Wrestler Zach Watson Ready To Scuffle with the Best

Baylor School Alum to Compete at 133 Pound Class

Tuesday, January 1, 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

 


Friends, Former Players Celebrate Stephenson’s 30 Years In Coaching At GNTC

Friends and former players were among those on hand last Saturday afternoon at the Rossville Athletic Center to pay homage to Georgia Northwestern basketball coach and Athletic Director David Stephenson for his 30 years in coaching. Stephenson has over 500 career wins on the court and has coached over 800 games. He has also served as a coach for soccer and track and field ... (click for more)

UTC's Jim Foster is Quarterback Club Speaker Today

UTC women's basketball coach Jim Foster is the schduled spearer at today's Chattanooga Quarterback club meeting at noon at Finley Stadium. Coach Foster will review the season to date and give a preview of what to expect at this weekend's Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville, N.C.. The Mocs (18-10) are the No.1 seed and play No. 8 Western Carolina at 11:30 a.m. Thursday  ... (click for more)

Car Crosses Center Line And Grazes Bradley School Bus; 3 Students Taken To Hospital For Observation

A car came across the center line and grazed the right side bumper of a school bus in Bradley County on Monday afternoon. Three students were taken to the hospital for observation. School officials said Bradley County School bus #48 was involved in the accident on Old Chattanooga Pike and Black Fox Road. Students were assessed and three were taken to the hospital ... (click for more)

NASA Employee Gets 10-Year Federal Prison Term After Being Caught In Child Sex Sting In Chattanooga; De Matties Placed Ad Looking For "Petite Young Teenage Slut"

Thomas de Matteis, 54, of Hazel Green, Ala., was sentenced on Monday by Federal Judge Sandy Mattice to serve 10 years in federal prison for coercing or enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. Matteis entered a guilty plea to the charge in November 2016.   At the time of his offenses, Matteis was employed by NASA in Alabama.  An investigation started by ... (click for more)

Embrace America - And Response (2)

Okay, Hollywierd we get it. The world of entertainment and cinema arts do not support President Trump. But for all their derisive and divisive speech, truth remains. People who support conservative values do not hate children, we do not hate immigrants, we do not hate other races and ethnicities although that is all you trumpet at every opportunity.  What we do support ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Eye Of The Storm

There is a very serious building in Norman, Okla., that houses the nation’s Storm Prediction Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. According to a Four-Day Forecast released on Sunday, north Alabama and the Chattanooga area are in the middle of the bulls eye for the United States. Yes, it was about 40 degrees and sunny ... (click for more)