Feature Article on ODU Wrestling Signee Robert F. Deutsch Jr.
Jan. 5, 2011
By DON BENEVENTO
VOORHEES -- It's a bit early to start talking about honors for Wrestler of the Year, especially when considering some teams have barely opened their dual-meet seasons.
But, when projecting ahead to the potential candidates for that honor, one of the leaders has to be Eastern High School senior Robert Deutsch.
"I expect him to go out and compete at a high level, day in and day out," said Eastern first-year coach Bobby Stinson. "Other than that, I just hope he keeps doing that he's doing."
Deutsch is fresh off winning an individual 119-pound championship at the prestigious Beast of the East at the University of Delaware over the weekend. Tuesday, he opened his dual-meet season with an impressive pin at 2:18 of his 125-pound match, giving him a career record of 120-12.
Despite Deutsch's efforts, the Vikings lost to Lenape 36-35 in an Olympic Conference American Division match.
This is not the same Eastern team that Deutsch is accustomed to competing for, now that many of the wrestlers he began his career with as a freshman have graduated. Gone are such stars as former two-time state champions Anthony Baldasaro and Hank Stinson, along with Preston Keiffer and Cal Stack, all of whom are now competing on the NCAA Division I level.
That leaves Deutsch as senior leader of a squad that is generally lacking in experience.
"All teams have their really good competitive years, and it was an awesome experience with them on the team," Deutsch said. "You see a lot of great leaders on the team, and that's what I got to experience. And I hope I'm setting that example for the other kids on the team right now."
Youth played a role on Tuesday when the Vikings fell victim to five straight pins by the middle of the Lenape lineup, and it's likely to show up in the standing as well, as the Vikings face the possibility of struggling for wins this season.
Aside from the roster changes, Deutsch has not had the stability of wrestling for one head coach. In fact, Stinson his is third head coach in three years.
But he intends to let no obstacle get in the way of his supreme goal for this season, which is to regain the state championship he first won as a sophomore, but lost last year as a junior. "Definitely, 100 percent, that's what I'm, aiming for," he said. He was favored to repeat as the state 119-pound champion, and he was badly shaken when he failed to reach that goal. But he also was motivated by the setback, as well.
"It was really a major setback," he said. "But I knew that I had to get back in shape, and I had to perform a lot in in the summer. That's when I started training really hard."
Deutsch, who intends to wrestle at 125 for a time before dropping down to 119 for the state tournament, wrestled in a number of freestyle tournaments over the summer.
"It's tough when you go in without a dual meet and the other states gave started two weeks before," he said. "So it's a good start."