Created on Saturday, 11 May 2013 Written by AARON LaBATT
Hard work and determination are character traits that Bellefontaine’s Darby Newman has gained throughout her wrestling career.
Now the Chieftain grappler is ready to tackle the college level after signing Thursday to wrestle at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.
The Patriots compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“I knew early on I wanted to wrestle in college, but it doesn’t become reality until you sign the piece of paper,” said Newman. “The Cumberlands is where I always wanted to go.”
The Patriots ended last season ranked eighth in the nation among women’s wrestling programs in NAIA. Former Indian Lake standout and current all-American wrestler for the Patriots, Kerstin Harmon, trained with Newman during her prep career.
“Kerstin goes to the Cumberlands and I’ve trained with her,” said Newman. “That was part of the reason I liked it and wanted to go there. They also have a great campus and a new head coach. It is close to home, too. Those are all the things that I liked about the Cumberlands.”
For the Chiefs, Newman earned the hustle award as a sophomore.
“Darby has always been a hard worker in our wrestling room,” said BHS head coach Rick Reed. “That was evident her sophomore year with the hustle award. She did everything we asked of her and she competed hard. She is very dedicated to the sport of wrestling and worked a ton outside of our room to get better.”
One area Newman always had to battle with was competing against naturally stronger male opponents. Now she will be able to wrestle against women and further showcase her abilities.
“It will be different with strength and mobility,” said Newman. “I think it should be a little easier wrestling just girls now. I want to work hard there and impress the coaches. I won’t make varsity my freshman year, but I want to work toward a varsity spot.”
With an even playing field, Reed is confident Newman can find success on the mat for the Patriots.
“It is an exciting opportunity for her to go somewhere to wrestle against other girls,” said Reed. “It has been challenging giving up strength to the boys. I think she can be successful there. She has good technique and understands the sport really well.
“He first goal should be to get a degree. As far as wrestling, I know she wants to make the varsity lineup. That will be challenging because they have a nice team. She can accomplish a lot there, though, and we are all excited to see how it goes for her.”