By Dave Pearce
A celebration was held this week as one of North Posey High School’s most storied athletes announced he would attend the University of Indianapolis.
Wes Harness, a two-sport athlete at North Posey, announced his intentions and signed a letter of intent in front of friends, family and coaches at North Posey. He will major in education with a possible minor in sports management. UIndy will be getting North Posey’s all time leader in career rushing with 4478 yards, the career touchdowns record with 69, the season touchdown record with 32, and the athlete tied the record for most consecutive freshman starts.
“I basically did a ‘strengths and weaknesses’ sheet for all the colleges where I could play football and the University of Indianapolis really didn’t have any weaknesses,” Harness said. “They have great practice facilities and they have the new dome that was made for the Giants to practice for the Super Bowl. The facilities are just out of this world and there is great equipment. The dorms are nice and I just felt like I fit in.”
The NCAA Division II school is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the Greyhounds finished 10-3 last season after dropping their first two games of the year. Coach Bob Bartolomeo also led the team to the post-season for the first time in school history last year. Ranked 15th in the year’s final D-II coaches’ poll, UIndy’s postseason run included a 31-14 first-round win overNo. 8 Midwestern State on November 17, advancing the Hounds to the round of 16.
Bartolomeo’s 2012 squad also rewrote the school record book, setting a number of team and individual marks, including single-season records for wins (10), touchdowns (61), points (461) and total offense (5,518). The Hounds finished the season ranked third in all of Division II in both sacks allowed and pass defense, while also ranking fifth in punt return average, 11th in total defense and 15th in scoring defense.
Harness and his family said it was a relief to get the decision out of the way so the senior can concentrate on finishing his high school career.
“My family has been tremendous support and just the entire community,” Harness said. “My family has been at every single game they could be supporting me with 100 percent. Our community has shown they care about the football program and when everyone is involved, it just drives you that much more and makes you want to compete.”
“I’m going there to be a running back just because I feel more comfortable as a running back,” Harness said. “They have looked at me as a linebacker and they are going to try to throw me in on some special teams, as well. I just want to get on that field as soon as I can. It is going to be a lot of hard work.”
Harness said he will likely be red-shirted his freshman year.
Harness indicated he had been considering Wabash, Hanover, and Franklin, as well as several Division III colleges in the area.
Harness said he knew, watching football when he was in kindergarten and in elementary school, that he loved the sport.
“I finally got a chance to play in the fourth grade in the Viking Youth Football Program,” Harness said. “I was coached by Andy Nottingham, Jake Voegel and Josh Meliff, Matthew Scheller and then in junior high by Zack Voegel and John Spencer and Rob Deters. All those guys have made football really fun for me.”
“You don’t get to coach too many people like Wes Harness, even in 44 years” outgoing North Posey High School Joe Gengelbach said. “Wes is a leader and a hard worker. I think his work ethic, as much as anything, set him apart from a lot of other people. They are getting a good one.”
Gengelbach said that while Harness does not have world class speed, he does possess excellent “football speed.”
“There’s regular speed and then there’s football speed,” Gengelbach explained. “Wes has excellent vision and follows his blocks so well. I wish him all the best.”
Harness had equal praise for Gengelbach, who recently announced that he will retire at the end of the current school year.
“I hated to see it happen but you knew it was going to happen sometime,” Harness said of Gengelbach’s retirement. “It’s great to be able to say that you were coached by a legend. He is the face of North Posey football, regardless of who is playing. Even 50 years from now, he will still be North Posey football.”
By Dave Pearce
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