Truman State University freshmen Sam Reeves and Lawrence Woods just concluded their conference championship-winning football season and will now begin their quest for a GLVC championship on the wrestling mat.
For many student-athletes, the end of a season means the end of their athletic year. It means offseason. For Reeves and Woods, however, their passion for athletics fuels a fire that can only be quenched by more sports, regardless of the toll on their bodies.
Reeves was recently named a first team All-GLVC player for Truman football, rewarding him for a season where he had a team-leading 10.5 sacks. He was a walk-on to the football team last season after originally coming to Truman after being recruited by wrestling head coach David Schutter. Reeves came to wrestle, but he says he soon realized football was too precious to give up.
“That’s one of the main reasons that I chose Truman,” Reeves says. “They gave me the opportunity to wrestle and play football.”
Reeves showed his skill in his first wrestling season last year as he led the team with 23 wins but fell one win short of qualifying for nationals.
Like Reeves, Woods says his passion for both sports is strong. Woods has been playing football since he was 6 years old and wrestling since he was in sixth grade. He was recruited and then encouraged by football head coach Gregg Nesbitt to wrestle as a way to channel his enormous energy.
Woods says cutting weight and conditioning is difficult for him, but focusing on one while another is happening can be challenging for him, too.
“The most difficult part about doing dual sports is you have to be able to focus and stay motivated,” -Lawrence Woods
Woods says this was particularly hard for him because he was granted more playing time than he expected this football season, so he couldn’t begin wrestling season from the outset like Reeves was able to do a year ago.
Woods says the dual-sport life is worth it mainly because of the brimming passion he has for both and how doing both has helped him in his life. He says wrestling has improved his tackling, agility and physical conditioning he needs as a cornerback.
Nesbitt says he thinks what Reeves and Woods are doing is remarkable because the rigors of a student-athlete are sometimes overwhelming for one-sport athletes. It’s also particularly difficult for the duo because of the physicality involved in both sports.
While Nesbitt hasn’t seen too many wrestling and football hybrids in his seven years at Truman, he says he’s glad coach Schutter recruited Reeves. Nesbitt’s appreciation of dual-sport athletes can be traced back to his high school coaching days.
“Historically, as a long-time high school coach, I loved football players who wrestled,” Nesbitt says.
Schutter says Truman allows athletes to participate in multiple sports because it agrees with the well-roundedness the University promotes in its liberal arts curriculum. Athletes should be able to try a little of everything if they desire.