By Angie Antonopoulos
As a military kid, Riley Rust would often have to pack up and move just after getting settled into a routine with his wrestling buddies. He and his parents, retired Army Sgt. Loretta Rust and retired Army Sgt. Maj. Ryan Rust, moved multiple times – from Fort Riley, Kan. to Fort Irwin, Calif., then to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., then to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, then to Fort Wainwright, in Fairbanks, Alaska and then finally to Camp Atterbury, which brought their family to Greenwood.
“Wrestling was a big help,” Loretta said. “Every time we moved, we found a wrestling team. It was a good constant for all of us.”
Riley began wrestling when he was 5 years old and started to play more competitively in middle school.
“I feel Riley has grown as a team player,” Loretta said. “It’s that heart that helps him win. He’s strong and it’s that endurance that gets him through second and third rounds.”
Before moving to Greenwood, Riley won the state championship in the 126 weight class for Monroe Catholic High School in Fairbanks, AK. While he played competitively there, he said it was a whole other level when he arrived in Indiana.
“Center Grove is one of the most intense teams I’ve wrestled for,” Riley said. “There are a lot of solid wrestlers.”
He soon realized he needed to crank up his wrestling skills even higher, as he competed against other top schools. In wrestling, there is no time to take a break, Riley said. “If you pause, your opponent will capitalize on that; if you take a wrong step, you could be put on your back in seconds.”
Before his move to Indiana, he got a taste of Hoosier hospitality when he met the coach and some of the players off season at a “Fargo qualifier,” the highest level of wrestling for junior and cadet-aged wrestlers. On his first day at Center Grove High School, one of his teammates showed him around the gym and the wrestling area, where he would spend hours the beginning of his sophomore year. “I felt welcome when I arrived,” Riley said. “This is the second longest place we’ve lived. I built a group of friends that are like family.” He also still keeps in touch with his wrestling friends from across the country by phone, Instagram and SnapChat.
Riley said he appreciates the coaching and mentoring he has received from Center Grove Wrestling Coach, Maurice Swain and Coach Mathew Kelly, with the Center Grove Wrestling Club, where he spends time volunteering and coaching younger wrestlers. He said Coach Swain is very invested in the sport and looks for ways for the team to improve their performance. “He’s a really good coach. He has helped us mature and just take care of ourselves,” Riley said.
Coach Kelly often goes over technique when working with Riley.
His father Ryan is very proud of his son’s growth as a wrestler. “He’s wrestling at a much higher level,” Ryan said. “What I love about Center Grove is that it’s very competitive” and “the school really supports the wrestling team.”
Riley’s college plans are undecided, but he would like to play Division I wrestling and major in business and minor in exercise science. He’s currently working on an HVAC certification at Central Nine Career Center. As a long term goal, he would like to start a kid’s wrestling club or become a wrestling coach.
THE RUST FILE
NAME: Riley Rust
HEIGHT: 5 foot, 4 ¾ inches
SPORT: Varsity wrestling
POSITION: Weight class – 152
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Hanging out with friends, working out, wrestling
COLLEGE PLANS: To be determined. Would like to play NCAA Division I Wrestling.
FAVORITE MOVIE: My All American
FAVORITE TV PROGRAM: Watches TV rarely but enjoys ESPN sports programming.
PARENTS: Ryan and Loretta Rust