Kiski Area wrestler Sammy Starr commits to Navy

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | 4:00 PM


Kiski Area’s Sammy Starr can finally take a deep breath.

He’s found his next home.

After a long and hectic recruitment process that included mulling over options, filling out applications and looking for just the right place, Starr recently committed to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to continue his wrestling career.

“It’s so relieving because I’m honestly one of the more indecisive people with like every decision,” Starr said. “Making this decision was just so hard, and I had to consider so many things. But once I was able to get down to Annapolis and see some other campuses, I was able to make the decision and it feels so good to be done and have it figured out.”

During his four years at Kiski Area, Starr earned two runner-up finishes at WPIALs, placed fifth at states this past winter, compiled a career record of 113-46 and helped the Cavaliers capture two WPIAL team titles.

He improved each year and turned in his best season this winter when he produced a 39-6 record and recorded 27 pins. Four of his losses came against either Waynesburg’s Luca Augustine or Mifflin County’s Trey Kibe, who finished first and second in the state.

Starr garnered enough attention to field interest from a few different colleges. He said he talked to West Virginia, Penn State, Bucknell, Pitt-Johnstown, as well as Army West Point and Navy.

Because of restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, Starr said the process was difficult with not being able to visit some schools or even talk with coaching staffs. But, once he was finally able to visit Annapolis and speak with the coaching staff, he was sold on attending Navy.

“Getting down there and being able to look around the campus and see the town, I kinda just fell in love with it,” Starr said. “I like the coaching staff, the kids that I know that are going to be there, and the kids that are there say it’s great. But once we were able to see Annapolis, it just seemed right.”

Before committing to Navy, Starr said he didn’t really think about attending a service academy but a conversation with his father one day about the structure of certain programs led him to become more interested in the idea of attending either Navy or West Point.

“We were talking about colleges and my dad was like some of these colleges are gonna tell you this is when you lift, this is when you practice, and it’s going to be really scheduled,” Starr said. “Then, he said other schools are going to be like lift when you want, wrestle when you want, and kind of do whatever you want to do and be as good as you want to be. To my dad’s surprise, I kind of said the structure sounds a little bit better to me.”

Shortly after the conversation, Starr said the head coach at West Point reached out and that was what got him looking at the academy schools.

“The more I looked at it, the more I found out about it, and the more I realized that it was really a special thing and something that I want to be a part of,” Starr said.

Starr’s journey to this point has been long and filled with hard work as he went from a freshman that barely mustered a .500 record to a Kiski Area senior that was in the running for a state title. Now he’s looking to do big things at the next level.

He’ll finish off his high school career right where it started. On May 8, Starr said he’s competing in the Stand Your Ground event at Kiski Area, where he’ll take on Freedom’s Trent Schultheis.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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