JIM PETERS: Fowlers snare Calumet wrestling record

2014-02-13T17:00:00Z 2014-02-14T01:30:12Z JIM PETERS: Fowlers snare Calumet wrestling recordJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 13, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Prep wrestling in the region has a multitude of family lineages whose roots run deep in the sport.

You know the names.

Schurg, Tsirtsis, Maldonado, Escobedo. The list goes on.

At Calumet, it's Fowler.

A quartet of brothers — Nate, Noah, Nick and Kobe — have combined to win 317 matches, eclipsing the mark of 303 established by the Buffingtons in 1986.

A 2010 grad, Nate is the oldest of six boys (and one girl), but certainly not the first Fowler to wrestle for the Warriors. Among other relatives, his dad Artty was a senior on coach Jim Wadkins' first team in 1991 and his uncle Eddie was a two-time state qualifier.

Nate won 119 matches in his career. Nick, a junior who will wrestle in Saturday's Merrillville Semistate, stands at 98. Noah, a senior, finished with 84 victories, while Kobe, a freshman, earned 16 wins in an injury-shortened season.

"They're just incredibly strong kids," Wadkins said. "It's a solid family. They're very supportive of the kids. Their favorite sport by far is probably football, but they've had a lot more individual success in wrestling."

Nate is now on Wadkins' staff, a testament to his experience wearing the Calumet singlet.

"I have a passion to coach," Nate said. "What better way than to come back to my old high school and coach my three brothers?"

Both Wadkins and assistant Andy Trevino, a '91 state champ for Calumet, tell Nate all the time that Nick wrestles just like him.

"I want him to surpass everything I've done," Nate said. "To be up there with the top dogs, you have to put in the work, the time. I've told them I set the standard and I hope they surpass me in all my stuff."

At some point next season, Nick will eclipse Nate in wins. If Nick reaches the century mark Saturday, he'd be Wadkins' first junior to reach 100 Ws. More importantly, it will mean he's the first of the Fowler brothers to qualify for state.

"That's a big deal," Wadkins said.

With seventh grader A.J. on the way, the Fowler timeline will continue to 2019. Wadkins doesn't expect to be in the chair if/when Kade Fowler, age 5, gets into the sport.

"I hope to be around, but I hope not to be one of the coaches," Wadkins said. "I have no crazy longevity goals like that."

Numbers aside, Wadkins takes great pride in the positive impact he's had on the Fowlers and so many other boys in his program. In an ultra blue-collar school district situated far from the lap of luxury, he's steered many a kid out of harm's way onto the right path.

"Calumet wrestling's saved a lot of kids' lives," he said. "We've developed skills, attributes that will pay dividends down the road. When they come back, it may not be the records they remember, it will be being a part of something.

"Not every kid is going to get a Master's degree, a Ph. D., and be a professional, but if they come with a work ethic every day, they'll be able to take care of themselves and their family. Then I'll feel like I've done my job."

The Fowlers are proof of that.

"Wrestling teaches you a lot of things," Nate said. "You have to have pride in the sport. You can't be soft-minded or you'll never have your hand raised on the mat. You spend all the time in the room, the hours of sweat, getitng beat up, you don't go out there to lose. Whether you have a great career, decent or mediocre, it definitely builds character."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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