Center Grove’s Stits hopes to finish among state’s best

No shortage of the letter ‘S’ exists inside the Stits household.

Every one of Jason and Tammi’s five children have first names that start with the letter — including the third-oldest, Silas, now a sophomore at Center Grove.

Yet the only ‘S’ he’s thinking of these days is state.

And, coincidentally enough, his place inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in late February is assured only if Stits makes it out of a double-‘S’ — semistate.

“I think I’m capable of a top-three finish (at state),” said Silas Stits, the starting 152-pounder for the third-ranked Trojans entering Saturday’s sectional at Mooresville. “It would be great.

“If I get top three, I feel that I can win state at least once in my career, and maybe twice.”

Stits takes the mat for what he hopes is a lengthy postseason run with a record of 25-7. He’s ranked sixth in the state in his weight class, making him a prohibitive favorite this weekend.

His losses during the regular season included two to Bloomington South soph Evan Roudebush, ranked fifth, and one apiece to Crown Point’s Anthony Rinehart (second) and Evansville Mater Dei junior Hunter May.

Half of Stits’ setbacks were by a single point; one of his losses against Roudebush was by a score of 3-1. He also scored an 8-7 victory over Roudebush this season.

“(Roudebush) beat me in the first round at semistate my freshman year, so that was a big one for me,” said Stits, who was 26-9 as a ninth-grader in the 138-pound division.

Determined to be among the state’s best at 152, Stits put in the work necessary during the offseason.

Inside Center Grove’s wrestling room, a place where potential state medalists are plentiful, Stits might practice on a given day against any one of five talented teammates, each offering him different challenges.

Junior Reese Courtney (No. 9 at 138) is very technical and capable of ringing up points in a variety of ways; 2022 state qualifier Wyatt Kresja (132) brings tremendous strength, while senior Andre Merritt (eighth at 160) possesses long arms and legs and an air of unpredictability during competition.

Two other teammates, junior Noah Clouser (third at 170) and soph Julian Weems (12th at 182) occasionally work with Stits.

“Silas has gotten better, specifically in the bottom,” Trojans coach Maurice Swain said. “That’s been the big thing he’s improved on. Being physically strong helps, but he’s also had to get as much experience in the offseason as possible.”

Stits hopes to be the second member of his family to reach the big stage in February. Older brother Shane represented Center Grove at 195 pounds the 2018 state meet as a senior. He took home a fourth-place medal and finished the season 35-14.

In terms of the family’s wrestling lineage, that was then. Silas is the now.

“Silas is right there with the five or six guys who can be (at state) and maybe win a title,” Swain said. “Wrestling well at the right time, He could definitely put himself in the mix for the top three.”

While observing his two older brothers compete for the Trojans — including the eldest, Skyler — Stits picked up wrestling in elementary school and hasn’t looked back.

“I was 7 or 8 years old when I decided to try it out,” Silas Stits said. “I liked it immediately. I like how competitive and physical wrestling is. I think I’ve wrestled really well this season.

“It’s just the practice room we have. Everyone in there is good, so we make each other better.”

IF YOU GO

Mooresville Sectional

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Participating teams: Center Grove, Franklin, Greenwood, Whiteland, Cascade, Cloverdale, Decatur Central, Eminence, Martinsville, Monrovia, Mooresville

Bloomington North Sectional

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Participating teams: Indian Creek, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Edgewood, Northview, Owen Valley, Paoli, Sullivan, Terre Haute North Vigo, Terre Haute South Vigo, West Vigo

Admission: $7 at all sites (children 5 and under free)

Advancement: The top four finishers in each weight class advance to regional.