“We have semistate and I’m going to be seeing a lot of tough opponents like Chase Wilson,” he said. “It was a good look for me [on Saturday].”
Ledford flattened all three of his opponents on Saturday en route to the podium to earn a return trip to Fort Wayne. Another senior standout who pinned his way to the semistate isn’t making a repeat appearance at the semistate. He didn’t even wrestle last season.
Eastern heavyweight Chris Travis was on the mat for 3:06 on Saturday. That’s all three matches combined. No opponent survived the first round without feeling the helplessness of his shoulders pinned to the mat by the big Comet. This from a senior who hadn’t wrestled since giving up the sport after a few matches as a freshman.
His was an unlikely return.
“The coach [Bob Jarrett] actually came up to me and he’s like, ‘Hey, do you want to wrestle this season?’ And I said, ‘Sure, why not, keep me in shape.’ I just came out and started doing well.”
That’s an understatement. The Class 2A all-state football lineman takes a 40-4 record into the semistate. He didn’t expect that kind of success when he returned to the mat this past fall. He didn’t grasp his potential until wins started rolling in.
“When we started to go to big tournaments and I started placing in them, I started getting first place. That’s when I discovered that,” Travis said.
Travis walks around at just under the heavyweight limit of 285 pounds. He handles opponents with strength few can match, and growing wrestling knowledge.
“I guess some of it has to do with strength, but I pick up things real quick, things that the coach has taught me,” Travis said of how he’s besting opponents this season.
Next week, competition will get significantly more difficult. The semistate is a daunting challenge but Travis hopes to be ready. He said he needs to “just keep working real hard in the weight room, keep getting stronger and working on my moves.”