By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY – For the last couple of decades, three-sport high school athletes have been on the decline, especially at large schools.
One of the main reasons for the decrease in these special student-athletes is more teenagers are focusing on improving their skills in their best sport. In turn, these athletes hope to earn major accomplishments in the future in their sport of choice, like receiving a full-ride athletic scholarship from a successful NCAA Division I program.
But in the previous academic year, 2018 New Albany graduate Aaron Mosley showed that a student-athlete can still succeed at three sports.
During his senior year, Mosley was a member of three Bulldog boys’ athletic teams – football, wresting and track and field. He collected all-Hoosier Hills Conference honors in each of those sports. He earned a trip to the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals in wresting, which is his best sport. Plus, he nearly reached the IHSAA State Finals in boys’ track.
Kyle Weigleb, who is New Albany’s head boys’ track coach and an assistant coach for the Bulldog football squad, praised Mosley for what he accomplished as a three-sport standout last school year.
“It was remarkable and unique. It was just a unique situation because kids don’t (play three sports) anymore,” said Weigleb, who would like to see more student-athletes compete in three sports.
Bulldog head football coach Steve Cooley thinks Mosley’s competitive nature helped him persevere in three sports.
“He’s an intense, high-energy individual,” Cooley said. “He’s just a competitor and he’s just that good of an athlete.”
In the 2017 football season, Mosley’s overall play at linebacker garnered him a spot on the all-HHC team as he helped New Albany post a 5-5 record. Playing on the gridiron helped Mosley stay in shape and lift weights on a consistent basis. That aided in his preparation for the 2017-18 wrestling season.
“With football, I lifted a lot. That got me bigger and stronger,” Mosley said.
Mosley’s final wrestling season at New Albany was without question his best.
Mosley posted a 44-4 record as he competed in the 182-pound division. He won his first 42 matches of the season, entering the Evansville Reitz Semistate undefeated.
Mosley made the all-HHC squad by winning his class at the conference meet last January. He followed that up by capturing championships at the Southridge Sectional on Jan. 27 and the Bloomington South Regional on Feb. 3.
Despite suffering his first loss of the season in the 182-pound semifinals at the Evansville Reitz Semistate on Feb. 10, Mosley wound up third in the tournament and qualified for the state finals for the first time in his high school career. The semifinal setback to Brownsburg’s Nathan Walton, who proceeded to collect the semistate title, ended Mosley’s 42-match winning streak.
Mosley said his work ethic was the main reason he reached state as a senior.
“I put 100 percent into it every day. I wasn’t taking any breaks,” Mosley said. “I practiced three hours a day sometimes and then lifted weights with coaches and teammates after that. It was a real big accomplishment for me.”
Mosley defeated Elwood’s Jalen Morgan by an 8-3 decision in the first round of the 182-pound bracket of the state finals on Feb. 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. But Mosley lost in the quarterfinals the next day to eventual state champion Conner Graber from Northridge by a 9-1 major decision.
Mosley’s season ended with a couple more losses at state. He fell by a 4-2 decision to Chesterton’s Cade Girgenti in the consolation round, then suffered a 4-2 decision loss to New Haven’s Jonyvan Johnson in the seventh-place match. Mosley concluded his senior year with an eighth-place finish at the state finals.
While competing at state, Mosley had to deal with an environment he was not used to. Bankers Life Fieldhouse was the largest arena he had competed in all year along with the largest crowd he had wrestled in front of all season.
“Coming out onto the mat was insane,” Mosley said. “I tried not to let it get to me. You almost feel like a celebrity out there.”
Mosley carried the momentum from his final prep wrestling campaign into the 2017-18 track season.
He collected all-HHC honors in two events at the conference meet on May 10 in Seymour with victories in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. A week later in the Floyd Central Sectional, Mosley advanced to the regional meet in three events. He won the 110 hurdles and finished second in both the 300 hurdles and 400 relay, as the top three finishers in each event qualified for the Evansville Central Regional on May 24.
Of his three regional events, Mosley came the closest to qualifying for the state finals in the 300 hurdles. He finished fourth in the event, one spot shy of earning a state berth. Mosley recorded a time of 40.61 seconds, .25 seconds behind third-place Trey Riggs from Gibson Southern.
Mosley’s success enabled him to earn the Bulldog track team’s most valuable athlete award at the end of the season.
Weigleb lauded Mosley’s athleticism in competing in the 110 and 300 hurdles throughout the season.
“He weighs 190 pounds and he’s running over hurdles,” stated Weigleb, who said the average standout high school hurdler weighs between 150 to 160 pounds. “That’s really impressive.”
Mosley will wrestle at tradition-rich Campbellsville (Ky.) University this coming season. The Tigers have captured four individual NAIA national championships and had nine wrestlers who were NAIA national runners-up in their respective weight classes.
Mosley felt that Campbellsville was the school for him after he and fellow New Albany wrestler Jaden Sonner visited the campus after the state finals.
“We practiced with the team and liked their facilities,” Mosley said. “I liked the intensity of their practices.”
Mosley will study business management at Campbellsville. As of now, he does not plan to participate in a second sport at the Christian university.