WADSWORTH — It took over 450 miles for Joey Baughman to find a little bit of Wadsworth.
In search of a college to continue his academic and athletic career, the wrestling standout found it at the University of Virginia.
It came after an official visit when the Wadsworth senior gave his commitment over the likes of Ohio State, North Carolina, Oregon State and Appalachian State.
“When I visited there, everything kind of reminded me of Wadsworth,” Baughman said. “They just got a new room just like we did and their coach (Steve Garland) kind of reminds me of a younger ‘G’ (John Gramuglia). It just felt right.”
The proof is in the results.
Wadsworth has won 25 Suburban League titles and Gramuglia has coached a state placer in 24 of the last 25 seasons.
While Virginia might not have those kind of numbers, Garland has coached eight All-Americans in the last 10 seasons with 17 winning Atlantic Coast Conference crowns. He has qualified 62 wrestlers to the NCAA Division I Tournament and has recorded Top-25 finishes in five of the last seven seasons.
The Cavaliers also have two ACC team titles in the last eight seasons.
What’s more, Virginia is doing it with Ohioans as George DiCamillo (St. Ignatius) was a national runner-up after losing to Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil (Brunswick) in the finals last year.
DiCamillo was the ACC Wrestler of the Year and took time out to send Baughman a message on Twitter.
Virginia has also had a Northeast Ohio standout in two-time All-American Nick Sulzer (St. Edward).
“I guess there’s a little pressure to represent, but not really,” Baughman said.
That fearlessness comes from a storied past of success in Baughman. A standout on the football field, he’s even better on the mat.
Baughman, who won’t play football in college, is a two-time state runner-up and three-time state placer.
The 182-pounder has accumulated a 112-17 record in three seasons and is in line to finish in the Top 10 in Medina County history.
Undecided in terms of a major, Baughman, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average, is confident he can find success at Virginia where he plans to wrestle at 184.
“The program at Wadsworth is just like the program at Virginia,” Baughman said. “I talked to the coach and he said I’m the type of guy they’re looking for and it’s not just wrestling wise, it’s character wise. He said I’d mix right in with the team.”
That team will have quite a few wrestlers at Baughman’s weight class when he arrives in the fall as seniors Chance McClure and Will Schany along with sophomore Drew Peck could be fighting Baughman for mat time.
The battle isn’t one Baughman plans on shying away from. In fact, the three-time All-Gazette selection plans on tackling the obstacle with no fear.
“The competition will push me to be the best I can be,” Baughman said. “I talked to those guys and I think they’re great guys. They are going to push me to be my best. I’m just ready to take it on. I’ll just stay relaxed and work hard. That’s all you can do.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
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