Jeremy Myers has yet to put the final touches on the outstanding wrestling career he's enjoyed at Messiah College, but coach Neil Turner already has come out with a desperate public plea.
"Please notify everyone we're looking for a 118-pounder to replace him next year," he said jokingly.
Much easier said than done.
Myers, who won a state title in his high school days at North Carroll, has come back from a herniated disk that sidelined him after an 11-1 start last season at the Grantham, Pa., college. With his 23-2 record this season, he's now 100-15 for his career -- the fourth Messiah wrestler to reach 100 wins -- and is ranked seventh in the nation in Division III.
The time off last year, his first stint away from the wrestling mat since he took up the sport when he was 8, has proven beneficial. "It rejuvenated me, gave me some time off, and now I'm a little fresher with a more positive outlook," he said.
Myers said he had a little added anxiety at the start of the season, and that getting back into the swing of things took some time. His two losses came on back-to-back weekend tournaments in early December, but he's back to his accustomed high level.
It couldn't come at a better time.
"Having wrestled since a youth, the time off gave him a chance to stand back and look at his career," said Turner. "He wants to finish off with a strong year. He's working harder than ever. It seems to be paying off. He's wrestling very well, and this is the time of year when you want to be wrestling well."
Barring upsets in Messiah's last two dual meets, Myers should be the top seed in the Middle Atlantic Conference tournament next weekend, as well as in the Division III East Region tournament the following weekend. From there, he hopes it'll be off to Nationals on March 7. Each region winner, plus seven wild-card entries, qualifies.
Myers is aiming high.
"I'm hoping to win it," he said.
"I figure if I shoot for anything less, that's where I'll end up. All I can do is come prepared and wrestle as tough as I can. It also takes a lot of luck at that level. Everyone is pretty much tough, so it often comes down to whoever has the better day. Hopefully, I'll have a good day, and we'll see what happens."
Turner said that kind of approach is necessary.
"He can beat anyone. It comes down to how he perceives himself," Turner said. "He's a very talented kid, who's very artistic in his wrestling -- how he sets things up, takes possession and designs his own plan. He came with a very good foundation, and we've been able to help him add to that and refine his skills. It's been a pleasure to have him."
Pub Date: 2/06/97