E.A. Sports Today

Gaddy giddy at 162

Alexandria senior wrestler finally at home in a weight class he can pick on people his own size

Alexandria senior Phillip Gaddy (orange) is just about to put the wraps on his pin of Wellborn's Dalton Epps  in Wednesday's match. (Photo by Angela Trapp)

Alexandria senior Phillip Gaddy (orange) is just about to put the wraps on his pin of Wellborn’s Dalton Epps in Wednesday’s match. (Photo by Angela Trapp)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Phillip Gaddy is appreciative of any chance he gets to step on the wrestling mat — this year maybe more than ever — but he was particular excited about it Wednesday.

That’s because, after more than a year of trying to get there, he finally was going to wrestle at 162 — where he can start picking on some guys his own size.

It’s been a long road back for the Alexandria senior. He missed all of last wrestling season after tearing up his right knee doing takedown drills one week before the season-opening match. The inactivity sent his weight north of 200 and he had spent all the time since trying to cut down.

As a result, he had been stuck wrestling up two weight classes this season — 185 — with mixed results (he was third at Lincoln and second in the Valley Cubs’ tournament). He hadn’t made the lower weight in “two or three” attempts and he wasn’t going to break in at 172 where undefeated freshman Christian Knop is a fixture, so two weights up was where he stayed.

But Wednesday, in a dual match matinee against Wellborn, he finally broke into the spot he wanted. And he pinned his opponent, Dalton Epps, in the second period to help the Valley Cubs win 46-30.

“I was real excited I made weight,” he said. “That was a big point for me because I worked really hard to get down to 162; that was my goal.

“Last year when I got injured I was trying to get down, too. I weighed 187 when I got hurt and put on 23 pounds and it took me like forever to lose the weight.”

Wrestling aside, his biggest motivation to lose weight was to meet the criteria for enlisting in the Navy. Now, he goes to basic training in Illinois July 5.

“I had to get down to 170 for the Navy and I was like if I’m going to lose this much weight for the Navy I might as well lose a couple more pounds to get to 160 for wrestling,” he said.

And that’s where he’ll remain for next week’s Calhoun County Championships and beyond.

Until Wednesday, Gaddy had always wrestled bigger guys. Even before he got hurt last year, he said, he was wrestling heavyweight, giving up 50 pounds and more to his opponent.

He admitted feeling a little rusty in his match at his new weight, but he quickly gained the advantage on his opponent and had him on his back before too long.

“I’m just trying to get used to wrestling guys at my own weight,” Gaddy said as he loaded up his gear. “Since I lost all the weight I’m kind of weak and trying to build back my strength. I want to lose a couple more pounds and start working out like I used to until I get at full strength.”

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