A LIFETIME PURSUIT Wrestling is his mania
AUSTINTOWN -- Most 4-year-old boys are content playing with Matchbox cars, messing around with action figures or watching cartoons. But not Fitch High's Tony Jamieson.
At that age, he did like to watch TV, even the occasional episode of Bugs Bunny. But there was one show that caught his eye more than any other, and it changed his life.
One day, he happened to see a state wrestling tournament match on television. It intrigued him. As he watched every move the athletes made, he got excited. That was all it took to get him hooked on wrestling.
"I remember watching that match on TV and thinking, 'I want that to be me someday,'" said Jamieson. "It didn't look fake at all and it looked like hard work and working hard is something I like to do."
Jamieson grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, and started wrestling in the Biddy program at 4. The program teaches wrestling to children from diaper-age on up.
He moved to the Fitch school district in time for seventh grade. Two years later, he's been virtually unbeatable, leading the Falcons to a No. 7 ranking in the state coaches poll.
Jamieson's dedication to the sport has paid big dividends for the freshman.
Never was that more apparent than at the Top Gun tournament in January.
He entered the 103-pound weight class with an 11-2 record, seeded just seventh among his competitors. After all, he is just a freshman going against stronger, more experienced wrestlers.
None of that fazed him.
Jamieson won all five of his matches, the first two by technical fall and the next two by narrow decisions.
He dominated University School junior Dennis Roche 16-6 in the championship match to win one of two individual crowns for Fitch.
"Coach [Brett] Powell prepares us mentally for everything," said Jamieson.
"He tells us to do our best and then some. I've always been taught not to be afraid of anyone, so I wasn't intimidated.
"Ever since I saw my bracket at Top Gun, I was excited. There were a lot of tough kids and I wanted to see how I would do. All my hard work is paying off so far."
Is it ever.
He was fourth at the Brecksville tournament and rolled right along in the dual meet season. He won individual titles at the Josh Hephner Memorial Tournament, the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League tournament and last weekend's Division I sectional meet.
But what he really wants doesn't come until the beginning of March.
"These are all just mini practices for the state tournament," he said. "I've been training for this season all my life. I'll be very disappointed if I don't win a state title. I have worked so hard for it. I'm ready to see if I can be the best."