One thing that always helps a good wrestler is to have a practice partner who can constantly challenge him.
Wyatt Binkley, the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week, has just that kind of partner in Cody Carbaugh. That's one reason why Binkley went 4-0 last week and brought home the 106-pound championship at the Carlisle Holiday Tournament.
While Binkley is a sophomore in his first varsity season, Carbaugh is an accomplished senior who just missed out on qualifying for the PIAA Tournament last year.
"Cody is a huge factor," Binkley said. "One of the big things in wrestling is you won't get better if you don't wrestle somebody who's better than you are. Cody pushes me every day and every practice, and it was like that before the season started, too."
Greencastle coach Fred Yelton said, "It certainly doesn't hurt Wyatt working with Cody, because he's such a good mentor and a good role model. Cody's mind is already geared toward being good enough to wrestle at the next level (college), and that kind of influence in the wrestling room is invaluable."
It also helps that Binkley grew up with wrestling. His father, Rich, had a fine career as a Blue Devil and he's been the G-A middle school coach for years.
Yelton said, "From talking to Rich, I think they brought Wyatt along slowly, but he's gone to more tournaments as he's gotten older."
"I started wrestling in the junior program when I was 4, and I've kind of worked up through the years," Wyatt Binkley said. "I started really getting into it when I got to middle school - that's when I realized I wanted to wrestle all the time.
"So now I'm doing more things, like going to summer camps and wrestling in tournaments. I want to keep working hard at it until I succeed in my dreams."
He got a good start last weekend at Carlisle. Unseeded, he won a pair of decisions before pinning Bayley Oberlander of Bermudian Springs in the second period of the final.
"He rides really nice," Yelton said. "He's long and he's got long arms, so he's tough in the top position."
"The way it worked out, my first match (6-4 win over Jose Morales of Conestoga Valley) was my hardest," Binkley said. "He was strong and athletic. I was ready for the final."
That tournament win is the first of what Binkley hopes is quite a few - he has some lofty goals.
"Greencastle has never had a sophomore make states, so that's the first thing I want to do," Binkley said. "I want to be able to stay at 106 all year and there are some stats I want to lead the team in. If I try my hardest, hopefully everything will pay off in the end."
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wyatt Binkley, Greencastle-Antrim
Parents: Rich and Michelle Binkley
Interests: Binkley wrestles year round and also likes to lift weights and hunt.
Favorite pro team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro athlete most admired: Troy Polamalu
Most influential person in athletic career: His dad, Rich. "He's shown me that if I work hard I can do anything."
Statistics: Binkley was 4-0 last week, and in his first varsity tournament, won the 106-pound title at the Carlisle Holiday Tournament Binkley won by decisions in his first 2 bouts, then scored a pin in the final in 2:50.