CALUMET TWP. — A few weeks ago, there were still some in the Indiana wrestling community who didn’t know Riley Bettich.
Crown Point’s 120-pounder announced himself to anyone who still didn’t know at the Chris Traicoff Memorial Invitational on Saturday at Calumet. Bettich went 5-0 individually.
“I think I did pretty good today. I beat some tough kids, ranked kids,” Bettich said. “My goal coming into today was to pin everybody but I after my first match I didn't accomplish that. So, after that it was just to keep winning.”
Cathedral took home the event's trophy as the only team to go 5-0 overall. Portage and Crown Point were each 4-1 as a team.
Bettich’s family contacted Crown Point high school over the summer, because they were looking for a place where he could thrive academically and athletically. He spent the last two seasons wrestling in Michigan.
“Riley had a ton of success in Michigan but it wasn’t working as well academically and socially. He was having some struggles,” coach Branden Lorek said. “(A new wrestler) has to be able to assimilate into your program, into your town. Riley’s done a great job. He’s one of the guys.”
Bettich said he’s currently carrying a 3.5 grade point average. He’s already got a state championship at 103 pounds in Michigan.
“I just wanted to get a fresh start and change who I was overall,” he said. “This is a really friendly group of kids and they accepted me really fast.”
Bettich also gets the chance to wrestle against Crown Point 126-pounder Jesse Mendez at practice. Mendez is a decorated grappler.
He said he’s thought about what it would mean to hold state titles from two different states.
“That’s a goal right now. I don’t know if many people have done that,” Bettich said. “I even have ‘state champ’ on my ceiling. I wrote it on paper and posted it on my ceiling so that I could look up at it at night and think about what it’ll feel like.”
Bettich is ranked No. 3 at 120 pounds. He wrestled up to 126 pounds twice Saturday, including for a win over South Bend Riley’s Trevor Penrod. Penrod is ranked No. 14 at 126 pounds.
He spent much of Saturday just off the mat as his teammates wrestled, yelling instructions and motivations louder than some of Crown Point’s coaches.
“He’s getting more comfortable with our staff, with our team,” Lorek said. “When you bring a guy in that’s a junior, you place some trust in him to be one of our leaders and one of our captains. That’s something he’s earned recently.”