(Editor’s note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will recognize an âAthlete of the Weekâ from one of the sports. This week we feature wrestling. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as âAthlete of the Yearâ at their respective schools.)
The Eastern View Cyclones have muscled into the top echelons of wrestling programs in Virginia. This week the team will compete in the Skyline Quads and then the Ocean Lakes individual tournament in the following weeks, then itâs on to the postseason thanks to a dedicated core of exceptional young wrestlers.
Among the Cyclones top wrestlers is senior Austin Jenkins, 18, a young man whose focus and intensity is evident, in his eyes and posture. His handshake even projects strength.
Last Saturday, at the annual Mountaineer Classic held at Madison County High School, Jenkins earned a milestone with his 200th win adding to an already impressive high school career.
Jenkinsâ five victories garnered a top team finish as well, to propel the visiting Cyclones to a second-straight Mountaineer Classic championship.
âI have wrestled varsity all four years—itâs a great sport,â said Jenkins. âIn the classic, I went 5-0 with three pins. I was bumping up in weight for the team. I wrestled at 152 rather than 145 weight class.â
Jenkins stood proudly alongside teammates, Bryan Ramey, Logan Shurina and Kevin Willems who were also undaunted and undefeated at the Classicâs podiums.
His personal goals mirror his success and focus.
âI came in second in states last year so I want to win it all this year, thatâs my goal,â said Jenkins. âNothing less, I want to be a four-time regional champion and a two-time regional champ. I really want to achieve as many goals as possible both as an individual and together as a team.â
As a scholar and successful athlete, Jenkins is looking forward to his upcoming venture into the collegiate ranks. According to teachers and coaches, he is successful academically and athletically.
âIâve been accepted to Ferrum and Iâve visited Virginia Military Institute. Iâve also looked at George Mason, West Virginia and Old Dominion,â added Jenkins. âI currently have a 3.6 GPA.â
Wrestling has its physical and mental components. On the mat. itâs a one-on-one battle where the ability to out-smart, endure and strike fast is essential.
âI focus on the task or match at hand. I try to clear my mind of everything outside of wrestling,â said Jenkins.
Occasionally he searches the internet for upcoming opponents or watches the progress of college wrestlers at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
âI go online sometimes to scout an opponent, just like in football thereâs film to watch and learn from,â said Jenkins. âI enjoy watching the collegiate level too.â
During the breaks from sports and school, Jenkins likes to focus on family.
âI like spending time with my family and traveling together,â he adds with a smile.
Jenkins praised his coach, Eric Brown, and his father Eddie Jenkins, who is the assistant coach on the wrestling team. He commented that having a dad as coach makes him work even harder and he enjoys the time spent working together.
For a successful high school athlete to reach such a high level, thereâs considerable physical work involved, especially if the athlete plays additional sports.
âI usually focus on weights in the summer and bulk up during the football season,â said Jenkins. âI donât mind the transition between sports because I like staying busy.â
Jenkins sees a bright future for the Cyclones as the wrestling season heats up.
âHopefully we can win state, conference and regional tournaments, but we need to take it one step at a timeâthatâs always the best approach,â said Jenkins. âIndividually, we want to be focused, healthy and ready.â
The Cyclones are currently ranked third in the state.