St. Joe's "Mohawked Mad Man" looking to make history - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

St. Joe's "Mohawked Mad Man" looking to make history


Coming up this weekend, South Bend St. Joe wrestler Ryan Jankowski has a shot to do something no one has ever done before. Win an individual state wrestling title for the Indians.

It is something the senior has dreamt of the last four years.

"It kinda hits you like wow we can do this," said Jankowski. "Words can't even explain, I wouldn't even know how to picture it or imagine it."

Jankowski heads into the state finals as one of the top ranked 182 pound wrestlers in the entire state of Indiana and is a favorite to bring home the title. However, that does not mean he's planning on taking his competition lightly.

"Rankings don't really mean anything," said Jankowski, who's been nicknamed the 'Mohawked Mad Man'. "You see some of the number one kids get beat every year. I mean they're just numbers. Any wrestler can get beat on any day."

Jankowski's natural instincts and contagious level of energy make him a dangerous wrestler. His head coach Dan Luther says it is the hard work the senior has put in though that really got him to this point.

Luther would know more than anyone what it takes to be successful, because he like Jankowski, is one of the only three St. Joe wrestlers to ever win a Semi-State title.

"[He was in] wrestling in tournaments every Saturday. Free-style, Greco-roman, traveling to different states and wrestling in national events. Just getting that mat time in," said Luther. "He's putting a lot of weekends aside when other kids are out having fun."

Even though he has poured plenty of hours into the wrestling room, that does not mean they have necessarily been grueling practice sessions.

"Well I'm not going to lie, as much as hard work it was, it's been a ton of fun," said Jankowski. "I love every single practice. Wrestling is something else. It's something I look forward to, something that gets me excited, like I get to practice after this, I get to go wrestle. It makes it a lot easier just knowing that you're doing something that you love."

Now it is Jankowski's turn to let all that hard work show and he is ready to give St. Joe their first ever State Champ.

"No matter what happens this has been the greatest adventure of my life," said Jankowski.  "I'm just leaving everything I got out there."

The IHSAA State Wrestling Championships start Friday night at Banker's Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

Despite Jankowski being the only Indians wrestler still in competition this season, some of his fellow wrestlers are still practicing to help the senior prepare.

Luther, who competed in the same weight class as Jankowski in high school, says the two have wrestled in the past. While Luther used to win the matches, he added Jankowski has won the majority of those recently.

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