GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Following a forced year off from wrestling because of a broken ankle, Mount Vernon’s David Watkins is making up for lost time.
The senior gradually has been working his way back into wrestling form and, in doing so, is establishing himself as a top contender for the Section 1 Division I 220-pound title.
Watkins took another step in his return by winning the 220-pound title, with an 11-5 decision versus New Fairfield’s Ryan Tharas, at the 31st annual Edgemont Wrestling Tournament Saturday. It is Watkins’ third consecutive tournament title. He won the Yonkers and Scarsdale titles the previous two weeks.
“I was anxious to get back this year,” said Watkins after his victory. “It was hard not being able to wrestle last year with my team, especially with the seniors, but I still came to support my team.”
Watkins eased his way back into the season, but realized he was not wrestling to his full potential in December.
“At first, I was being tentative because I was worried about my ankle,” Watkins said. “I was wrestling defensively instead of offensively. That’s when my dad had a talk with me.”
Watkins responded by forgetting about his ankle and focusing on wrestling. The result has been the three consecutive tournament championships.
Mount Vernon coach Wayne Woodbury also noticed Watkins was being tentative. He wanted to Watkins to open up more.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been working with David on his style,” Woodbury said. “We want David to go with more singles and doubles and become an all-around wrestler instead of just going with two moves.
“We feel in these last couple of weeks, David has matured as a wrestler. He is taking practice even more serious than before and becoming a more all-around wrestler.”
While Watkins is winning tournaments, his impact has been noticed in the wrestling room.
“David is an inspirational person in the room and for the team,” Woodbury said. “David motivates everyone and has brought life back to the team.”
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