By Matt Chandik, Delaware County Daily Times
February 09, 2011
“I feel more comfortable now with the changes,” Smith said. “I think the added size helped me in both football and wrestling. I’m stronger, quicker, faster and I’m really working on my technique. All of it helped me in the fall for football on the O-line and now it’s helping me with wrestling.”
That improvement is showing on the mat. A year after posting a 17-14 mark at the 189-pound weight, Smith has already surpassed that win total with two Central League bouts (tonight at Upper Darby and Saturday at Ridley) remaining before postseason matches start. Last week, however, Smith realized that there’s still work to be done if he aspires to eventually make a run at the state title after he lost to Garnet Valley star Matt Idelson by fall in 2:37.
“He’s got everything,” Smith said of Idelson. “Speed, technique, quickness, power, he’s really good. I was hoping to go all three periods with him, but I can still learn a lot from that match. It just shows me what I have to work on.”
Marple Newtown has been a pleasant surprise in the Central League ranks this season and a large reason for it has been the on and off-the-mat actions from Smith. While Smith doesn’t usually have much to say, he finds himself in a leadership position for a young Tiger team, something that he relishes.
“I usually just try to lead more by example than vocally,” Smith said. “Being a vocal leader really isn’t my style, so I just try to show what I can do instead of saying it.”
With his confidence at an all-time high and the results on the mat to back it up, Smith has the potential to go a long way this year. Even if he doesn’t make it as far as he’d like, the end of his junior year should provide a great springboard toward an explosive senior season. And that means he’ll be bad news for his prospective opponents.