Overcoming obstacles and defying odds have become a theme for Reyse Wallbrown throughout his wrestling career.
It all came together for the Indian Lake standout this winter, though, and the biggest payoff was a scholarship to Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, an NCAA Division II program entering its third year of existence.
“It’s a newer program and I want to be a part of helping start (a new program) up,” said Wallbrown. “I also really like that Coach (Sean) Doyle wrestled for Cornell. I think there are some great opportunities for me there.”
“I feel that Reyse made the right decision for him,” said Indian Lake head coach Scott Tressler. “Wheeling Jesuit’s program is just a few years old and I think he likes the idea of being part of something new and special.”
Wallbrown made his first state tournament appearance last season as a senior. He made the most of it by placing third at 152 pounds and beating several state placers and even the projected champion along the way.
That has left him with bigger goals for his next journey at the college level.
“I definitely want to make the starting lineup as a freshman,” said Wallbrown. “I want to be an NCAA national qualifier and an academic All-American.”
Earning his way to a Division II scholarship wasn’t easy for Wallbrown. He had an injury-plagued career for the Lakers, missing most of his freshman year and nearly all of his junior season because of injury and health issues.
Despite the bumps in the road, Wallbrown has persevered.
“I think it shows others that anything is possible,” said Wallbrown. “This has been a long time coming for me. I’ve wanted to wrestle since I was in kindergarten. You just have to keep working at it and never give up. You have to make your opportunities count.”
Watching the senior overcome and achieve so much has made this accomplishment even more meaningful for Tressler.
“We’re all very excited for Reyse to have the opportunity to excel as a student-athlete at the next level,” said Tressler. “With his abilities, anything is possible for him. If he works hard and does things right, he will be very successful.”