Evidently, Calvin Atkeson isn’t too bad at wrestling ether.
The Ravenscroft junior has garnered significant Division I attention for his play on the gridiron, including an offer from ACC program Virginia. On Saturday, he showed he can also get it done on the wrestling mat with his 3-1 decision over Charlotte Latin’s Harrison Karp in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 287 final.
It was a rematch of last year’s 285 final, which Karp won by a 2-1 decision.
“This feels pretty good,” Atkeson said. “Last year, I was going in expecting to win because I had beaten him pretty handily during the regular season, and I was humbled by that experience. This time I had a better mindset going into it.”
Atkeson and Karp had split their two regular-season meetings, both pulling out one-point wins. In Saturday’s title match, Atkeson struck first with a double-leg takedown with just under a minute remaining in the first period to break a scoreless tie.
Considering that points would be at a premium, Atkeson knew it was significant to get the upper hand early.
“Something just clicked, and I went for the double,” Atkeson said of the takedown. “Then I just had to hold him down the rest of the period after that so he didn’t get a point, after that I felt pretty good.”
Atkeson’s focus is on football, but he says he does allow himself enough time to work on his wrestling.
“Football is most important, but I did a couple of (wrestling) clubs last offseason,” Atkeson said. “I try to make sure I fit some wrestling in.”
Ravenscroft coach Garrett Cummings believed that Atkeson had a much better approach to this year’s title match compared to a year ago.
“He followed the game plan beautifully,” Cummings said. “He’s a straight-A student, so it was an academic win terms of following the game plan, get the one takedown in a heavyweight match and then manage it afterwards.”