For the past four years, Chris Pingleton has bled Tiger Cub purple. Now, as he makes his trek to the great southwest, he still be bleeding purple, only this time it will be Antelope purple.
Pingleton signed a letter of intent to attend and wrestle at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix on Friday.
In his four years at GHS, Pingleton has amassed an impressive 164-24 record and recently helped led the Tiger Cubs to both the Putnam County championship and the West Central Conference championships.
"There's some things you can't teach and that's refusing to lose and being a competitor," GHS wrestling coach Russ Hesler said. "That's a Pingleton trait."
Hesler coached both Chris and his older brother Charlie during their years at Greencastle and summed both up as fighters.
"They're scrappers and fantastic athletes," Hesler said. "It's been my pleasure to have the opportunity to coach them and get to know their family. They've done quite well, they're good kids."
Individually, Pingleton has dominated his competition during his four-year career. He's a four-time champion of the Putnam County, WCC and the Greencastle Holiday championships; a two-time Scottsburg Warrior champion and was named Most Valuable Wrestler at the Campbellsville University wrestling camp; a three-time semi-state qualifier and two-time state qualifier.
In 2007, Pingleton tore through his competitors, winning sectional and regional champion, placing third at semi-state and posted a sixth-place finish at state. He also led the team in wins, team points, most falls, most takedowns and most first takedowns. He ended the year ranked No. 12 in the state at 160 weight class.
As he enters a new era in his wrestling career, Pingleton will be helping build a newly formed wrestling program at Grand Canyon University.
"They're a brand new wrestling program and they went after and recruited Chris," Hesler said. "They were very impressed by him."
"Chris is a solid wrestler that comes from a great wrestling family," GCU coach R.C. LaHaye commented. "He has a tremendous work ethic and that will make him very easy to coach at this level."
Pingleton wants to make an immediate impact on the mat and his new coach believes the same.
"I'll be wrestling varsity at 149 and it's really exciting," Pingleton said.
"We have a lot of talented recruits coming in that are right on the brink of being successful at the college level," LaHaye said. "Chris is one of the guys that we are going to lean on to be one of the leaders right away. He has everything that we are looking for in a solid college wrestler."
Although most of wrestling is universal, changes will need to be made to Pingleton's style but he seemed hardly concerned.
"I'll need to work on riding, because there's riding time in college," Pingleton said. "I usually just let them up. In college you have to ride and that's be hard for me."
When asked if the change was something he thought he would be able to make a transition to, he smiled a simple responds -- yeah.
When asked to sum up his thoughts on his GHS wrestling career, Pingleton took a moment and responded, "The whole experience of wrestling," he commented. "Wrestling with my brother Charlie, has helped me a bunch. Wrestling for coach Hesler and coach (Logan) Kuhne has helped me a lot."
With Pingleton's wrestling career at Greencastle at its end and his sights set on a new horizon, Pingleton will be remember by his coach as a outstanding young man.
"He's a very coachable kid," Hesler commented. "It's been a pleasure."