Some people would say that the third time is a charm. Others could argue that for somebody to achieve a goal, they might need a lucky break along the way. Fortunately for Anderson Highland Scot Sam Bennett, he came across both of those during his senior year.
First Bennett had come across his "lucky break" by fracturing his ankle earlier in the season.
"I was at CIA and I was taking one of my partners down," said Bennett. "He came down on it wrong and it broke my bone twice, the same bone in two different spots and all of my tendons. But I bounced back from it as quick as my doctor says he has ever seen, and it made me better. Me and my coach decided it changed my attitude for this year."
Devastated by the fact his senior year could have possibly been lost due to injury, Bennett found himself working twice as hard to reach the IHSAA Individual State Tournament for the third time in his career. Bennett had finished in both second and third place before, but never felt as if he was quite ready to take home an individual title.
"My sophomore year, it was fun," said Bennett. "Nobody knew who I was and nobody expected me to get to the finals. But once I got there I kind of accepted a loss to Cosgrove (2008 145 Champion from Hobart) because I knew he was so good. But this year, I was like I want to be Cosgrove. I am going to be the toughest, I am going to give it my best, and everything I have."
Bennett's work ethic and determination found himself back in position for a state championship on Saturday night at Conseco Fieldhouse when he took on Elkhart Memorial Senior Zachary Corpe (36-3). And even though "the third time is a charm", Bennett found himself oozing with nerves.
"The kid I was facing (Corpe) had been demolishing people," said Bennett. "I knew I had to wrestle tough, but my coach had told me that I deserved it and that people who win state championships deserve it the most."
After the first period of wrestling Corpe had scored the first take-down, but Bennett kept to a strategy that he had used earlier in the tournament.
"We knew he was going to come out firing shots," said Bennett. "Just like I did in my semi-finals, I had to keep my hand low, and know that nobody could touch my legs or get in on them. He got past it once, but I kept wrestling, and we knew he was going to get tired. We had faith in my conditioning, and it worked out."
Bennett would score two more takedowns, both at the 1:35 marks of the second and third periods, ultimately leading to a 6-2 victory and an undefeated 42-0 senior year.
"It never felt better," said Bennett on what it felt like to finally break through and win a state title. "It feels good for my teammate (Mason Berryman) who got to the finals and wrestled hard, for everybody who has ever worked with me, and for my school because it is the last champion we will have of anything."