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Published: February 04, 2010 11:30 pm

HS WRESTLING: GI's Weigold’s stock has risen

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

100204 Eric Weigold /sports DAN CAPPELLAZZO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Grand Island - Grand Island 135 lbs. class wrestler Eric Weigold is ready for the upcoming sectionals at Niagara County Community College. DAN CAPPELLAZZO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPH/ (Click for larger image)

Eric Weigold’s climb to the top of the heap among Viking grapplers has been quiet. But that’s OK by him and coach Jeff Johnston.

“He always flies under the radar,” the veteran coach said of his senior captain. “He just comes in and does his job without a lot of fanfare. He’s like that silent assassin. I kind of like that.”

The 135-pounder currently has a mark of 26-9 this winter with second-place finishes at the Maryvale and Lewiston-Porter Tournaments. He also took third at the Niagara Frontier Wrestling Officials Association Tournament last month. The three-year varsity wrestler has 77 career wins to his credit heading into this weekend’s Section VI Divisional Wrestling Tour.

Weigold, who only began wrestling in eighth grade, took major steps during his junior campaign. He finished the season over .500 and took fifth at the Class AAA Tournament. He also picked up a marquee win over North Tonawanda’s Wally Maziarz.

“I became the aggressor,” Weigold said.

That statement has defined Weigold’s rise, according to Johnston.

“If he forces his opponent into his style, he’s a tough out for anyone,” the coach said. “He’s wrestling at his pace now.”

Weigold added, “I’m taking more chances. Instead of being passive, I’m the one making moves and trying to finish people off.”

His increased aggression has led to more confidence on the mat as well, Johnston said. That’s evident by Weigold’s goals for this weekend’s Class AAA event at Starpoint.

“I know I can make it to the finals, probably against Pat Mix from Lake Shore,” he said. “And I think I can give him a run for his money if I wrestle the way I’m capable of and not let him control the match.”

Johnston agreed.

“(Mix) pinned us back at Maryvale and there’s no doubt he’s the favorite, but we’ve learned a lot since then,” the coach said. “If (Weigold) wrestles like I know he can, he can compete with anybody on the mat.”

If not for any other reason, Johnston would like to see a hard-working and respectful young man like Weigold get to extend his high school wrestling career another week.

“He deserves it,” Johnston said.