Highland senior Cael Yeggy proved that no matter when you get started competing in a sport, you can end it at the sport’s highest stage.
Yeggy did not start wrestling at Highland until his sophomore year. He bought into the program, improved every season and he culminated his shortened career with a state tournament appearance. Once there he also proved his toughness.
“(Cael) didn’t wrestle as a freshman; came out as a sophomore,” said Highland head coach Derick Ball. “He bought into the program, improved a ton and got to finish up in Des Moines. You can’t really ask for a whole lot more.”
Yeggy advanced to Des Moines with a second-place performance at 182 pounds at the Class 1A-District 2 meet in North English. His opening-round match Thursday night Feb. 20 was against the champion of the District 1 meet, Cole Kelly of West Hancock-Britt.
Yeggy was able to collect a pair of escape points, but those were after two-point takedowns and he trailed 5-2 after the first period.
Early in the second period, Kelly scored a three-point nearfall and earned the pin moments later at 3:18 of the match.
Yeggy went limping off the mat and into the locker room immediately following the bout to get his ankle looked at and rewrapped. Ball came out of the locker room and expressed he was ready to go for his next match later in the evening.
To stay alive in the tournament, the next bout was against Brady Langloss of Wayne-Corydon. Yeggy fell behind 5-0 after the first period after being taken down and a victim of a three-point nearfall.
He fell behind 11-0 in the second period and was nearly pinned at the 3:45 mark. Within seconds, Yeggy was the aggressor and had Langloss on the ropes following a reversal and three-point nearfall. Langloss escaped the grasp of Yeggy and recorded another takedown before the period ended with Yeggy trailing 14-5.
Langloss went on to defeat Yeggy 16-6 to bring an end to his high school wrestling career. Just by going out on the mat in the nightcap, Yeggy proved his desire and toughness.
“He rolled his ankle pretty good,” said Ball. “He’s a tough kid. He won’t complain about anything. He went there, gave his best, and almost put the kid away to get to day two.”
Despite the losses at state, Yeggy gave his coach something he will be telling his athletes for a long time.
“That’s the story we’ll tell for a long time just because of the fact that he’s a kid that got a late start,” said Ball. “He did what we asked him to do and got to finish up in Des Moines.”