Wrestlers head to state


Senior Makhi Watts stands on the podium at the semi-state wrestling competition.

Erin Nolan

The IHSAA boy’s wrestling state championship will be held this Friday and Saturday at Gainbridge Field House. NC has three athletes who will be competing: Oliver Wilson, Clifton Johnson and Makhi Watts. 

Watts is a senior in the 285lb weight class. He has a record of 35-5 and has placed first at sectionals, second at regionals and first again at semi-state. It is his second year at state and he is looking like a strong contestant for this year’s state finals. 

“I started in sixth grade, My older brother Jamichael brought me into it, I saw it was fun and competitive and I like contact sports so that’s what pushed me to do it,” said Watts.

Watts has been wrestling competitively for seven years now, which is not a surprise based on how he has been performing at his tournaments. Watts has idols when it comes to wrestling.

“My brother because he inspired me to do the sport. I look up to my dad because he pushes me consistently to excel in the sport,” said Watts.

He has been working hard to prepare himself for state. 

“What I’ve been doing all season, working hard, drilling hard with Coach Bailey, and pushing myself in the sprints,” said Watts.

Many thoughts go through Watts’ head before he steps onto the mat for each match. He has a strong mindset and wants to win.

“Just taking it one match at a time and advancing. I just have to go out there and win,” said Watts.

This year Watts will start off his matches against Brayden Jellison, a junior from Elkhart. 

Having a calm mentality helps Watts before his matches, and having the short-term goal to win his match allows him to take it step by step and not get too far ahead of himself.

For state, Watts’ goals are to make it to the finals or place top three or four, he said that would be big for him. Having goals for himself helps Watts prepare for state and push himself to focus and do well.