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Taylor Walsh wins 2014 Schalles

By Mike Finn

Even though there was over a 40-year difference between the career of Wade Schalles and Indiana’s Taylor Walsh, the 157-pound Hoosier believes there is something similar between the two wrestlers who earned a reputation for pinning.

“Neither one of us is the brute wrestler-type of guy,” said Walsh. “That’s what is cool about wrestling.”

Wrestling head shots, 10/21/10_Mike DickberndAnd like Schalles, who earned his pinning reputation at Clarion in the early 1970s, Walsh used his slight frame to catch many foes on their backs and eventually led all NCAA Division I wrestlers with 25 pins.

Those numbers, which broke the Indiana fall record, also earned the junior from Cherry Hill, N.J., the 2014 Schalles Award, which was created in 1999 to honor the former two-time NCAA champion.

“I feel privileged to win the award because I like going out and pinning people,” said Walsh, who had just 22 falls in his first two seasons with the Hoosiers. “That’s the best part of wrestling.”

Walsh was especially effective as a pinner prior to Jan. 1, when he flattened 22 foes, including 15 straight at one point.

Four of those came in early-season tournament championships, including the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia, a tournament he watched as a child.

A funky-style wrestler, Walsh loved catching an opponent when they least expected it.

“You allow people to get into position where they feel comfortable and they may explode into a position. That’s when you attack them,” Walsh said. “When they do go for something, they are more vulnerable.

“If you know they are going to come in with a double, you can undertook them and throw them.

“Sometimes when going for a pin, I’d line up on the left side, then jump to a cross-face cradle. If you can lock that one up, you can pin with that one pretty easy.

“Then when you are on top and go out to the front, you can do some kind of gator roll or quarter nelson cement mixer.”

Unfortunately for Walsh, whose 35 victories were the third most by any wrestler at 157 pounds, is that he did lost seven bouts and failed to earn All-American honors while competing in his third NCAA tournament.

“I feel like I’ve done well but I haven’t earned an All-America honor,” said Walsh, whose career NCAA record is 3-6.

After opening the 2014 tourney with a flattening of Alex Hudson of Chattanooga, the Hoosier put Brown’s Nestor Taffur on his back in the second round but ended up getting reversed to this back.

“Sometimes I put myself in vulnerable positions,” said Walsh, who also tore his MCL in the loss to Taffur and was eliminated in his first consolation bout. “The main thing I thought about after this season is that I have to create my own positions.”

Walsh, who grew up competing in The Wrecking Crew wrestling club before earning two New Jersey state championships for Camden Catholic, plans on returning to his home this summer and reaching out to former coaches to help him build a better edge.

Walsh also plans on moving up to 165 or 174 pounds after the weight cut this past season proved to wear him down and was a big reason why his pin number dropped off after finishing second at the Midlands.

“There were a few matches when I had a pin and I walked off the mat feeling so dehydrated,” said the Hoosier, who said the fewer weigh-ins earlier in the year led to his pinning success.

“My whole year, I had my weight under control, but it was still a tough weight  In tournaments, you normally just have one or two weigh-ins so you can get bigger and feel better.”

Walsh is familiar enough with the career of Schalles to know the legendary pinner had his unique style.

Walsh believes he can do the same thing in 2014-15.

“Sometimes you have to make your own way,” Walsh said.

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