Saturday, November 19, 2011

Zeman, Yeagley sign their letters of intent

AVON Zane Zeman and Joel Yeagley aren’t the most vocal kids you’ll know, but they sure know how to get the job done on the field and on the mat.

On Wednesday, Zeman signed his National Letter of Intent to wrestle at the University of Minnesota, while Yeagley signed with Mercyhurst College.

Zeman, who has a career record of 119-16, said he didn’t think this day would come.

“When I was little my major dream was to become a four-time state champion in high school,” Zeman said. “It didn’t happen, but I’m determine to win this year. I never really thought about college, I just thought about high school.

“I love wrestling and I could never see myself doing anything else.”

Zeman said a big influence early on was his father, Kent, who also wrestled at Avon and went on to wrestle at Kent State.

“I remember going to Elyria High School during practices for little kids and that’s kind of where I started learning from him,” Zeman said.

Zeman said he went through a lot to get to where he is, but he’s know he’s a better athlete because of it.

“Freshman year was hell for me because I had to cut 20 pounds,” Zeman said. “The next year was better, because I made it to state, but I didn’t place but it motivated me last year when I finished second at state. I’ve improved every year, so I feel I will do better this year.”

Zeman said his decision came down to Minnesota and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he couldn’t pass up wrestling in a major conference.

“I really wanted to go to both, but in the end it was going to the Big Ten that really pulled me in,” Zeman said. “The Big Ten Network is something I thought about and I felt they will get the most out of me at Minnesota.”

Avon wrestling coach Mark Porter said everyone at Avon High School should be proud of Zeman.

“I’m extremely proud because this is the first time we had someone sign with a Division I program, and for it to be Minnesota, a Big Ten perennial power, is a huge honor for Zane and our wrestling program,” Porter said.

Porter said he felt Zeman would go on to bigger things.

“We knew he was special, but this is a verification of that,” Porter said. “He was rock solid in pressure situations as a freshman. He wrestled some really big matches and he was calmest person on the mat.”

Yeagley said he didn’t make a decision for awhile before Mercyhurst came into the picture.

“Mercyhurst came up later in the recruiting process, and once I went there I really liked and decided to go there,” Yeagley said. “It’s a really nice campus and I felt comfortable there. They have a really good baseball program and I liked the coach (Joe Spano) the first time I met him.”

Yeagley added that he’s ready to go out and help the Eagles improve from last season.

“I really looking forward to this season, because we won our first conference title last year,” Yeagley said. “To sign now I can go out and play more relaxed and have fun.”

Yeagley said his parents and his coach were big influences, and helped him throughout the recruiting process.

“I’ve always had a close relationship with Coach (Frank) DeSmit,” Yeagley said. “I can go to him to talk about anything. All the players have been really close and it’s just a good atmosphere.”

DeSmit said Yeagley is the total package when it comes to being a great baseball player.

“As a coach you see a lot guys who are good kids and behave well, but it’s rare when that kid is the best player on the team,” DeSmit said. “It takes a special type of athlete to stay humble and stay focus and not get wrapped up about what people tell you.”

DeSmit said he feels that Yeagley made the right choice.

“Joel and his family were realistic throughout the recruiting process of what they wanted,” DeSmit said. “The good thing is Joel found a school he was comfortable with and wants to go to and that’s the best thing.”

courtesy of Anthony Rios

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