New Haven’s Jaxson Savieo named 2017-18 News-Sentinel.com Wrestler of the Year

New Haven High School wrestler holds his hands aloft after winning a match at the semistate this past season. (Courtesy photo)
Jaxson Savieo, right, wrestles against Homestead earlier this season. (Courtesy photo)
Jaxson Savieo, top, wrestles during the Northeast 8 Conference meet. (Courtesy photo)

New Haven High School wrestling coach Jimmy Linn told Jaxson Savieo during the summer before Savieo’s freshman year that he ought to join the wrestling team.

Savieo agreed, but not because he enjoyed wrestling, which he did not at the time.

“I knew Coach Linn was one of the football coaches,” Savieo said, “so I was trying to impress him.”

The seed was planted. Savieo went out for wrestling after his freshman football season and he took some lumps. He learned the sport. And, in a bit of surprise since he had not taken to wrestling as an eighth grader, he learned to like it.

“My freshman year, I lost a lot,” Savieo said. “But I did learn to like it on the mat. It’s just you and the other guy. You can’t blame anyone else but yourself if you win or lose.”

Savieo continued in football. He’ll be attending and playing defense at Indiana Wesleyan University next season, but he found a winter niche in wrestling. He finished 43-2 in his senior season, becoming only the second New Haven wrestler to win a semistate championship. His on-the-mat success, coupled with his All-State Academic honors, earns him the 2017-18 News-Sentinel.com Wrestler of the Year honors.

“He’s still not really that experienced,” Linn said. “He got down three or four basic moves that he felt comfortable with, and he learned how to use those moves to take down his opponents and score points. He’s a smart wrestler. He knew his strengths and weaknesses, and he always wrestled his style.”

Savieo worked his way up the weight classes, moving from 182 pounds to 195 as a senior. He excelled with his agility, quickness and strength at 195, and beat another outstanding wrestler, West Noble’s Draven Rasler, for the semistate championship.

Linn pointed to Savieo’s leadership as one of his assets beyond the mat.

“The biggest thing he did was lead by example,” Linn said. “He was on time for practice, he worked hard every day. There was never a point in any of his four years where this kid wasn’t putting forth 100 percent effort. There was no question he was working harder than anyone else in wrestling, and that pushed the other guys.”

Savieo, the youngest of three brothers, plans to room with fellow New Haven football player Luke Watson at Indiana Wesleyan as they join a program that will begin its first season next fall. Savieo’s parents are Jason and Kim Savieo.

“I’ll probably study exercise science and kinesiology,” Savieo said. “I know I want to do something where I help people and stay involved in exercise and sports.”

News-Sentinel.com All-Area Team

Name, school, weight class

Joel Arney, Carroll, 152

Dakota Ault, North Side, 285

Gaven Hare, Jay County, 220

Dalyn Hart, Wayne, 220

Rickey Haught, Huntington North, 132

Ian Heath, Leo, 120

Jonyvan Johnson, New Haven, 182

Giran Kunkel, Central Noble, 145

Levi Leffers, Central Noble, 220

Wyatt Miller, South Adams, 106

Austin Moore, Central Noble, 138

Draven Rasler, West Noble, 195

Hunter Reed, Columbia City, 160

Jaxson Savieo, New Haven, 195

Tanner Schoeff, Central Noble, 126

Brayden Shearer, Garrett, 113

Mason Winner, Jay County, 160

Chandler Woenker, Bishop Luers, 160

Brady Wyro, Homestead, 170

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