BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -Ohio Valley University junior wrestler Chase Long already has put his name in the school's sports history book.
Today, he has a chance to add to his already impressive resume.
Last week, Long and his Fighting Scots teammates competed in the NCAA Division SuperRegion 1 meet, where he became the first Ohio Valley wrestler in the three-year history of the program to qualify for the NCAA National Championships, being conducted today and Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
Long, a Buckhannon-Upshur High School graduate, will be one of 16 competitors in the 197-pound division. Should be place in the top eight, he will earn all-America status.
An honor roll student and a wrestling team captain at OVU, Long has compiled a 20-14 record this season. He is paired against 21-6 Tanner Kiss of Fort Hays State (Kansas) in the opening round. Long has watched films of Kiss, so he knows what to expect. He says Kiss is quick for such a big man.
Long describes his wrestling style as "boring.'' Rather than be ultra aggressive, he stays patient and waits on his opponent to make a mistake, then does his best to take advantage of the situation. He also prides himself on his conditioning, saying no matter how grueling a match becomes, he has the stamina to go all the way without getting fatigued.
Long has done a great deal of conditioning to prepare for the tournament, putting in time on a treadmill as well as running outdoors. He's also been working out with OVU assistant coaches Terry Collins and Chris Daggett and teammate Kobina Henriquez.
During his high school career, Long qualified for the West Virginia State High School Tournament three times, making it to the semifinals his senior year. That, up until now, is the biggest stage on which he has performed. He knows the NCAA Tournament will be much larger and pressure-packed, but he is trying not to get too worked up and is treating it like any other tournament.
Just by making the national tournament, Long already has become a part of OVU sports history. When you are the first to accomplish something, no one else ever can take that away.
Yet, Long wants more.
He wants to be the first OVU wrestler to be an all-America.
His fate will be determined over the next two days.