School: Point Pleasant High School
Primary Sport: Wrestling
In Class AA's 171-pound division senior Derek Mitchell served Jack Justice of Independence a loss. It made up for three losses earlier this season to the Patriot standout.
"He's beaten me three times out of four that we wrestled," said Mitchell following his 7-4 victory. "I've been real nervous. In practice we worked hard. Our whole team worked real hard to prepare for this. And you what? I just went out there and it was my time; time to go and we went out there and I did it."
While there was a revenge factor, the match was about respect and sportsmanship.
"He's a very good wrestler," said Mitchell. "We've wrestled since we were about four years old. (We are) great friends and just great competition; it was a fun match."
The win Saturday made up for his disappointment on championship night in 2008.
"I needed to learn to be agressive and I just needed practice partners," he said. "We wrestled hard. I really owe a lot to my teammates in practice."
Saturday night's match was the last for Mitchell, who owns a 3.5 grade point average in the classroom. His next athletic venture will be on the football field as a walk-on at Marshall.
"I'm going to go do it," said Mitchell, whose father played football at WVU after being a three-sport star for Point Pleasant. "I'm going to start lifting to get bigger. Hopefully, you guys will see me up there."
Dealing with pressure in the sports arena can be daunting. Derek Mitchell had the pressure Saturday night of trying to avenge three losses and make it a perfect evening for his school.
He handled it well. He handled it like a champ.
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