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Tuesday, Dec. 5
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Sheridan avenges an old loss


Junior Luke Sheridan stands behind the coaches, waiting for his match to begin. He has a poised, fixated look out at the mat as if there is nothing on his mind besides the next 10 minutes of wrestling.

He strides out onto the mat. He displays a large tattoo of a grandfather clock on his left arm and an equally sizeable tattoo of a lion on his right thigh.

He walks to the far edge of the circle and taps his shoes together.

He does this preceding each match, right before he makes his way to the center to face his next opponent.

Sheridan said he taps his shoes together as an ode to when he used to write initials of family members on his shoes when he was younger.

Sheridan takes wrestling very personally.

“Every time I go out there, this is what I have decided to do with my life, this is what I have put my heart into,” Sheridan said. “This person is standing in front of me and my whole life, so I am not going to just let them run over me.”

The person standing in front of Sheridan today is an even more personal opponent for

Seven years earlier, Sheridan was competing in a regional 18-under tournament in which he had just won the Greco-Roman division — Sheridan’s specialty.

The next day was the freestyle tournament, and Sheridan went up against a wrestler from the state of Washington named Nick Bayer.

Sheridan may have gone in with too much confidence.

Bayer defeated Sheridan but did not end up placing in the tournament. Sheridan came back to gain third place. It was the loss that mattered to him, though.

“For seven years I have been thinking about that match, how I let my ego get the best of me,” Sheridan said. “It was tough.”

Years later at a tournament in Washington, Bayer’s dad came up to Sheridan and, when he mentioned who his son was, Sheridan knew exactly who he was talking about.

“When I lose matches in the Olympic styles I take it very personally,” Sheridan said. “But I haven’t seen him or heard of him or anything until this weekend.”

During the years after their matchup, Sheridan has placed third twice in the California state championships, and last summer he won the Junior Fila National Championships without a point being scored on him.

He also won the Junior Fila World Team Trials to go on to compete in the 21-under World Championships.

He has won the University Nationals and University World Team Trials and qualified for the World team, but he decided to stay home and focus on his collegiate wrestling and his education.

Bayer, on the other hand, has been a three-time Washington state champion and has posted winning records in his first two seasons at Northern Colorado.

Fast forward to this week, as Sheridan realized he would be facing Bayer at the Hoosier Duals.

He was elated.

“Just pure excitement,” Sheridan said. “I mean, I love avenging losses. It is one of the best feelings in the world.’”

Fast forward again to the Hoosier Duals as Sheridan and Bayer face off.
Sheridan gets off to a slow start as Bayer takes the lead. With 90 seconds left in the match, Sheridan trails 5-2.

“I looked over in my corner and Coach (Duane Goldman) looked at me and was like, ‘You can do this. Time to start wrestling,’” Sheridan said. “I decided to flip the switch and forget about the score and just start wrestling my match.”

Sheridan gets an escape with 1 minute and 9 seconds left to bring the match within two points.

Then, he goes for a double leg takedown but can’t quite get it.

With less than 30 seconds left, Sheridan receives another opportunity and nails a takedown to tie the match up at 5-5.

The match Sheridan had been waiting seven years for is going to a sudden victory period.

The first person to get a takedown wins.

Sheridan wastes no time. He takes Bayer down quickly to win the match 7-5.

“I was pretty excited to say the least,” Sheridan said.

Sheridan went on to win all five matches on the weekend, including a pin in a must-win bout in the meet against West Virginia.

The team needed points from him to stay in it. West Virginia ended up winning on tiebreaker criteria.

Sheridan did not gloat about his vengeful victory over Bayer or talk about his 5-0 outing. He said it was bittersweet because he wished the team could have won all five

Now he said he just wants to keep working toward the next competition.

The wrestler who let his ego get the best of him seven years ago no longer has an ego issue.

“Something Coach Goldman has taught me is that there is always room for improvement,” Sheridan said. “There is always something you can learn from every single match. So now I just need to go back, watch the film and get ready for the next one.”

Follow reporter Brody Miller on Twitter @BrodyMillerIDS.

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