La PORTE — A mere day after he lost in the ticket round at semistate last year, one win shy of state, Tyson Nisley was back at it.
The La Porte wrestler was immediately training aiming to improve. The grind is paying off so far this season for the Slicer senior.
"It's a bad taste in my mouth and I don't want to end this season with that same taste," Nisley said.
Nisley had one of the five pins La Porte registered Wednesday, and it also capitalized on seven Michigan City forfeits, guiding it to an easy 75-6 win over the county nemesis Wolves in a Duneland Athletic Conference matchup on the Slicers' Senior Night.
“I really tried to push to the team after the season ended to keep on wrestling,” Nisley said. “Because a lot of our guys definitely have that potential. The best wrestlers in the state are wrestling almost all year around.”
Nisley closed the contest with a first-period pin in the 145-pound weight class over Ryan Utpatel.
"He's got goals and aspirations to make it down to the state tournament," La Porte coach Louie Kuzdas said. "Every single person who steps on the mat is a challenge for him and he's going to take that head on."
That demeanor has helped Nisley thrive early in the season. He claimed his weight division in the season-opening War on the Wabash Invitational at Lafayette Harrison on Nov. 29-30, then won his weight class in the Slicers' own invitational last Saturday.
Nisley recognizes that adapting to the ever-changing situations in a match has been beneficial, an area where he feels he's improved the most.
"I've learned to be good being uncomfortable," Nisley said. "Because before I'd wrestle and things would get uncomfortable and I'd be like, 'Man, it's something I'm not doing right.' And I kind of realized it's a wrestling match, it's supposed to be uncomfortable. It's not learning about how to get comfortable because the best athletes in the world get uncomfortable during their matches. It's being able to wrestle while being uncomfortable."
In the offseason, Nisley competed in roughly 12 tournaments and traveled all over the country, from Disney World in Florida to the area around La Porte.
He is cautiously optimistic in his last chance at advancing to the state finals.
"I'm definitely thinking a lot about it," Nisley said. "But at the same time, I'm not trying to stress myself out too much about it because if I'm in my ticket round match and I'm like, 'Oh, crap, I might not make it and all this,' it's going to affect me in that match. I've spent a lot of hours trying to become the best in the state. And to see that all starting to come together, it's kind of reassuring."
Also tallying pins for the Slicers (9-5, 1-2 DAC) were Matt Neff (170), Jaden Browder (182), Drew Kubaszyk (220), and Nick Elshire (285).
“We came into this looking actually down the road because they're in the sectional,” Kuzdas said, referring to Michigan City. “And we have to win and get better seeds and things like that towards the end of the season. Even early-season individual matches and duals count for that seeding towards the end of the season.”
All of the Slicers' pins came in the opening period.
Neff pinned Jimmie Cooper, and Browder beat Chandler Antrim by fall. Kubaszyk defeated Julyan Tucker by pin, while Elshire dispatched Donte Morland by fall.
“It's tough with a young team in the DAC,” first-year City coach Chris Deutscher said. “La Porte's had a steady coach and a steady program for some time. There's a lot of credit and a lot of work and effort that goes into it. It's not easy when you've got turnover and you've got two seniors and no juniors. There were some good things we did.”
Sophomore Jordan Watkins earned the Wolves' lone victory, recording a pin at 126 pounds over Thad Blevins in the first period.
“He's a first-year guy,” Deutscher said of Watkins. “He's strong, he's athletic and he's got a drive that few match. He comes in and he works hard. If something's not perfect, he's upset and he's only been wrestling for a month-and-a-half or two months.”
To begin the night, La Porte's Jamaal Salary prevailed 4-3 over Kamare Dunlap in a hard-fought match in the 160-pound weight division. It was Dunlap's first loss.
City forfeited at 195, 106, 113, 120, 132, 138, and 152. That gave the Slicers 42 points. Scheduled to compete for them at those spots were Carter Rudolph, Ashton Jackson, Brecken Joseph, Angillo Mitchell, Gabe Steffen, Leevi Fergueson, and Jerome Trae Anderson.
La Porte’s junior varsity won 81-0.
La Porte 75, Michigan City 6
The Slicers' Tyson Nisley, Matt Neff, Jaden Browder, Drew Kubaszyk and Nick Elshire had pins.