen said he weighed 250 pounds by the time football season rolled along.
Hangen made the switch from quarterback to tight end as the Falcons advanced to a sectional final and finished second in the Tri-Eastern Conference, then, it was back to cutting weight for the 220-pound weight class.
Hangen said he wrestled 170 as a freshman, 195 the next two years and 220 as a senior.
His junior wrestling season was in jeopardy as Hangen broke his arm during Winchester’s football game at Tri High.
“We thought that injury might keep him out last year, too. He ended up making it back before our first match,” Winkle said.
Hangen went on to win Randolph County and Tri-Eastern Conference titles at 195 and advanced to semistate.
More goals came this year.
“I have the kids write five goals and that was one of his goals was to make it to state,” Winkle said.
Goal No. 1 was accomplished last Saturday.
“I know that the No. 1 goal was to make it to state,” Hangen said. “Second was to win county, win conference, sectionals and fifth goal was to become a better team leader.”
A win Friday night guarantees a spot in the top eight, which all get medals.
Quarterfinals are 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by consolation matches at 5 p.m. with the finals at 7:30.
“I’m just going to out there and wrestle the best match of my life,” Hangen said. “Whatever happens, it’s my last weekend of wrestling, so I’m going to give it my all.”
AT A GLANCE
What: IHSAA State wrestling finals
When/where: 1st round 6 p.m. Friday; quarterfinals 9:30 a.m., consolations 5 p.m., finals 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
Cost: $8 per session or $20 for both days
Area qualifiers: Centerville’s Isaiah Michaels, Richmond’s Alston Bane and Nate Trawick, Winchester’s Dustyn Hangen