His weight class is heavyweight, but Ryley Harlow doesn't fit the stereotype of wrestling's biggest division, where matches often resemble slow dances.
"That's not how I think of wrestling," the Chesterton senior said. "I like the shooting aspect, moving, not just standing there."
Harlow took up the sport before he was even in school, winning a state championship while he was in elementary school before his interest waned and he took several years off. Upon his return as a sophomore, he had grown significantly.
"When he was in club, he was a little guy, so he knows how to wrestle like a little guy," Trojans coach Chris Joll said. "Coach (Keith) Davison works with Ryley and he was like, 'Why should we make him wrestle like a heavyweight when he doesn't look like a heavyweight? There are a specific set of things he does that aren't like a heavyweight. He looks like a 138-pounder wrestling a fat 138-pounder. It's fun to watch."
Despite his time off, Harlow cracked the varsity lineup upon his return to wrestling two years ago. He qualified for regionals, going 15-15.
"I think I like it more now than when I was little," Harlow said. "It's fun stuff."
Harlow's return, however, was short-lived. He missed the latter portion of his junior football season with a bulging disc in his neck. He was cleared to return for wrestling, but at just about this point last year, the discomfort became too much to continue.
"There was no point," he said. "I wasn't wrestling as good as I could. I was like dead weight."
Time and rest healed Harlow, a big reason the football team shared the Duneland Athletic Conference title. His success has continued on the mat, where Harlow who weighs between 235 and 240, is off to a 6-0 start.
"It feels good," he said. "I knew I was missing it. Just watching it last year, seeing people I'd beaten doing well, it was kind of painful. I'm seeing things now, feeling things that I didn't see before. now My goal's to get to Indy. I want to get my name on that (state qualifiers) board. I'm ready to go. I just have to keep practicing, keep conditioning."
It's too early to get an accurate gauge on the season, but Joll likes what he sees of Harlow so far.
"We don't know a whole lot yet," Joll said. "He may be really good. He's really strong, really powerful. He's just hard, tough to the point. He likes banging heads. He believes in what coach Davison tells him to do and he has no problem trying it. Some guys have a problem putting the screws to people, but Ryley has no problem going out there and squeezing heads. He doesn't have an easy button."
The demeanor serves Harlow well, whether he's wearing a helmet and pads or headgear and a singlet.
"Toughness is a big thing in wrestling," he said. "You don't see anybody who's really good who's not tough. It's only six minutes, compared to 48 (in football), but I think it's a tougher six, more of a challenge. It's one on one. There's no on else to put the blame. It's nobody's fault but yours."