There are names painted on the wall in the Calumet wrestling room. Each one was a previous Warriors wrestler who qualified for or placed at the state meet.
Senior Alec Noworul is fifth in career wins (128) at Calumet — having just passed assistant coach Andy Trevino — but his name is not yet on that list.
He's desperate to remedy that situation.
"My main goal this year was to qualify and place at state," Noworul said. "I felt like I was close last year and that motivated me so much."
The 132-pounder has twice qualified for semistate. He admits that he was beaten badly in the first round of the semistate as a freshman by Harrison's Reise Overby. Noworul was overwhelmed, nervous and not the technically proficient wrestler he is now.
"He is a student of the sport, watches everything he can see on the (Big Ten Network) about college wrestling," coach Jim Wadkins said. "He has become more patient, or more mat savvy, this season. Some guys are so aggressive for falls that they put themselves in bad situations.
"At this stage of the season, the goal is to make it through to the next match, then the next week. You don't have to have falls and (technical falls) to qualify for the state finals."
Noworul missed the postseason during his sophomore season with a broken thumb. It was difficult to watch wrestlers with whom he felt he could compete advance though playoffs.
He took a 3-2 loss to Valparaiso's Max Buckley as a junior. Buckley would go on to be the last state qualifier from the Merrillville semistate.
This year, Noworul says, he understands what it takes.
"I'm wrestling the best I ever have right now," Noworul said. "I expected everything to just happen last year. Now, I know you have to work. I know what to expect."
Noworul plans to wrestle next season at Manchester College, where he'll major in civil engineering. But first he's got some unfinished business, beginning with Saturday's Calumet regional.
"It would be extremely gratifying (to see Noworul's name on the wall)," Wadkins said. "That's a nice legacy to leave behind for any of our kids, not to mention pretty cool to see your name up there in perpetuity."