Alex Bradburn has been happy to play a part in Nate Trawick’s wrestling career.
Bradburn is one of Trawick’s practice partners, and will occasionally give Richmond’s senior heavyweight advice.
Trawick, too, gives Bradburn advice, and not just about sports — though it was through sports Trawick gave his friend a special moment.
Trawick claimed the 285-pound crown at the New Castle semistate in double overtime, earning a second straight trip to the state finals in the process.
He was determined to win last Saturday’s tournament in honor of Bradburn’s grandmother, Kathie, who recently passed away.
“Him doing that just meant the world to me,” said Bradburn, a junior who also plays on the defensive line with Trawick in football. “I couldn’t be there to help him out, couldn’t help my friend do something. For him to say he’s going to do it for her and for me, it’s crazy.
“I was really speechless. I kind of broke down when he texted me … I just had a little moment.”
“It really meant a lot,” Trawick said. “I lost my grandmother the same way. It meant a lot to him. I’d do it again, any day of the week.”
Trawick’s wrestling career has been made up of many positive moments for the three-sport standout, even if he started on the mat late.
Trawick has been making up for lost time ever since. A state qualifier in track who will play Division I football at Miami University, Trawick didn’t start wrestling until his freshman season.
Even then, it was more about improving for football than having prolonged wrestling success.
That changed midway through Trawick’s sophomore season when he realized the potential he had at heavyweight.
It’s a potential Trawick seized. He’s won back-to-back regional championships, ascended to the top of the podium of the prestigious Spartan Classic and passed Ben Wissel for the top spot on Richmond’s career wins list.
Trawick is currently 45-1 and ranked third in his weight class, according to indianamat.com.
“Nate is a tremendous, likeable kid,” said RHS coach Jeremy Bane. “Coaches, fans, spectators from other teams, his teammates, they all have the utmost respect for him. He cares about people.
“Great young man. Great character. Great human being to have around in any program.”
He now has his attention set on advancing to Saturday.
Trawick fell in the opening round at state a year ago. He worked to make it back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and he’s working toward improving on his showing as a junior.
He’ll wrestle Jennings County sophomore Brendan Sutton (39-8) on Friday, with the winner advancing to face either Columbia City’s Drew Cummings (34-4) or Penn’s Cory Christman (33-4) in Saturday’s quarterfinal round.
Also on Trawick’s side of the bracket is Norman Oglesby of Ben Davis. The 32-0 senior is ranked second in the state, and was runner-up a year ago.
Shawn Streck of Merrilliville is 42-0 and ranked No. 1. He finished third at last year’s state meet.
“My second trip back, it’s not as nerve-wracking as it was the first time,” Trawick said. “I’m definitely looking forward to coming back. I just want to win Friday night. One match at a time. Just come out aggressive, come out and do my offense.”
Trawick categorized semistate as “unfinished business.”
He wanted that first semistate title, and the favorable draw that went with it for the state finals.
“It was another roadblock,” he said.
“Last year I was just happy going to state, and it was a cool experience. This year, I think that’s the difference. I’m not content to just take a trip there. I want to go and I want to win. That’s the No. 1 goal — go out there and win the first match.”
Wrestling begins at 6 p.m. Friday. Quarterfinals are 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with semifinals to follow. The consolation round starts at 5 p.m. and the finals at 7:30.
While Trawick was the lone Red Devil a year ago at state, he’ll have company this year. Sophomore Alston Bane will compete at 145 pounds.
“It’s great, another partner in here to push me every day,” Bane said. “He’s a senior, so it’s great for him. It’s nice to have somebody to go with, somebody to walk with.”
Trawick and Bane both noted their state aspirations in the preseason, each kidding the other about which of the Red Devils would finish higher.
They’ve continued to push one another throughout the season.
“It’s great for our program to get two kids to state,” coach Bane said. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve had multiple qualifiers. Both kids have worked hard, supported each other. For the two of them to get there together, it’s very exciting.”
Trawick was edged 3-2 a year ago by West Lafayette’s John Duvall.
He already avenged the lone loss he received in 2014-15. Trawick fell to Greensburg’s Nathan Hayes at the Columbus East Invitational. The two met in a rematch two weeks later in the finals of the Spartan Classic in Connersville.
Trawick pinned Hayes in the second period.
“He knows where he needs to be,” coach Bane said. “When it comes time to make that move for the win, he’s confident he’s going to to get the job done, and most of the time, he does.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI