After a stellar high school career that found him on the state wrestling podium three times, as well as the state track podium this spring, Northmor’s Conan Becker will move on to hit the mats for the Kent State wrestling program.
Becker officially signed with the Golden Flashes in May.
“I really like the campus,” he said. “I’ve been there four times and my cousin (Lane Hinkle of Mount Vernon) goes there and wrestles there. We’re really close and spend time with each other. It’ll make my time easier and his time easier. We’ll push each other and have each others’ backs. When he made his decision, I always thought of Kent State — it depended on if I liked it or not.”
After this year’s state meet, Becker figured he’d have a three-week window to look into colleges, as he also was considering Central Michigan and Purdue before making his final decision to go to Kent State. While at Kent State, Becker is planning to major in civil engineering with a double major in construction management.
With the dramatic increase in caliber of competition at the Division I level, he knows he’ll have to put in a lot of work on the mat as well as in the classroom.
“Every match will be a fight until I get really good,” he said. “I’m going at it training and getting in shape because I want to be ready when fall training starts. I want to prove myself as a freshman.”
To do that, he’ll have to adjust his mat style, as he noted that the technique is too good at that level for him to coast on what’s worked for him in the past.
“The rules in college wrestling and I haven’t worked on technique in high school,” he said of the toughest adjustments he’ll have to make. “You can’t rely on strength, so I’ll have to learn weird college moves basically.”
However, Becker has faith he’ll be able to accomplish that, noting that he’s been able to improve a lot during his wrestling career. He cited the jump he made between his freshman and sophomore years as one of his best memories in high school.
“After my freshman year, I was really disappointed in not making state,” he said. “Towards the end of my sophomore year, things started to click and I started beating those good kids and got fifth in state.”
Becker would then go on to place sixth in state as a junior before suffering a narrow loss in the championship bout this year. Now, he looks at his main challenge not being on the mat, but adjusting to a new life.
“Just getting out of the house and growing up and starting another life where I make my own decisions and do things on my own,” he said about what he’s looking forward to most about the move to college. “My parents prepared me for life and I’m ready.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS