Growing up, basketball came first in the pecking order of sports for Wes Obermeier.
Over the last few years, the Gibson Southern star athlete has turned his focus to football, but hasn’t left Indiana’s game too far behind.
“I loved basketball,” he said. “And played so much AAU basketball. With basketball I was trying to get recruited and everything, and it’s tough to get recruited. That’s a different league out there.”
Instead, Obermeier put on 25 pounds his junior year, and another 20 pounds this season, changing his body, and attracting Division I football programs. The senior committed to Ball State last June, and signed his National Letter of Intent in December to become a tight end for the Cardinals.
“I put some weight on and the recruiting started coming for football,” he said. “And when you start seeing results like that, it’s pretty easy to change tides and I fell in love with football once I put some weight on and got my body right.”
With a future at the highest level of college football in front of him, Obermeier could have easily devoted everything solely to football and left basketball in the past. But he wasn’t raised that way, and wasn’t about to leave his team out to dry.
“My dad was a huge influence on me making my final decision, but I owed it to the program, and the teammates, and coach Runyan to finish it out right my senior year,” he said.
After posting career numbers of 1,458 yards and 22 touchdowns, and leading the Titans to an unbeaten regular season on the gridiron, Obermeier, along with several other football players hit the hardwood looking to replicate similar success.
Gibson Southern basketball coach Kyle Runyan took over the program when Obermeier and the rest of the senior group including John Loehr, Alec Martin, Landon Mayer, Isaac Sellers, Nick Maurer, and Mason Bittner were freshmen. Each season under Runyan, the Titans record has improved, all the way up to 15 wins last season, with Obermeier playing a vital role.
“He’s been the focus, especially these past three years, because everybody knew he was our go-to-guy,” Runyan said. “Immediately going into his sophomore year it was, 'we are going to have to play through him to have success,' and that’s what we’ve done since.”
For evidence of how important Obermeier has been to the Titans success, in a 43-38 win over Tell City earlier this season, he become just the second boys Gibson Southern basketball player to ever reach the 1,000-point club. He joined the Titans all-time leading scorer and 2004 graduate Eric Campbell (1,221).
“If you think about it, we only have two, and there’s been some great scorers go through the program,” Runyan said. “I think it’s neat, especially since I’ve been able to coach him for all four years, and be a part of it, and see him grow.”
After an 11-6 start, the Titans finished the regular season 11-11, but head into Friday’s sectional semi-final against Evansville Memorial with a little extra motivation. The Tigers defeated Gibson Southern 26-17 in the football sectional final en route to the Class 3A state title.
“It’s tough playing those guys after what happened in football,” Obermeier said. “It’s kind of been the thing where we try and keep the football thing behind us, but we are just going to try and go in and win a game and move on.”
With different lineups, the Titans at times feature five football players on the floor at once, and Obermeier believes it plays to their advantage.
"If you look, there's a couple versions of the lineup out there that any given time you can have five football players, and I think there's a chemistry with those five guys, and we kind of have an expectation with each other," he said.
Obermeier and the Titans will look to win their first sectional title since 2002, but even if they come up short like they did in football, one thing is evident.
The ceiling for success in football and beyond is unlimited for Obermeier, but he will never forget where he came from.