FloWrestling.com, the top wrestling media outlet, released its Division III rankings and included in it was Waynesburg’s sophomore heavyweight Rocky McGeary.
McGeary wasn’t just on the list. He was at the top of the rankings for all Division III heavyweights.
“It does mean a lot, but rankings aren’t everything,” McGeary said. “Being honored like that is nice.”
McGeary had a disappointing finish to his season last year. Not because of his performance on the mat, but due to COVID-19 stripping away his opportunity to wrestle at NCAA D-III Nationals.
McGeary was one day away from wrestling for a season goal of becoming an All-American, but then the world changed. The NCAA released a statement before McGeary’s matches were set to take place and canceled winter and spring championships.
“It was weird,” McGeary said. “I’m using it as motivation to get back on the mat, compete well, and get back to nationals.”
Later on, McGeary was named a first-team All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, even though he couldn’t step on the mat and truly earn his goal.
“It was a different vibe and very frustrating,” McGeary said. “I’m trying to take it as a positive and different motivation since I can only control what I can control.”
McGeary had a stellar freshman season that featured a 38-3 record with 15 pins.
“I don’t try to get too hung up on what happened at nationals because I had a really good year and I try to be happy about that,” McGeary said.
McGeary has come a long way in a short amount of time in his tenure at Waynesburg. McGeary took a gap year after graduating from West Allegheny in 2018. Two years later, McGeary is the top heavyweight in D-III.
“The only word I can describe the process [with] is surreal,” McGeary said. “I thought I was never going to wrestle again and number one doesn’t mean that much, but it’s a huge jump from where I was before.”
The process will look different for McGeary this season. He is coming off of foot surgery and the regular season will have a different landscape.
“I’m at 80 percent right now,” McGeary said. “My comfort level will come up with repetition and as the season goes on. We’ll probably be going into regionals without a tournament under our belts, but everyone else won’t either so nobody will have an advantage.”
The 2020-21 wrestling season will not begin until after Jan. 1, 2021 due to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference’s postponement of all sports through the new year. From there, the Jackets and McGeary will begin the quest to NCAA Nationals.