PENDLETON — Arabian wrestling Coach Dave Cloud has been an innovator in promoting wrestling throughout the state. He started a new tradition Nov. 5 with the very first wrestling Media Day at Pendleton Heights High School.

Several area schools sent wrestlers and coaches to the event to speak with media reps from the Times Post, WEEM Radio and others. Along with the interviews, teams went head to head in bouts with Battle Balls also known as human hamster balls.

“Wrestling kind of has the little brother syndrome with football and basketball, those are obviously revenue producers with big crowds, and we always feel like, where’s ours?”

Cloud said he wanted to do something that was fun for the students after watching the Big 10 Media Days.

“I wanted to try something different to build publicity for the sport,” Cloud said.

“It really is like a family. Get them out on the mat, and they go at each other like savages, but they really are close and good friends with each other,” Cloud said.

After introductions and photos, the Battle Ball matches began pitting teams against each other as well as inter-squad bouts including coaches.

Cloud first saw the balls at a college match. After five weight classes, college matches have a halftime. At Iowa, participants come out in Hawkeye balls and knock each down for the halftime show.

Cloud called the Indiana High School Athletic Association Assistant Commissioner Robert Faulkens and asked if there were any rules against having a halftime in Indiana high school wrestling.

He found out there are not any rules against a halftime between matches. He tossed the idea around for a few years and found sponsors for the balls.

The plan is to pit out-of-season teams, such as baseball and softball, against the same teams from Pendleton Heights’ opponents.

“I’m hoping to get some larger crowds to come and watch,” Cloud said. “We want to get other sports in here at our meets and get a bigger crowd and more excitement.”

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