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BREAKING NEWS

South’s Braxton Amos staying focused

Let’s be honest for a minute …

There is nothing easy about being a teenager most, if not all, of the time.

Teens have a lot going on between puberty, school, fighting with parents, a love life, friends, phones and extracurricular activities. Something almost always is cropping up.

If you are Parkersburg South’s 220-pound wrestler Braxton Amos, an athlete with Olympic aspirations and the talent to match, you can have so much on a plate in just one of those categories alone that it can be overwhelming.

“It is hard sometimes,” shared Amos. “But I just take it one tournament at a time. I knew going into Ironman, I would have Powerade. But I didn’t start training for Powerade until after Ironman. Looking at the big picture, it is a lot. But taking it one or two weeks at a time is great.

“I am starting to scout guys for the OVACs and regionals, while also training and looking at what my next opponents are going to do technique-wise. I am not worried about the state finals or semis right now.”

His preparation and laser-sharp focus have shown through to this point in the season.

Not one opponent has bested him, though Ripley’s BJ Haynes and Florida Lakeland Prep’s Ben Goldon have given him a run for his money.

In fact, Amos has faced Goldon twice, in the Powerade and Iroman finals, and obviously has beaten him both times in close matches.

“Knowing the the level of wrestling those two tournaments bring and to watch him win everything is pretty amazing to see,” said South wrestling coach Shaun Smith of Amos.

Something else awe-inspiring came at a South practice a few weeks ago. Josh Humphreys, the Patriots’ 152-pound wrestler, and Amos went up against coaches Smith, Koresky, Church and Green (all college wrestlers) for 40 minutes. “All four are still in their prime and all four were still fresh by the time Josh and I got to them … . It may have been the highlight of the year.”

Finding a way to focus with a lot of success around him isn’t something new for Amos.

In addition to OVACs, regionals and states, world team trials and world championships provide motivation for the coming months. “If I don’t push myself now, how am I going to be able to flip the switch when it is time to start getting ready for someone from Russia or Uzbekistan or Japan or somewhere else,” Amos added.

Practice (you heard it here Allen Iverson) is where the young man comes alive. Yes, he knows a lot of kids don’t like practice, but focusing every day is much better than getting thrown on his head like he did in the Greco-Roman semis a few months ago in Fargo. “That wasn’t fun,” he said.

Competing is fun he added, but nothing is better in his mind than getting to a point where an upcoming opponent knows a move is coming and Amos still finds a way to hit said move.

Another motivational drive at the beginning of the season and continuing now are questions surrounding his ACL injury last season.

Could he have made the state championship roster? Could he have been a four-time state champion? Would he have won? Could he have beaten this kid or won the Powerade or Ironman?

“I kind of had to prove to myself more so than others I could go out and dominate where I needed to dominate,” said Amos. “Because at the end of the day I don’t have to look them in the mirror, but rather myself.”

Smith agrees Amos has undoubtedly answered all inquiries.

The sophomore isn’t just focused on the individual accolades either. “Those awards don’t really matter to me,” said Amos. “It is all about team. If I do great, it is nice and hopefully gets me recognized by colleges. But at the same time, we are a team. If we beat the entire state by 120 points this year instead of 100 like last year, that would be great.”

Some of his favorite moments of the year have come from team successes. He cited giving Wadsworth, a top-30 team in the nation, a run for their money at the beginning of the season without a full lineup, a wonderful showing at the Ironman without a full team, and a third-place team finish at the Powerade as a few of the top memories.

“It has been great,” said Smith when asked about having Amos back on the mat. “I think he really helps set the room up a whole lot. He gives us the extra level we have kind of been missing. I think we had a really good team, but now we are pushing some of the upperclassmen. It has really helped and it is very obvious.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com

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