Drew Peck finishes (mostly) satisfying career
At some point in time, Drew Peck will look back on his high school wrestling career and find a lot of satisfaction.
Peck, a senior at Chambersburg, recently placed fourth for the second straight year at the PIAA Tournament at 182 pounds. And while that's an exceptional achievement, it's not what Peck wanted. He has dreamed of a PIAA gold medal since he first started in the sport in third grade.
"Right now, it's still a little fresh in my mind," Peck said. "I'm still disappointed I didn't get what I wanted."
What he will have to settle for is being named the Public Opinion Wrestler of the Year for the second straight season, a career record of 137-34, two PIAA medals and a District 3 Class 3A championship.
Which is not bad at all.
"Right, it's obviously not bad, but I'm still a little upset," Peck said. "Last year, I was bothered by my knee and this year there were two kids ranked in the top five in the country in my weight."
It's been a long road for Peck, who followed in his brother Dawson's footsteps on the wrestling tournament trail.
"I remember drilling with Drew when he was 85 pounds in the third grade," Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said. "He's been very consistent - always in the room and always wanting to work. It's been fun to watch him grow up."
Peck grew up while the first wave of Chambersburg wrestlers that dedicated themselves to year-round wrestling - Garret Hammond, Tanner Shoap and Peck's brother - found success at the state level.
"I always went with those guys when we'd go up to Carlisle to wrestle at the club," Peck said. "I saw how hard they worked in the room, and they helped me when they could. They were role models for me. I'd go to states and fill out the brackets ahead of time and always have Hammond, Shoap and Dawson winning."
Peck was fortunate that his parents, Teri and Dave, were very supportive.
"They've been a huge help," Drew said. "I'd go along to watch Dawson, and they always told me it my choice whether to wrestle or not and they'd support me in whatever I needed to do. That was awesome."
Peck has always been on a crusade to find strong training partners. Chambersburg has not been blessed with other top-notch wrestlers at the heavier weights, so Peck hit the road. As a sophomore he worked out with Casey Glunt at James Buchanan a lot, then opted to practice with Evan Ramos of Shippensburg University, a Div. II All-American.
He's also gone to Huntingdon to face the Bearcats' Jacob Oliver, a two-time PIAA Class 2A champ, and out to Pittsburgh to practice at the highly successful Young Guns club.
"That's how you get better," he said.
And now it's time for Peck to accomplish one more thing: He needs to figure out where he'll wrestle in college.
In the fall, he signed with Brown, but the school's admissions department turned him down. So the decision had to be put off until after the season. In the next few weeks, he'll take official trips to American University in D.C., the University of Virginia and Arizona State.
"It's not too stressful, but it is getting late to get my application done," he said.
Peck expects to begin his college career at 184, but might eventually bump up to 195.
"I know strength in college will be huge," he said. "I've wrestled in college rooms before and they are tough. I'll have to get physically tougher."
Mentzer said, "I think Drew's best wrestling is ahead of him. He had a shoulder bothering him one year and his knee the last two years, and I was proud of how he handled that. But if he can be healthy and train for wrestling the way he hasn't always been able to do, and if he can hit the weight room the way he wasn't always able to here, then I'll look forward to what he can do in college."
And maybe that'll be enough to fully satisfy Peck.
Drew Peck, Chambersburg
Parents: Teri and Dave Peck
Surprising fact: Many nights, Peck, or he and his dad, would drive for miles to find some good competition for him to practice with - all around the midstate and even to Pittsburgh if necessary, getting back frequently after midnight.
Favorite team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite athlete: Le'Veon Bell
Statistics: In his senior season, Peck was 34-6, with 19 pins ... In his career, he put together a 137-34 record (.801), with a school record 61 pins ... This year Peck won a Trojan Wars title (with 4 pins), captured a Section III crown and won a District 3 championship ... He was fourth in the PIAA Tournament for the second consecutive year ... In major in-season tournaments, Peck was fourth at the Beast of the East and second at Escape the Rock.