WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Thurman Stone

2014-02-24T18:00:00Z 2014-02-24T21:03:09Z WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Thurman StoneMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
February 24, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

Thurman Stone remembers a moment during the 1999 Indiana state wrestling regional.

The then-Calumet senior had pinned an opponent, but struggled with him.

His wake-up call was a talk he got from Calumet coach Jim Wadkins. He had Stone outside the Calumet locker room and challenged his 135-pounder.

"You're the toughest, meanest kid in school and you let him dominate you," Wadkins shouted to Stone.

"I remember he had some choice words about me not letting my opponent get the best of me," Stone said. "He knew what I could do and just wanted me to be the best.

"I was frustrated that whole match because every time I tried to get a single leg in, we went off the mat."

Stone answered the call and went on to win the 1999 state title at 135 pounds and he did so on Feb. 20 that year — his 18th birthday.

He beat South Bend Washington's Vinscent Minor, who handed him his lone loss a week before at the Merrillville Semisitate, for the title at Market Square Arena.

"At the time, it didn't sink in right away," Stone said. "I was proud and I just had to savor the moment. I remember looking at that medal."

Stone then took off into the stands at the downtown Indianapolis area, but was stopped on his way to the top.

"A youth coach asked me to talk to his group of little kids, so I did," Stone said. "It made me feel like a big shot and I could see how happy the kids were. I told them they could be up there one day (as a champ)."

He then was asked to address a group of young Munster youth wrestlers.

"They had a scrapbook with my articles in them and that made me feel like I was 10 feet tall," Stone said. "Eric McGill was in that group and funny, I coached most of those kids at Munster a few years later."

Stone and his twin brother, Larry, also a fine wrestler at Calumet, shared a bedroom. The two had a system for helping Thurman make his weight every week.

"We used to barricade the door so if I got up, it would make noise and Larry would wake up," Thurman Stone said. "He would get me back to bed so I couldn't have that midnight snack.'

Stone is a truck driver for Superior Construction and said what he took from wrestling was more than a state title.

"They say being a state champ won't get you a job or a raise and that is true," Stone said. "On the other hand, it does because the life's lessons and discipline you learn from the sport puts you in a position to be successful in life."

Thurman and Larry, who was a state qualifier, were two heavily followed wrestlers.

"People come up to me now and tell me they loved to watch us wrestle because we were so aggressive," Stone said.

He credits Wadkins and assistant Jeff George for pushing him.

"I really want to credit Jeff because he spent a lot of time working with me on my technique and making me a better wrestler," Stone said. "You don't realize it at the time, but those guys really cared about you as a person."

To submit a "Where Are They Now?" idea, contact Mike Nieto at mike.nieto@nwi.com or (219) 933-3232.

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

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