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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Donnie Helterbrand places 7th at State

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cloverdale wrestler Donnie Helterbrand placed seventh at Saturday's IHSAA state wrestling tournament. Helterbrand's seventh-place finish equals Cloverdale's best performance in the state wrestling tournament. [Order this photo]
INDIANAPOLIS -- After beginning his state tournament run with a win Friday, Cloverdale's Donnie Helterbrand entered Saturday's day two at the state finals with high hopes.

However, a loss in his first match of the day derailed his journey to a state title. Head coach Steve Livingston said he and his wrestler were confident entering the day's action.

"Coming in, I think we were pretty confident that we were able to fix the mistakes we made the last time we wrestled him last weekend. (He) wrestled pretty well -- it was a tough match back and forth," he said.

With the loss, Helterbrand had to prep for a matchup with Brown County's Quincy Richey for a chance at fifth place. Helterbrand controlled the match through two periods and held a 3-0 lead late in the match. With 28 seconds remaining, Richey was able to make a charge and tie the match at 3-all and force overtime.

In the extra period there wasn't much action, but as Helterbrand attempted to make a move, Richey countered and took the CHS senior down for two points and the match.

It's like anything else you've got risk and reward," Livingston said of the overtime period. "We took the risk to get the reward and we didn't get it. We opened up and he got in on a single leg and we tried to defend it down and ended up giving up the take down there."

The disappointment was evident as Helterbrand left the match and a reality settled in. The highest finish for Cloverdale was seventh, and the Cloverdale grappler had hopes of making his own mark on the CHS record books.

But with the loss, Helterbrand could do no better than equaling the mark and had no intention of letting the opportunity pass him by. If he was going to go out, he was going out with a win.

"We talked him up and got him ready, he got a good warmup in and going into that last round he pretty much already concluded the fact losing wasn't an option," Livingston said. "He wanted to win his last high school match and he wanted to tie the record for the school of the highest player in school history."

The duo game-planned what they believed to be the winning formula to take down Pioneer's Owen Dorris in the seventh-place match. However, the match didn't play out exactly as they had strategized for.

Livingston said Dorris was put on his back multiple times in his previous match and that's something Helterbrand excels at.

"He set the school record this year for takedowns, so our plans was 'That's what you're good at, that's kind of what you made your living on this year is takedowns and if it's your last match you better do what you do best,'" Our plan was to go out there and put on a little takedown clinic.

"We go out there and that's not really what happened. The kid actually took us down and rode us out the first period. So we started the second period on our feet, we were neutral, and Donnie ended up getting double underhooks and did a foot sweep and the kid went right to his back and we ended up getting the fall," he said.

The win for seventh place was nice, but Helterbrand and his coach saw it as a chance at something else. Sometimes an athlete's fate is decided by the bracket draw and that's how they felt. Livingston noted the final match was a stage for Helterbrand to show what he was capable of.

"I told him if you want to prove to people you are better than the seventh-place guy here, because we talked about the draws of the brackets and sometimes the seventh-place kid might be better than seventh-place," he said. "But because of where you fell in the brackets that's the best you can do. You have to take the opportunity to take seventh and take seventh and then if we can get a fall, kind of exclamation point saying 'Hey, we're better than the seventh-place guy in our weight class'".

Livingston was also pleased with how his wrestler responded after losing his first match of the season at semi-state and then his opening two matches of the day Saturday.

"His mental toughness showed through and was able to go out there and got the job done the last match," Livingston said. "Talking with his parents and him and with all the coaches, no one has any regrets. We laid it all on the line this season and we took some risks and some chances and sometimes it cost us like with the Richey match on Saturday. (We were) willing to take the risk to get the reward, but the majority of the time he wrestles a high-energy match and that plays to his favor. It's been a good year."

Helterbrand ended the season with a mark of 41-3.