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

 


Covenant Men Fall At Piedmont 59-56

 On a night where both teams struggled shooting from the field, the Covenant men's basketball team rallied late but ultimately fell to host Piedmont 59-56 in USA South action inside Cave Arena on Wednesday night. The teams both shot just over 30 percent from the field, but it was a key 3-pointer from Piedmont's Peyton Luken that gave the Lions a 55-52 lead with over a ... (click for more)

UTC's Johnson Sweeps SoCon Wrestling Honors

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga heavyweight Jared Johnson swept weekly honors from the Southern Conference, the league office announced today.  He was named the SoCon Wrestler of the Week, as well as the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week, for all competition from Jan. 11-17. Johnson went 4-0 with a pair of wins over ranked opponents in the Mocs' four matches at ... (click for more)

Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Tax Cut And Transportation Proposal Including Higher Gas Tax And Vehicle Registration Fee

Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday announced "a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth." The IMPROVE Act, “Improving ... (click for more)

Big Woody's Tree Service Employee Killed In Fall On Signal Mountain

An employee of Woody's Tree Service fell to his death 150 feet off a bluff while trimming trees on Signal Mountain on Wednesday. At  11:22 a.m. , a 911 call was made by an employee of the tree service reporting a man in his early 30s had fallen off a bluff the mountain while trimming trees on private property. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 6202 ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)