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Crown Point’s Will Clark wins state championship


Had there been more games, Crown Point senior Will Clark would have been ready.

However Clark, a football player from BuffaloHe came to the end of his career on the mat.

“I’m sorry it’s all over,” he said. “I wish I could keep going. But my body will start to feel better now.”

It’s not like Clark can wrestle better. He won his second state title and capped off his high school career by defeating Lawrence North senior Brandon Johnson in the first period of the championship match in the 215-pound weight class in Evansville on Saturday.

Clark was the only wrestler from Northwest Indiana to win a state title, finishing third behind two-time defending team champion Crown Point (121 points), winner Brownsburg (124.5) and runner-up Center Grove (121.5). Four other area wrestlers finished second: Lake Central senior Mason Jones 106, Chesterton senior Hayden DeMarco At 132, Crown Point freshman Clinton Shepherd is 138 and Merrillville junior Adrian Fields at 157.

Clark (33-3), who won the state championship last season with 220 points, said he was finally relieved.

“When I came to this tournament and achieved this, I can feel the weight lifted off my chest,” he said. “Not that there was any doubt in my mind, but I was a little more worried. It’s over now. I have it too. And not many guys get to win two state championships, so I’m really excited about that.”

Clark’s concern stemmed from his late start to the season. The first official practice was on Oct. 30, but Clark didn’t start wrestling until after Thanksgiving because he was busy with Crown Point’s football team. Reached Class 6A state championship game. His first meet was Dec. 9 in Ohio with the nationally recognized Walsh Jesuit Ironman.

“I needed to get back into the wrestling scene,” Clark said. “I needed to get back into the swing of knowing when to warm up and how to get my mind ready to wrestle.”

Crown Point’s Will Clark (left) wrestles against Hanover Central’s Jayden Bartoszek in the 215-pound championship match on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at East Chicago Central Semistate. (Andy Lavalley / Post-Tribune)

Clark’s only three losses this season have come in this meet, and Crown Point coach Branden Lorek said Clark has rediscovered his old form just by trying to bring it out.

“It just kept showing up,” Lorek said. “He didn’t complain. He never took a day off. He was always motivated. “He has a big heart.”

Clark had a partner on that journey, too, the partner he’s had since birth: his twin brother Paul, a three-time state qualifier who will also play football at Buffalo.

“It was a lot of hard work and it was probably a little difficult for him to get into wrestling shape because of the weight class he was in,” Paul Clark said.

While Paul Clark (29-4) competed at the 285 kilo weight weight, Will Clark had to drop from 225-230 kilos in football to 215 kilos in wrestling.

Will Clark said it wasn’t easy, but that’s exactly why he did it.

“I showed you that you can go a whole football season, finish in the top two in the state, then go straight to wrestling and still do it,” he said. “This shows a different mentality that some people have. “It just comes from my coaches, my family and the motivation I have to keep going.”

But there was one lasting disappointment for Will Clark and his teammates: Crown Point did not win the team championship. This was already out of his reach when he entered the championship match, and he used it as an extra boost.

“We wanted this three-peat,” Will Clark said. “This just sucks. But I went out there and won for them. “This gave me more motivation than I ever had.”

After all this, Will Clark was looking forward to a day off.

“I have been doing sports non-stop since the summer, since these sports tired me out,” he said. “Football and wrestling are not easy on the body.”

Then Will Clark’s face lit up as he remembered that Monday was Presidents Day.

“And we don’t have a school,” he said. “I’m going to sleep for a very long time.”

Dave Melton is a freelance reporter.


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