By Rick Morwick
Wrestling doesn’t run in Peyton Pruett’s family. Or at least, it didn’t used to.
It all changed a decade ago when he followed a path blazed by his older brothers, who turned to wrestling when their basketball plans didn’t pan out.
“I started wrestling when my brothers got cut from the middle school basketball team,” Pruett said. “My dad was a basketball coach and he decided that my brothers should go out for wrestling. After they started doing it, I followed in their footsteps and started wrestling in second grade because I looked up to them.”
Today, Pruett is a senior standout on the Center Grove High School wrestling team. A four-year varsity member, he is projected to be one of the state’s top performers at 160 pounds. He was ranked fourth in the state last season at 145 pounds.
Pruett moved up a couple of weight classes this season as a natural progression of physical growth.
“My goal is that I believe that I can be a state champion this year,” he said. “I’ve fallen short a couple of times due to injuries and whatnot, but I really feel like I have a great chance at taking home the state title.
“But it’s a long road and I need to take it one match at a time.”
Despite battling injuries last season, Pruett advanced to the semistate quarterfinals, where he fell just short of reaching what would have been his first IHSAA State Meet. He finished with a 29-8 record and resolved to push himself even harder this year for a shot at a state title.
A former football player, he gave up that sport after his sophomore year to focus on wrestling. The individual challenge of wrestling is what he appreciates most about it.
“The thing I enjoy most about the sport is that the guy who wins is the guy who works the hardest in preparation for the match,” Pruett said. “There is no one else who can determine the outcome except you.”
Despite heavy graduation losses from last year’s sectional championship team, Pruett is confident the Trojans will evolve into a team force by the time sectionals begin Jan. 26. The individual and team state finals are Feb. 15-16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I really think we have a very strong team this year and I think we can do some great things,” Pruett said. “We lost a big senior class last year and we are going to need some younger guys to step up and fill their shoes, and I need to be a good role model for them.”
THE PRUETT FILE
NAME: Peyton Pruett
WEIGHT CLASS: 160 pounds
EXPERIENCE: Four-year varsity
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Watching football, hanging out with his brothers and playing Xbox One.
COLLEGE PLANS: Is still sorting options but plans to major in nursing.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: South Park
FAVORITE MOVIE: Hercules
PARENTS: Jim and Tracie Pruett