Mishawaka senior Josh Harper is on a quest to win his fourth individual state wrestling championship. Only seven wrestlers in history have done that.
But then what?
The Big Ten Conference and NCAA Division I competition, that’s what, as Harper has decided to attend Michigan State on a wrestling scholarship.
Harper, who signed his letter-of-intent this week, will join a former Caveman teammate Ian Hinton in the Spartan lineup next fall.
“I think Ian being at Michigan State was definitely a factor,” said Mishawaka coach Darrick Snyder. “I know that Ian certainly did everything he could to help Josh make this decision.”
Harper, who has a 138-1 career record, was recruited heavily by top-notch college wrestling programs after winning his third individual state title last spring.
He captured a state title in the 103-pound weight class as a freshman, going 49-0. As a sophomore, Harper was 41-1 and won at 112. Then, last February, he won at 125 and finished 48-0.
Harper also won the match that clinched Mishawaka’s state team championship last spring, pinning Evansville Mater Dei’s John Sims during the finals of the team tournament at Greenwood.
This year, he will wrestle in either at 130 or 135, Snyder said.
Harper is hoping to become the second athlete from the Tribune area to claim four state titles. Howard Fisher of South Bend Central won four times from 1949-52.
Sandefer to Indianapolis
Another Mishawaka state champ, Steven Sandefer, has accepted an athletic scholarship to wrestle at the University of Indianapolis.
Sandefer, also a senior, won a state title last February in the 140-pound weight class. He finished the season 43-2.
As a sophomore, Sandefer went 44-5 and finished fifth in the state at 135. He wrestled at Penn High School his freshman year, completing a 45-3 record.
His career record stands at 132-10.