North Surry’s Austin Rozier won two wrestling matches this week, reaching 100 career wins.
Over the past few years, Greyhound wrestling has seen several school records fall, but none of those successful athletes has done what this 126-pound junior has.
Rozier is the fastest wrestler in North Surry history to reach the 100-win milestone, needing just 121 matches.
In the regular season and conference tournament, Rozier went 40-9 as a freshman and 41-10 last season. He added some additional wins in regional and state tournaments, while earning all-conference status both years.
So far this year, he is 13-0 and is on pace to break Austin Collins’ school record for career wins.
Collins, who graduated this past summer, broke Logan Younger’s record of 148 wins and finished with 160.
Coach Eric Jessup said Rozier is the fastest to reach 100 wins in his time as coach, and he is almost certain that no one before that time reached the mark any faster.
Twenty years ago, wrestlers didn’t get as many matches in a season, so it was very difficult to average 25 wins for four years, he explained.
What was impressive about Rozier’s wins last year was that he wrestled above his weight class most of the season, said Jessup.
He weighed 126, but usually wrestled 132 and even won a couple of matches at 138. That was because Rozier had two seniors locked into place with Tristen Brannock at 126 and Austin McMillian at 120, he explained.
“Austin works really hard, he’s always studying the sport,” said Jessup. “He’s a true student of the sport, studying all angles. … We call it ‘being eat up with wrestling.’”
As for his performance, the coach said, “He’s got a lot of strength. He’s really good on his feet. His biggest improvement is his bottom wrestling. He’s clearing his arms and moving really well on bottom. … He’s become a great scrambler.”
Dad Jason Rozier was an all-city football player in Detroit and never wrestled himself. He said a friend of Austin’s talked to the boy back in the seventh grade and got him to try out for the team.
Once he decided to wrestle, Austin dedicated himself to getting better, starting with a lot of mat time with AAU coach J.D. Allen.
“He wants to improve every time that he wrestles” said Jason. It’s not enough just to compete, he wants to impress and one day make a collegiate team.
Wrestling really takes year-round dedication, the father described. While his friends are downing pizza and burgers, Austin tries to eat healthier so he doesn’t pack on any unnecessary pounds. He works out hard in the offseason and watches videos online to see what other wrestlers do.
“He has tremendous heart,” said Jessup. “You can’t wrestle without heart.”
As a freshman, Austin was one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament, said Jason, who believed that would have been the first time a North Surry freshman earned that distinction.
He felt like he let down his coaches and teammates by coming up short against a really good wrestler in Surry Central’s Nathon Bautista, said Jason, who had to console his son.
As for how he reached 100 wins, Rozier opened the night with a pin of Brady Buchanon, Ashe County. The Greyhounds won that match 48-28. Then the Hounds beat Elkin 63-15.
It was a little anticlimatic, Jessup said. Rozier was easily ahead of Said Javier on points and pushing for a pin. At one point Rozier’s arm went across Javier’s face, and Rozier was scratched.
When the referee checked, Javier was wrestling with his mouthpiece in, so the match ended right then on a disqualification.
Today, the Hounds travel to Yadkin County for the Big A Tournament at Forbush Middle School, hosted by Starmount.