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The Indiana wrestling program and IU head coach Angel Escobedo have announced the addition of Nick Willham to the program. 

Greenwood, Ind. | Greenwood High School
Projected Weight Class: 197
2x Johnson county champion
3x mid-state conference champion
3x sectional champion
Regional champion
2019 IHSAA state runner-up
2x Academic All-State honorable mention

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Really excited for the future of this program!
http://www.therepublic.com/2019/04/20/rookie_rewards__east_graduate_named_iu_wrestling_freshman_of_the_year/

While redshirting at Indiana University this season, Graham Rooks couldn’t travel with the team, had to pay his own way into tournaments and couldn’t be coached at meets by the school’s coaching staff, per NCAA rules.

So Rooks’ parents Ben and Michelle paid $50 to $100 for Graham to enter six tournaments, drove him to events — some as far as nine hours away — and Ben sat in his corner on the mat to coach him while Graham put together an impressive freshman year.

"I’m really thankful for that," Graham said.

Despite being a redshirt, the Columbus East graduate was recognized last week as the Hoosiers Freshman of the Year at the team’s postseason banquet.

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Columbus East graduate and Indiana University freshman Graham Rooks, top, competes in the Michigan State Open.
Columbus East graduate and Indiana University freshman Graham Rooks, right, competes in the Michigan State Open.
Columbus East graduate and Indiana University freshman Graham Rooks, right, competes in the Michigan State Open.
Columbus East graduate Graham Rooks is Indiana University wrestling's Freshman of the Year.
Columbus East graduate Graham Rooks, left, is pictured with Indiana University assistant wrestling coach Mike Dixon after winning the team's Freshman of the Year honors.
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"I was happy," Graham said. "I didn’t even know it was an award. It felt like some of the work had paid off. I just wanted to prove myself as the hardest working guy on the team, so everyone else would want to work as hard and we would improve as a team. It felt like the coaches saw my hard work, and they recognized it."

In the tournaments in which he competed as an individual, Graham placed in five and won one. He won the 149-pound division at the Cleveland State Open and finished third at 149 in the Edinboro Open.

"I thought I did well," Graham said. "It was definitely a lot of learning, just trying new things, because as a redshirt, it’s not really about your wins and losses, it’s about what you learn because college wrestling is a lot different than high school wrestling or middle school or anything else."

Graham finished with a 15-7 record this winter.

"I think he did a great job," IU coach Angel Escobedo said. "He brings intensity every day. I think just with his work ethic and the way he has passion for his sport, before we knew it, he was going to win a tournament. I was not really surprised, but happy about the levels he was able to jump. I can see him progressing even more in the future. He’s on the right path to making the national tournament. That’s what he’s driven toward, and that’s where I see him."

Because the Big Ten Conference does not have an Open division, Graham could not compete in that. However, he did make the trip to Minnesota to watch the Hoosiers compete.

Escobedo is counting on Graham being the starter at 149 next year.

"He’s the front-runner for that right now," Escobedo said. "Nobody is going to be giving him that spot, but if he gets in the lineup, his expectations will be shooting for nationals."

Graham will have a couple of his former high school teammates, including his brother Cayden, in Bloomington next year. Cayden and fellow East senior Nick South won state titles this season and will join Graham, who won a state title as a senior last year.

Escobedo plans to redshirt Cayden Rooks and South next season, like he did with Graham this year.

"They’re bringing in a level of intensity and dedication and passion for the sport that you’re looking for," Escobedo said. "It’s going to be refreshing to have those three guys from Columbus East in the room every day."

Cayden has been driving to Bloomington four times a week to work out with Graham. When Cayden saw Graham’s Freshman of the year plaque, he had a message for Escobedo.

"After our banquet, Cade came up to me and said, ‘You might as well keep the Rooks name on there because I’m going to win it next year,’" Escobedo said.


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Brock Hudkins - Danville, IN. NIU transfer. 2X state champ in 2015 and 2016.

@Brock_Hudkins: I will be furthering my academic and athletic career at Indiana University, I want to thank everyone who has supported me through this stressful time. I believe it’s about time for me to come home! @IndianaWR

Trackwrestling profile

NIU profile

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@IndianaWR: 7 State Championships; 458-29 Combined Record.

Congrats to Asa, Cayden and Nick on All-America Honors! 

https://bit.ly/2WPtSl3

Asa Garcia (Avon, Ind.), Cayden Rooks (Columbus East, Ind.) and Nick South (Columbus East, Ind.) earned All-America honors. The trio were among four Indiana high school wrestlers that were recognized.
 
Garcia is a three-time state champion and finished his high school career with a 162-12 overall record.
 
Rooks is a two-time state champion and finished his high school career with a 171-6 record.
 
South is a two-time state champion and finished his high school career with a 125-11 record.
 
The trio also finished strong in the classroom as all three had a GPA over 3.5 or above.
 

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