Burrell’s Oswalt competes on national stage
By: Greg Macafee
Monday, July 1, 2019 | 6:41 PM
Burrell’s Ian Oswalt was ranked among the best wrestlers in his weight class this past season.
But the talented sophomore, who lost twice all season, fell in the PIAA semifinals to Notre Dame-Green Pond’s Ryan Crookham, the eventual state champion.
“I was pretty upset after that,” Oswalt said. “That drove me to start practicing and lifting more. I’m more motivated than ever.”
That motivation has led to a busy summer for Oswalt. Over the past few months, he has been competing on the national level at large tournaments up and down the east coast.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Oswalt wrestled at the National High School Coaches Association Duals in Virginia Beach, where 192 high school teams competed. Oswalt finished 8-3.
Then, from June 17-20, Oswalt traveled to the AAU National Team Duals in Walt Disney World and competed with Team Nauman out of the Harrisburg area. They placed seventh as a team, and Oswalt went 9-1 with six pins.
Both tournaments allowed the Burrell grappler to compete against wrestlers from all over the country who excel in their home states. Having that type of competition and a lack of familiarity with his opponents challenged Oswalt because he wasn’t aware of their styles.
“Just getting a feel for different kids at a tournament like that makes you a better wrestler overall,” Oswalt said. “Not wrestling the same kids from the WPIAL or even in section and stuff like that, it gives you a place or an idea where you stand. It helps you get better because it tells you what you need to work on.”
Wrestling on a national stage helps wrestlers improve in several different ways and competing against tough competition is just one of them. These opportunities also allow wrestlers to try a move or two they may not attempt during the high school season.
“This doesn’t matter, like high school if that makes sense,” Oswalt said. “So this is the time where I’ll try new things and expand on my inventory of technique and stuff like that.”
In his two high school seasons, Oswalt has a record of 95-14 with 39 pins. Still, he knows he still has room for improvement and has been looking to round out the finer points of his technique.
Specifically, Oswalt has focused on his shots and his attack at neutral.
“I really don’t shoot in high school so I know I really need to work on that in order to take my game to the next level, so I’ve really been focusing on that,” Oswalt said.
Although two of the biggest tournaments are out of the way, Oswalt’s summer is not over. The rising junior will compete in a few more team dual tournaments where he could get five or six matches and possibly a few open tournaments, as well.
With a state championship on his mind, he’s looking to take advantage of any opportunity where he can to improve.
“You always have to improve,” he said, “because there’s always someone out there that’s better than you.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .