Growing up, Colby Morris didn’t like wrestling.
It wasn’t until around middle school that Morris started to enjoy the sport.
Embracing life on the mat has worked out well for Morris, and now, as a college freshman at Waynesburg University, he’s already making a name for himself not just at his school, but nationally. D3wrestle.com has Morris ranked 20th in the nation for his weight class.
Morris [25-5] has won three tournaments this year, including the 157 pound PAC Championship, and is looking to make it past the regional tournament and wrestle at U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where nationals will take place.
“Hopefully eventually [I can] win a national championship,” Morris said. “Hopefully I can do it this year.”
Morris’ head coach, Ron Headlee is optimistic in the potential Morris has over the next three years.
“I definitely think he has All-American potential or national champion [potential] if he just keeps working at it,” Headlee said.
Headlee was first interested in Morris’ older brother Caleb. The older Morris decided to go in a different direction, attending West Virginia University for engineering, but Headlee was able to get Colby to stay in his hometown.
“It’s a big goal for us to try to keep local guys here,” Headlee said. “It’s good for our program.”
Morris has drawn a plethora of fans to keep up to date with the wrestling team. Many people from Waynesburg attend the matches to show their support.
“It’s nice, the more people that come, get the team a little more populated,” Morris said. “It’s just cool to be around home.”
Senior Dan Verhovsek is happy Morris decided to stay in Waynesburg and wrestle for the University. Verhovsek won his first individual PAC Championship this season at the 184 pound weight class. Although Verhovsek is in year four compared to Morris’ year one, he feels that the freshman has made him better.
“We practice together a lot and I think he was a big reason for some of my success this year,” Verhovsek said. Hopefully I was able to help him as well.”
Morris appreciates his relationship with the senior both on and off the mat.
“We wrestle just about every day. He’s a great practice partner,” Morris said. “He works hard and makes things fun, too.”
For Headlee, a big key to Morris’ success has been his mentality, as well as his laid back personality.
“He’s real loose. He has a good demeanor,” Headlee said. “He works really hard in the room. He has a really good work ethic.”
Morris is calm whether he’s wrestling or not, and stays this way by lying down on the mat in between rounds, or lying on the bleachers.
“I just try to stay relaxed,” he said. “[I] never put any pressure on me. I call it more of meditating. I sit there, peace and quiet, with headphones in while listening to music.”
Part of the reason for Morris’ success in college is making technical improvements in his style from his high school days.
“I think I’m more consistent in a way of scoring points and getting riding time,” Morris said.
Morris has also grown as a person, in addition to growing in his skills on the mat.
“Headlee really strives to make us better people on and off the mat,” he said.
Morris will be wrestling at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in Mechanicsburg this weekend for a chance to punch his ticket to nationals.