SR youth wrestlers place at state
SLIPPERY ROCK — Zac Turberville needed something to do during the winter. Carter Rudish was enticed through football.
The pair of Slippery Rock youths found wrestling through different means — and both are excelling at the sport.
Carter, competing in the 10-under division at 120 pounds, recently won a state title at the Keystone State Championships, hosted by Indiana (Pa.) University. Zac, competing at 145 pounds in the 14-under division, placed fifth in his weight class at that event.
“He wasn’t into it those first couple of years,” Jesse Rudish said of Carter, who has been wrestling since kindergarten. “We had to let him play football to get him to go one more wrestling season.
“He did a tournament and there was no turning back. He got into it and he’s been into it ever since.”
Carter was 40-3 this season, his only losses coming to 12-year-olds. He won a youth state title in 2021 and placed third last year.
“Wrestling against those older kids really helped him,” Slippery Rock youth wrestling coach Kevin Shamblin said. “Carter is just so athletic. He’s good at every sport he does.”
Carter plays football in the fall and baseball during the spring.
He got started in wrestling because his parents wanted him to get involved in some form of martial arts.
“When we saw Slippery Rock had a youth wrestling program ... Wrestling is the basis for all martial arts,” Rudish said. “It’s one of the toughest sports out there. It teaches children discipline and responsibility.
“There’s nobody out there on the mat but yourself. You can’t blame anybody but yourself for what happens. I love that about wrestling.”
Zac has been involved in wrestling since age 7. He put together a strong freshman season for the Rockets’ high school team, finishing 25-9 and reaching the Northwest Regional.
“My parents thought I needed a way to release my energy during the winter,” Zac said. “I got into wrestling right away. I love the team aspect of it and the individual aspect of it.”
He did not expect to advance as far as he did his freshman season.
“I was thrilled with the season I had,” Zac said. “I mean, I figured I could do well, but I was wrestling against older kids at my weight class. It was a challenge and I’m proud of how I handled it.”
Shamblin referred to Zac Turberville as “our encyclopedia of wrestling.”
“That kid eats, breathes and sleeps wrestling,” the coach said. “He knows more about the sport than any kid I’ve coached and I’ve been coaching for about eight years now. He’s on his way to a great high school career.”
Zac said his goal as a youth wrestler has always been to place at the state tournament. Now that he’s done that, he plans to focus on his high school career.
Youth wrestling age groups go as high as 16-under, but he will not be a part of that moving forward.
“Now my goal is to be a high school state placer,” Zac said. “I’ve always had my sights set at 100 wins in high school. Now that I won 25 my first year, that becomes very attainable.
“I watch documentaries on wrestling all the time. I want to learn as much as I can. Fundamentals are a big part of it.”
Shamblin sees both of these youths making their mark on Slippery Rock wrestling.
“They are worth watching, that’s for sure,” he said.