Section IV's Greg Kleinsmith Ready for the Next Step at Wyoming Seminary

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

In 2012, one of Section IV’s surprises at the state qualifying sectional championships occurred when Johnson City freshman Greg Kleinsmith took out Vestal’s Alex Francik 5-4 at 152 pounds to earn his first berth to the New York State tournament.

Unfortunately, 2013 didn’t end on quite the same high for Kleinsmith. His sophomore season began late after he sustained a concussion in late November, causing him to miss the first half of the campaign.  He returned, but during Section IV’s annual dual meet tournament, Kleinsmith suffered his second injury and was told his season was over.

“Concussions are a serious thing,” Kleinsmith said. “I knew I was out for at least half the season but when it happened again, I was just devastated. I knew I couldn’t just ‘let myself go.’ I had to run and lift whenever I could. Freestyle and Greco still have an important role in my wrestling [career] and my dad and family had a lot of encouraging stuff to say to keep me going.”

Kleinsmith continued to support his teammates and cheer them on as the Wildcats won the Section IV team title. Now, he will try to capture a different set of team championships with his new squad – Wyoming Seminary.

When asked why he’s going to ‘Sem’, Kleinsmith mentioned a number of reasons, but the first was related to academics.

“The education,” Kleinsmith said. “I know I have a better chance at going to a Division I school if I attend a school such as Wyoming Seminary.”

In addition, his familiarity with the leader of the Blue Knight program, Scott Green, played a role.  Kleinsmith wrestled at the Shamrock Wrestling Club out of Binghamton through his pee wee years with the coach and said that Green was a big part of his childhood success.

“Coach Green pushes me,” Kleinsmith said. “Even if I’m in tears, he doesn’t care because he knows it will make me better and I love that.”

“I’ve been Greg’s club coach for years and he is going to be a great asset to our program,” Green added. “He has the experience at national events in the international styles, and will now be fighting hard to earn a spot in our lineup. He will benefit greatly from guys in the room around his size. I am excited to watch him grow in our program.”

That growth will come not only from his practice partners but also the level of competition he’ll face throughout the year.

“They have one of the toughest wrestling schedules in the country and you know it, to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kleinsmith said.

He’ll attempt to do that this year, during which he plans to compete not only on the mat but also on the football field. When asked about his goals, he had a few things in mind.

“I want to wrestle as best as I can,” he said. “I know if I wrestle to my potential and I’m in shape I can give anybody in the country a run for their money.  My goal as a Blue Knight is to not just get a great education but to meet new people from around the world and just do the best I can in everything I do.”

All-State Wrestler Jimmy Overhiser Ready for New Challenges as He Transfers to Wyoming Seminary

 
 

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

What do the “Walsh Ironman”, the “Beast of the East”, and “The Clash” all have in common? For one, they are all FloMajor wrestling tournaments for the upcoming season. What else? They’re all on the Wyoming Seminary schedule for 2013-14. And they are three of the reasons 2012 All-State wrestler Jimmy Overhiser of Corning is transferring to Intermat’s second-ranked high school program for his junior campaign.

“Have you ever seen a tournament in New York that nationally ranked guys go to and don’t place?” Overhiser asked about the schedule he is determined to dominate. “Well, that’s what happens at those tournaments. The biggest reason I’m transferring to Wyoming Seminary is opportunity. They wrestle the toughest schedule in the USA. If you want to get college recognition, you need to wrestle the top competition week in and week out. That’s something I can’t get in Corning. ‘Sem’ is the perfect fit – but not only for wrestling; for every aspect of my life. I feel it gives me the greatest chance to succeed in whatever I choose to do.”

A big part of that is the coaching he will receive from a familiar face to many New York wrestling fans – Scott Green, a former Binghamton assistant and leader of the Shamrock Wrestling Club.  Green’s list of achievements is long, including being named the USA Wrestling FILA Junior/University Person of the Year in 2009.

“We are excited to have Jimmy on board,” the coach said. “His success in New York shows he has the potential to compete at the national level.  Making a jump to a boarding school like ours is a big step and Jimmy has shown by taking it that he is serious about his academic and athletic goals. I was just as impressed with Jimmy’s academic profile as I was with his wrestling ability in the admissions process. We think we can surround him with the right training partners to help him achieve his goals.”

Indeed, there’s little doubt that Overhiser will have a number of stellar wrestlers to push him.

“I’m going to be surrounded by around 11 state finalists and 10 Prep National All-Americans,” Overhiser said. “I’ve wrestled in hundreds of wrestling rooms, and not one room has ever given me the stability the ‘Sem’ room will give me.”

That stability will also be in place off the mat, although there will be a transition academically and in living away from home.

“It’s going to be great – I’m going to be living thirty seconds from some of the best wrestlers in the country, and I’m going to be living with my friends,” he said. “Who doesn’t want that? As for the academic standards, I’m living on campus right next to a library if I need to study or work on a project, I have a quiet place to work. Seminary has great resources and I’m looking forward to being able to use them to the fullest extent I can.”

It’s something that many others have done before. It certainly worked for two-time National Prep Champion and future Ivy League wrestler Eric Morris.

“’Sem’ helped develop me in ways that I didn’t even realize I was lacking before coming,” Morris said on Facebook. “Suddenly I became more than an athlete; I became a student-athlete. I grew to love learning and as a result I was able to achieve higher grades and test scores than I thought I was capable of. My college ambitions changed from going to a good school to going to a great school. I came to Sem as a talented wrestler and I graduated as a promising Division I athlete and future student at Harvard.”

After a fourth place finish in New York at 106 pounds in 2012 and a 36-5 campaign in 2013 at the same weight, Overhiser has similarly high expectations for himself. (He will likely wrestle at 113 or 120 pounds this year).

He said he is looking to go undefeated and win a Prep National title, and in the long run Overhiser looks to compete for Cael Sanderson and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

“Wyoming Seminary gives me the best opportunity to complete all those goals,” he said. “My job is to take that opportunity and run with it.”