Work progresses for Christiansburg’s Ozias
Every coach on every sideline in every sport brags that one or more athletes in the room is “a really hard worker.”
As John McEnroe once said, “That falls under the category of ‘duh.’ ”
Of course those guys work hard. They wouldn’t be the starting lineup otherwise and we wouldn’t be talking about them.
Some guys are at another labor level, though. Take Coy Ozias, the Christiansburg High School wrestler. Ozias, a junior, is a hard worker.
Nobody knows that about the two-time state champion better than Ozias’ own teammates.
“Coy’s a go-getter,” said senior Joey Dance, the top-ranked 126-pounder in the nation.
Never mind that Ozias has labored hard enough to have earned his own national ranking, seventh at 113, according to Amateur Wrestling News, the same outfit that has Dance ranked. It’s not only that Ozias has busted tail to the point where he’ll have a shot at the top medal this weekend at the prestigious Walsh Ironman tournament in Ohio.
Ozias will be wrestling 120 this weekend, which brings up more evidence that he’s been hard at the blue collar thing. He’s at that weight because he had to go toe-to-toe earlier this week with another heavy-duty headknocker, three-time state champion Blue Demon J.R. Wert.
Ozias and Wert had an epic wrestle-off, Coach Daryl Weber being the presiding referee. The match was observed by all in the room, sitting respectfully along the walls, and went down to the last couple of seconds while still tied. Ozias pulled it out. Wert didn’t become a three-time state champ (the first came in Georgia) by reacting mildly to setback, which he did not. The combatants accepted a round of applause from their peers. Practice continued.
“I did a single leg pulled him up and then dropped down on both his legs, got both his legs and got the two [points],” Ozias said.
This isn’t over. Although they’ve been regular practice partners, Ozias and Wert have never had an official wrestle-off until now. More will come, certainly before the Beast of the East Dec. 22-23 in Delaware. Meanwhile, Wert had to take the mat against Jacob Bonds at 132 the day after tangling with Ozias. Wert prevailed and then faced a Wednesday match with Gabe Lumpp, another hopeful at 132.
In any event, it’s been a big offseason for Ozias since he grappled his way to the 2011-12 Group AA 106-pound title. His biggest feat was winning the 113-pound Cadet National Greco-Roman national championship and finishing fourth at that weight class in freestyle at Fargo, N.D., in July.
You question whether this guy’s a hard worker? That tournament required 20 matches in five days.
“A very grueling tournament,” he said. “After the Greco tournament, which was the first two days, that was really nice to win, but that day in between Greco and freestyle was just a really hard day. You have to make yourself so that you’re not lethargic, make sure you get some rest and make sure you’re ready for the next tournament. “
Since then, there’s been more training, more work in preparation for the all-important winter campaign. But that still doesn’t cover what the young man has been up to, not just in the offseason, but basically, all the time.
He’s a 4.0 student. He wrestles. He goes to bed at 11 p.m. so he can have the energy to do the necessary things in order to accomplish his athletic and academic goals. To do that, he has to be a master of time management.
“It’s not easy some days,” he said.
But that still isn’t the end of it. His favorite subject is history and he’s interested in international relations, possibly as a future career. To that end, he’s taking an online foreign language course. The language? Arabic. Why? Things are happening in that part of the world. His assumption: You need to know the language if you intend to have an impact.
You still wonder about his work ethic? Hit the Internet or go to the library and take a look at some of the Arabic language programs. Let’s just say this. The work isn’t for sissies.
Just like wrestling.
By Ray Cox
The Roanoke Times | 381-1672
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