Feature Article on ODU Signee Brandon Choate
Jan. 5, 2011
By BOB LIPSKY (REPUBLICANHERALD.COM)
ORWIGSBURG - Brandon Choate became a serious Division I wrestling prospect March 13.
On the final day of the 2010 PIAA Wrestling Championships, Choate entered the zone at the Giant Center, wrestling with rhythm and relentlessness, decisive and dominant. He was, in a word, unstoppable.
Choate won all three of his bouts that day to earn a Class AAA bronze medal to go along with the seventh he took as a sophomore.
The way he won caught the attention of college coaches in attendance. Choate attacked from all angles, whipping opponents to their backs almost at will. These just weren't any opponents, they were fellow state medalists. He outscored his three foes by a combined 25-10 and registered a fall in 3:53.
"I was just in sync," said Choate, who won four straight consolation bouts at states and went 5-1 overall.
"Absolutely. That got me third in the state and that got me a lot of recognition from college coaches," he added. "Coaches like to see that I didn't give up and quit after that match (I lost), wrestling all the way back for third."
In October at the Super 32 Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Choate posted a 4-2 decision over Ohio State recruit Johnni Di Julius, ranked as the 22nd-best overall prospect in the country.
By then, George Mason, Lehigh, Maryland, Old Dominion and Penn State were among the Division I programs that showed interest.
Old Dominion and its physical therapy program won. Choate signed his National Letter-of-Intent on Nov. 10.
"It's a big relief just getting everything off my shoulders," Choate said. "I know I'm going to school somewhere - a Division I school."
"Now I can just relax and focus on my senior year."
The 17-year-old Choate becomes the second member of his immediate family to become a Division I wrestler. His older brother, Cort, a 2008 state champion, wrestles at Brown.
For Brandon Choate, Old Dominion was the right fit. The Norfolk, Va., school is a five-hour drive from his Orwigsburg home but just 10 minutes from Virginia Beach.
"I just like the coaching staff, and all the guys on the team, we got along really good,'' he said. "I liked that they had a good physical therapy program, and it's located in a really good area." Choate, who wrestled at 119 at the end of last season, projects as a 133/141-pounder in college. Some of his high school achievements to date:
- Has won three straight Schuylkill League Tournament titles;
- Went 48-9 last season to raise his career record to 115-23;
- Has earned three straight third-place finishes at the District 11 Class AAA Tournament;
- Notched a seventh-place finish at the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals.
Friday, Choate and his Blue Mountain teammates officially opened preseason practice. His goal for this season is to make the state finals and win a gold medal.
"It feels great," Choate said. "I'm really excited for this year to start to see how our team does and how everyone else does."
"When I was younger I didn't know how hard it was," he added. "I didn't know it was even possible (to get a Division I scholarship)."
"All the hard work paid off."