Wrestler Zach Watson Ready To Scuffle with the Best

Baylor School Alum to Compete at 133 Pound Class

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

Chattanooga native Zach Watson likes to make statements on the wrestling mat.

In high school, he made five statements (state titles) to be exact.

Now a freshman at the University of Virginia, the Chattanooga native wants to make a statement at this week’s Southern Scuffle.

“I am redshirting this season and am pretty much off everyone’s radar so my goal is to come here and surprise some seeded wrestlers,” said Watson.

“The expectations (from most people) are not high for me to succeed at the Scuffle so I have nothing to lose.”

The Southern Scuffle - which brings most of the nation's best collegiate wrestlers to one arena -  is today and Wednesday (Jan. 1-2) at UTC ‘s McKenzie Arena as Watson will compete unattached (10-3 on the season) at 133 pounds in this morning’s round of 32. The brackets will be set after this morning's weigh-ins.

While the personable light weight was dominate in the prep ranks since the eighth grade for the Red Raiders, he knows to have the same success in college is at a much higher level, physically and mentally.

“The mental aspect of college wrestling is probably the biggest challenge for me so far,” said Watson

“You have to be mentally ready to go hard in practice every day and then for seven minutes every time you walk on the mat for a match,” he stated.

Watson has a top level mentor in Matt Snyder – seeded third at 125 at the Scuffle – who is helping him through wrestling’s mine field known as being a freshman.

“Matt and I have similar funky styles and get into some crazy scrambles in practice.”

If Watson can carry his classroom success – 3.7 grade point average at Baylor and the same in his first semester at UVa – to the mental aspect of wrestling then his college career will be graded a A.

“One of the biggest differences between high school and college is the large lecture courses in college,” said Watson whose five year study of Kinesiology fits with a redshirt year followed by four years of varsity eligibility with the spring of 2017 as a graduation target date.

“In college, no one is looking over your shoulder every day to see if your work is done. You are pretty much on your own and are expected to do the work.”

Watson points to excellent academic preparation he learned at Baylor as a key to doing well at a top level academic university such a Virginia.

“In high school, we had tests on a regular basis, so keeping up with your studies each day was a must,” Watson said.

“For example, in my sociology class this fall, my grade was determined by the mid-term test, a paper and a class debate at the end. So one can be fooled into believing you have all semester to get the work done and that it just not the case.”

And neither can high level college wrestlers believe they can coast to wins.

“It’s continuous, non-stop action in college with little time to relax,” said Watson, “and that is so different from high school where you have time to set up a move and then plan what you will do next.”

With the top three teams in the nation (Nos.1-3 Penn State, Oklahoma State and Minnesota) competing in this week’s Scuffle and a field which has 24 All-Americans, including seven NCAA champs, no one believes they can coast to a single win.

For Watson, the only time he plans to relax is late Wednesday night with a few wins in his column and a possible Southern Scuffle medal around his neck.

Scuffle Tickets: Tickets are on sale at the McKenzie Arena Box Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627) or online at GoMocs.com. Tickets are $5 per day for youth and $15 per day for adults. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. (E.D.T.) on Jan. 1

Jan. 1

10 a.m. - round of 32 and pigtails

3:30 p.m. - Round of 16

6 p.m. -  Championship Quarterfinals

Jan. 2

10 a.m. -  Consolations start

Noon - Championship Semis

6 p.m. - Finals (places 1-8)

----------------------------------------------------

 

Jan. 2 – Maclellan Gym  - UTC 

 D-II Middle/East Region Matches

 2 p.m. – McCallie vs. Father Ryan ... Baylor vs. MBA

 3:30 p.m. or so – McCallie vs. MBA … Baylor vs. Father Ryan

 

Note: matches will be finished prior to the Southern Scuffle Finals at 6 p.m. at McKenzie Arena

 This is the first round of matches to determine seeding for the D-II state duals

 McCallie vs. Baylor and Father Ryan vs. MBA are later in the season.

 This is the fifth year that this true round robin has been in place.

 

 contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

 


Raiders Baseball Club To Hold Clinic And Tryouts For 9-Year-Olds

Raiders Baseball Club, based out of Chattanooga and North Georgia, will be hosting a clinic/tryout for upcoming nine-year-olds for the fall 2014 and spring 2015 seasons. It will take place at Baylor School on Aug. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Aug. 3 from 1-4 p.m. Both days are preferred but not required. The clinic/tryout will take place on the Baylor Softball Field. The clinic cost ... (click for more)

Stars Beat Lookouts, 5-4, With Walk-Off Ninth

Huntsville, AL---- The Huntsville Stars came back for the second straight night against the Chattanooga Lookouts late in the game to pull out a victory. Recap Nick Shaw's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Stars a 5-4 win over the Lookouts Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville. The Stars were trailing 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth.  ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)