Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The future of Berkeley Stags wrestling looks mighty bright, and this has nothing to do with the five high school wrestlers that competed in the Class AAA state wrestling tournament in Anderson this past weekend.
This is about the future of Berkeley Stags wrestling come 2016 and beyond.
That’s when seventh grader Dougie Metts will be in high school, and the rest of the wrestling world, especially those competing in the 106-to-120-pound weight classes, better watch out.
Metts brought home a pair of medals in recent regional and statewide middle school wrestling competitions, taking home a gold medal at the Marion Regional Qualifier to qualify for the Middle School State Championship with the South Carolina Youth Wrestling Assocation’s Carolina Invitational state championship meet.
Metts finished with the bronze medal going 4-1 for the tournament with three pins and one major - a win by more than 10 points. Metts’ only loss was by two points (9-7) where he finished third in the state at the 86-pound weight class.
“Dougie Metts is for real,” said Stags Coach Shane Judy. “He is very high on everyone’s radar right now and I can’t wait to have him as part of the Stags in two years.”
Berkeley Middle School Principal Mike Wilkerson agrees: “Dougie is the real thing. He’s an athlete. This kid has a fantastic future ahead of him. He is what we want to make middle school athletics all about, not just wrestling. We get these kids ready to feed into the high school programs at Berkeley.”
Metts keeps his cards - and his medals - close to his chest,
“I keep my medals in my book bag,” he said. “I don’t take them out and show them off to anybody. I’d rather stay quiet about it and do my talking on the mat.”
The competition around the state has heard Metts loud and clear in that regard.
Metts has been wrestling for six years and feels at home in the gym and weight room, currently competing in the 86-pound weight class.
He projects to wrestle in the 106-pound weight class when he reaches high school, but don’t mistake his lack of size for lack of heart once the whistle blows.
Metts is a predator inside the circle.
“I like to come in for the kill quickly,” said the youngster, who finished the middle school season with 15 pins, twin wins by major, and just three losses. “I want to end it fast, get the pin, and move on to the next round. The longer a match goes, the greater the potential for something to go wrong.”
His mindset is to be constantly on the attack and his record proves it.
In the regional qualifier Metts pinned all five of his opponents to qualify for the state meet and bring home the gold.
The top four in each region advanced to the SCYWA’s Carolina Invitational, where Metts competed as part of the top 16 wrestlers in the state in his weight class.
BMS placed 33rd out of 78 teams in points with Metts finishing third and winning the bronze medal as the team’s sole representative.
“That’s what I like most about wrestling,” Metts said. “It’s a one-on-one sport, just you and your opponent. If you win or lose it’s all on you. You can blame only yourself.”
Following his impressive finish at the Carolina Invitational and winning multiple medals throughout the SCYWA’s wrestling season, Metts was invited to compete with Team Palmetto’s middle school wrestling team in the 85-pound weight class. The statewide team traveled to Wildwood, NJ where Metts competed against some of the best middle school wrestlers from across the country in the Wildwood National Duals. Mett’s team finished the three-day tournament placing 12th out of 40 teams.
Metts also credits his success this year to the first class weight training facility at Berkeley Middle School, part of BHS Athletic Director Jeff Cruce’s weight training philosophy where athletes “practice” to improve their skills first in the weight room.
“It’s good to have something like this here,” Metts said. “It has really helped with my stamina and my strength.”
Metts said last year he struggled with conditioning drills.
“I could barely do one pullup last year,” he said, “But this year after working with the weights I can do several. It helps a lot.”
Wilkerson said the BMS weight training facility has produced results across the board.
“Coach Cruce got us up and running over here,” he said. “Dougie Metts is a hard worker and his dedication is paying off.
“Kids come into Berkeley Middle School, the first thing we show them is our weight room. There’s nothing like it a other middle schools around here.”
Metts wants to wrestle collegiately and currently is interested in veterinary science as a field of study. He wants to work some day with animals in a zoo environment.
He has his heart set on Penn State, or Newberry, if he decides to remain close to home.
But there is plenty of time for the grown-up goals.
Right now, Dougie Metts enjoys being a kid, and he enjoys wrestling.
“It feels good to win,” he said. “I know I do my best, win or lose, and I want to do my best for those who are there to support me, like my family.”