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Wrestling feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Trey Beamon, May 11, 2007.

  1. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    Here's a wrestling feature from a few weeks back. Not sure how I feel about it now -- could've used a few more voices, I suppose.

    Thanks, folks... ;)

    When it happened, after all those hours cooped up in sweaty wrestling rooms, after moving halfway across the state, after being forced to spend his junior year as some glorified spectator, Scott Davis didn’t quite know how to react.

    So, upon seeing the clock hit three glorious zeros last Saturday, the Lake Lehman senior, suddenly the new PIAA Class AA champ at 140 pounds, simply did what felt right.

    He jumped high in the air, as if the Kentucky baseball recruit was ready to snatch a screaming line drive out of the sky. He feverishly pumped his fist. Probably let out a good scream, too.

    “I didn’t really want to do anything. I expected to just kind of walk off,” Davis said, laughing about the euphoric scene exactly one week after the fact. “But, I couldn’t…I was just so pumped up.”

    As if a gold medal wasn’t enough, that spilt-second of unbridled joy, relief and personal fulfillment was captured in time, in the form of a newspaper photo.

    His parents, Jack and Jackie, paid to blow it up, essentially get it super-sized. A smaller version is on the office door of Knights’ head coach Phil Lipski.

    “I see it everyday, and it’s just awesome,” Davis said.

    Since starting the sport at a young age, as the son of successful collegiate wrestling coach at Clarion University, Davis always figured this was possible. What he didn’t figure wrestling was, at times, perhaps the easiest part of the equation.

    Things went swimmingly for two years of high school. Davis wrestled with Clarion Area through a co-op with cross-town rival Clarion-Limestone, reaching states his freshman season. He nabbed an eighth-place state medal the following year.

    As a junior, things got a little dicey. He was an all-conference quarterback for the Lions to begin the school year, but soon after football, chose to move to his family’s second home in Harveys Lake, a three-plus hour jaunt from tiny Strattanville.

    That led to a hearing with District 2, and he was cleared to wrestle, but soon enough, an appeal was filed with the PIAA. In turn, Davis was banned for the rest of the wrestling season.

    While disappointed, he did all that he could. Basically, practice, practice and more practice.

    “I still went to practice everyday,” Davis, who still managed to finish with 97 career victories, said. “I treated it just like it was wrestling season; I just didn’t wrestle any matches.”

    “I didn’t really lose anything (in terms of ability), but it wasn’t fun just practicing. I wanted to go out and win some matches. We had some Black and Gold matches, team matches, but it wasn’t the same.”

    Nor was it when Davis was eligible to wrestle this season. He blew through the regular season – often wrestling up at 152 and 160 pounds – with 21 pins and a slew of major decisions to his name. However, he lost to Towanda’s Mike Mauer, 11-4, in the Northeast Regional semifinals.

    Faced with the option of entering states in a higher weight class, Davis, his father and the Lake Lehman staff chose to keep him at 140, arguably the most loaded bracket in Class AA with seven returning medalists, if not the entire commonwealth.

    He waited far too long to be over-powered at 160 or receive a less-than-challenging draw at 152. He wanted to be at 140, cliché be damned, to beat the best to be the best.

    “Every weight class down there is tough. You can’t just think you’ll have an easy match,” Davis said.

    True, it was tough indeed, but Davis prevailed. He opened competition with tight decisions over Coudersport’s Dirk Cowburn and Burrell’s Devon Maloney.

    What followed was the ultimate test, at least from a metal aspect, a rematch with Mauer in the semifinals.

    No big deal, this was mind – and muscle – over matter. Davis dominated the match with four takedowns in all, including a key third-period drop to go up 6-2. He eventually won, 7-5.

    “I knew I had to take him down, and to stay on my feet the whole match. I just told myself I wasn’t going down,” Davis said.

    “He just mentally beat (Mauer) up,” Lipski said. “(Scott) took him down a couple times and he just controlled the whole thing from his feet.
    “Scott is just so much faster than (most wrestlers), that once he gets that momentum and confidence level going, he’s pretty much unbeatable.”

    Oh, it was going during states. But it was never quite as rapid, as purposeful, as in the 140-pound title match against Bloomsburg’s Joey Anceravage, the District 2 champion.

    Not that it made the task any easier. In the first, he notched a takedown but when he just couldn’t turn Anceravage over, he let him up, cutting the lead in half at 2-1. He let him up again in the second and couldn’t pull the takedown, and went into the third period with a 2-2 deadlock.

    Choosing against the down position, Davis decided to stick with the lighting-quick feet that had got him this far. A minute or so into the final period, the plan finally came to fruition, resulting with a takedown and a 4-2 lead.

    He eventually got Anceravage in a cradle. But instead of trying to violently turn him, Davis remained calm, holding the cradle for 50 seconds, seconds that had to seem like an eternity.

    “I wasn’t even trying to turn him, maybe just a little,” Davis said. “I knew if I just held him a minute or so, I’d win. The clock was right in front of me. He didn’t have anywhere to go – I was just squeezing him as hard as I could.”

    Then he let go, and realized what six minutes of guts, pure will and complete concentration can accomplish.

    “I couldn’t believe it,” Davis said. “It felt like a normal match, and then at the end I won a state final.”

    “It’s a storybook ending,” Lipski said.

    The aftermath – the press clippings, the endless stream of congratulatory phone calls from friends and family, the Division I wrestling coaches hoping for a change of heart – hasn’t changed Davis one iota.

    He’s still a teenager, one with a serious bout of Senioritis. One who is excited at the prospect of college, or doing his best to get ready for baseball season and, just maybe, another run at state gold.

    But then again, Scott Davis would be hard-pressed to find a victory that’s any sweeter.
  2. LemMan

    LemMan Member


    I feel funny doling out advice because I have a ways to go myself, but your posting means you want people to chime in, so here goes.

    I think you overwrote this thing. This is a good story - a kid is forced to sit out comes back to win the state championship, and does so by beating the guy who beat him during the year. That's a great hook. No need to pretty it up with words and cliches. Just tell the story.

    I have some questions, too. First, how many is a SLEW of major decisions? That's a pet peeve of mine - give me the facts. A slew isn't factual because when you think is a slew could differ from you think is a slew. Give me the number. If it's a large one, it will speak for itself.

    Second, who filed the appeal with the PIAA? Another coach? A rival wrestler? Why did he decide to move?
    And this sentence - Faced with the option of entering states in a higher weight class, Davis, his father and the Lake Lehman staff chose to keep him at 140, arguably the most loaded bracket in Class AA with seven returning medalists, if not the entire commonwealth - is a mess. It reads as the entire commonwealth, along with seven return medalists, is the Class AA 140-pound class.

    And since this is a feature, you need a few more voices. How about the dad, who you mention is a former wrestling coach? Was he a state champ? Did he ever coach a national champ? If so, how does that compare with watching his own son win a state title? And talk to a teammate a two, maybe someone who worked out with him while he was banned for a year. I find it remarkable that this kid managed to stay in shape even when he wasn't wrestling, so maybe a word or two about how hard he worked even though he'd never step on the mat.

    I, too, am a prep writer, and I love covering wrestling because it's a sport stuffed with stories like this - stories so good that all we need to do is tell them. But thanks for posting, and keep it up.
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