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Frazier's gains spill over to wrestling

Batavia wrestler Noah Frazier (left) spars teammate Dylan Uzumecki during practice 
at the school Monday afternoon.
Batavia wrestler Noah Frazier (left) spars teammate Dylan Uzumecki during practice at the school Monday afternoon.

BATAVIA – Noah Frazier earned a 4-1 decision victory at 195 pounds to cement the Batavia wrestling team's 31-26 win against Waubonsie Valley Friday night.

Speaking on the eve of the dual, Frazier assessed matters with far less pandemonium than the kind that greeted him before the final bout of the night.

"A little rusty on the mat," he said, "but you get better quick. The only way to fix it is just get mat time, and I'm getting plenty of that."

Just a few days removed from helping the Batavia football team to the Class 6A state title as a defensive end and tight end, Frazier happily has thrown himself into the trenches indoors. He credits the football run for added vigor on the mats, and those who have spent time with him in both sports firmly agree.

"He has the strength and the technique. He has the know-how. He just needs to believe in himself enough to do it," Bulldogs senior 220-pounder Connor McKeehan said. "And I think he has more of that confidence than he's ever had before. So I'm excited for him. It should be a fun year with him."

Frazier hardly had a good time during his sophomore wrestling season.

Although his 18-18 record at 182 marked a sizable jump from a 8-19 mark at the same weight class as a freshman, it still wasn't up to Frazier's standards.

Like the rest of his IHSA brethren, he entered regionals with a clean slate but was unable to advance past the first stage of the state series.

"More the won-loss record and my performance," Frazier said. "Came in with higher expectations than what I ended up doing. And I think that also has helped motivate me to make sure that this year's better."

Frazier worked to balance his two sports since the spring, joining freestyle Greco tournaments when he could fit them in around football camps. He also gained plenty from coach Scott Bayer's wrestling-football crossover skills camp.

He described the wrestling team's trip to a team camp at Northwestern as "a great bonding experience" that also showed Frazier new techniques. Listening to Wildcats junior heavyweight Mike McMullan – an NCAA finalist last season – and Jake Herbert, a former two-time champion at 184, especially struck a chord.

Within the Bulldogs' own mat room, Frazier is fast gaining name recognition himself. Just ask sophomore practice partner Dylan Uzumecki.

"I've learned quite a lot from him," Uzumecki said. "He's really strong."

Opposing quarterbacks learned as much in the fall, as Frazier set a new single-season program with 13 sacks.

Like the school's Bulldog mascot, Bayer and Co. are salivating about seeing crossover success.

"He physically has been ready for varsity wrestling," Bayer said, "but I think he's starting to gain confidence."

Frazier doesn't think, he knows.

Even the meek can tell you that has long been an important step on the path to self-assuredness.

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