INDIANAPOLIS — The journey between a wrestling coach and grappler is a long arduous one for each person involved, especially if the latter is talented. The hours put in to become not only good, but great, can take a toll on both as they search to become without equal, working in unison to perfect their relationship and skills to bring out the very best in one another.
That relationship becomes a double-edged sword when the pair is related, especially at such a developmental age as the high school level.
For Ben Davis coach Aaron Moss and his son Levi, their high school journey together as coach and grappler effectively came to an end last Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Levi finished his career as a Giant with a fifth-place finish at the 75th annual IHSAA Wrestling State Finals.
“I mean, I couldn’t be more proud as a father,” Aaron said as a tear rolled down his right cheek. “What a great career. Being dad and coach, it’s been such a roller coaster of ups and downs at times.”
Levi leaves high school as a four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer, along with being a four-time Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference champion and the winningest wrestler in Ben Davis history.
But Levi didn’t get the fairytale ending, by walking away as a state champion. Although undefeated throughout this season, he suffered an ankle injury at the semistate competition that certainly affected his chances at a state title.
After winning his opening match 1-0 on Friday night, Levi lost 5-3 in his first match on Saturday, forcing him into the wrestlebacks.
“We knew it was going to be a gut check and after his loss, that was tough,” Aaron said.
From there, Levi had a choice: pack it in or wrestle with tenaciousness and grit. A year earlier, he may have chose to shut it down, but not this season.