8-1 As A Rookie
Moyers Gives TA Big Heavyweight
Posted: January 3, 2013
HARRISONBURG – The frustration was clear on the face of Nic Moyers as he jogged back in bounds for a restart, harnessing a furious ball of energy for just a few more seconds during the first period.
His first-round opponent, Mark Nutter of Patrick Henry, had began the wrestling match with a physical outburst of fierce hand-checking, giving Moyers little room for an early takedown opportunity that he had grown accustomed to having in his short, five-match wrestling career.
When the referee blew the whistle, Moyers pounced.
The Turner Ashby High School senior lowered his head into his opponent’s chest while executing a ferocious blast double – essentially an instinctual tackle for Moyers, a dominant two-way lineman and college football prospect – and nearly drove Nutter into the bleachers at Great Bridge High on Saturday, according to TA coach Marshall Smiley.
Smiley said the crowd’s complete attention shifted to Moyers at that moment as fans let out a few ooh’s and aah’s.
“It really shook that kid. You saw the look on that kid’s face. He probably hadn’t had that happen to him in a long time,” Smiley said of Nutter, the heaviest of heavyweights, like Moyers, at 285 pounds.
“… We didn’t score off that initial takedown, but you could tell it swung the match.”
It also swung Moyers toward his first tournament title that day in the Colon E. Baker Classic.
For three years, TA’s wrestling coaches courted Moyers to no avail until he was cut from the basketball team during tryouts this fall (he previously played center for the Knights). The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder decided he had nothing to lose in taking his athletic ability to the mat and never looked back.
Despite joining the Knights late, Moyers is 8-1. He went 4-1 in his wrestling debut at the Lou Nagy Invitational at Broadway on Dec. 21, including a quick pin against Wilson Memorial that gave TA a victory over the Hornets, 36-33.
Moyers estimated the match took 17 or 18 seconds – his fastest victory, by far.
“It’s definitely fun to test out and use your strength against somebody and use your force,” Moyers said Wednesday. “Most of the time in basketball, you can’t do that or you get called for fouls and stuff. It’s a much more physical sport, and I like that.”
He would. He’s also an All-Region III lineman in football.
His athleticism is obvious and came into play Saturday at Great Bridge’s annual tournament, where a large majority of a 14-team field consisted of Group AAA schools. Moyers said he had to defeat the heavyweight from Great Bridge – a strong program that’s won 18 of the last 24 Group AAA state titles – to reach the championship match. There, he pinned Michael Doherty of Currituck (N.C.) in 1 minute and 40 seconds.
TA, one of the few Group AA schools at the double-elimination tournament, finished fifth in the team standings with 105.5 points, behind champion Great Bridge (265), runner-up Ocean Lakes (161), Poquoson (145) and Grassfield (114).
“Going in, it was just kinda like a measuring stick to see where I’m at right now. See what all I could use so far that I’ve learned,” said Moyers, who is still drawing football recruiting interest from Division I-AA James Madison.
“It just ended up I kept winning, made it to the championship and found a way to win there, too.”
So far, his lone loss came against East Rockingham sophomore David Kisling, who is also a two-way lineman coming off a successful football campaign. Moyers said he wasn’t deterred by that loss, given Kisling’s superior experience on the mat.
With very little experience, Moyers could make a big splash in the postseason, starting Feb. 2 in the Valley District tournament at TA. Just how big?
“That’s the exciting part. We don’t know,” Smiley said. “There is no ceiling right now.”
That’s because Moyers has continued to soak in knowledge from assistant coaches such as Adam Wright – a former Old Dominion University wrestler and TA state champion who trained Michael LaPrade, the last TA heavyweight to place in the state tournament two seasons ago at a lighter 240 pounds. The Knights, who graduated plenty of talent, entered this season with a void at the heavyweight spot. For a team with Valley District championship aspirations, any hole in the lineup is a concern, Smiley said, especially for TA as it aimed for a 15th consecutive district title with a young squad this season.
Moyers gave the Knights an instant lift.
“If we’re going to win districts, we’re definitely going to need his help,” Smiley said.
Regretful he didn’t try wrestling sooner, Moyers described the situation as “weird” because he figured he’d be playing basketball this season and ended up in a new sport with no initial expectations. Now, he wants to get to the regional and state tournaments – typical goals for any TA senior, but certainly lofty aspirations for a first-year wrestler.
To reach them, he has to do it quick.
“He can go pretty deep. How deep? We don’t know. To be a district champion is not going to be an easy task,” Smiley said of Moyers. “… But he knows he only has one shot at it. It’s not like he’s a freshman or a sophomore. He has one shot.”