For The Daily Reporter
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Anyone who knows Eastern Hancock senior wrestler Jared Waterman knows he’s not comfortable talking about himself.
That, however, should not be taken as a sign of weakness.
Instead, it is quite the opposite. Waterman prefers to let his actions do the talking on the mat, and the 152-pounder has been telling quite a story.
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A year removed from winning the Shenandoah Sectional and finishing second to Connersville’s Colton Gonzalez at the Richmond Regional, Waterman is putting together a remarkable senior campaign, even if he’s not willing to toot his own horn.
“Some of these guys, you have to stay on and keep them focused. That’s not the case with Jared. He’s a self-motivator,” said Eastern Hancock coach Keith Oliver.
For three years Oliver has watched Waterman’s rise to prominence.
“He is a leader, shows good character and is just everything a coach could ask for. He has a vision and is the type of kid we need to come back when he is done with college and be a coach for us,” Oliver said.
In due time.
For right now, Waterman admits he has personal goals to complete before his prep career is over in a sport that his father introduced him to when he was younger.
“My dad pushed me into wrestling, and I got serious about it. I wrestled until the fifth grade and then got into football and have done both. It’s been a lot of fun,” Waterman said.
With more than 100 wins to his credit and a 5-0 mark in the Eastern Hancock Invitational on Jan. 16, Waterman said the credit for his success goes to the coaching staff and his teammates who “push” him to excellence.
“I’m not surprised with my success. We have a great coaching staff and a great group of guys in the wrestling room that push me every day to be the best I can,” he said.
The best he can be is what Waterman said he hopes for as his senior season winds down with aspirations that include a trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the IHSAA wrestling state finals.
“Hopefully, it ends with me winning my last match because that means I’m a state champion,” Waterman said. “That’s been the big push over the summer, to get over that hump and make it to Bankers Life.”
As a sophomore, Waterman finished 25-6 and was second in the sectional at 152.
Last year, he earned the sectional crown, before falling 12-8 to Gonzalez.
“One of the proudest moments of my career was winning sectional. We had a drought for a while and it was nice to break through and win that,” Waterman said.
The win gave Eastern Hancock confidence that it could compete on the greatest of stages, according to Oliver.
“Jared winning sectional last year was big, not only for him, but for our program,” he said. “The biggest thing was it showed that Eastern Hancock can compete. It showed that the little schools can get it done and compete with the biggest schools.
“Success is big, and it breeds championships. We are hoping we can get a little more success this postseason.”
While he garnered attention from Wabash College to wrestle at the next level, Waterman said his plan right now is to attend Ball State University and major in math.
“I have decided to take a little break from wrestling, so I didn’t get burned out. I hope to coach one day,” Waterman said.
And, Oliver hopes that day is back home at Eastern Hancock.
“He can definitely wrestle at the next level, if he chooses. But, what I want more than anything is him to come back, be involved in our program as a coach, and, who knows, maybe one day he is the head coach here,” Oliver said. “He is the type of kid you want to have involved after he graduates. He’s a great kid.”