Wrestling can be the loneliest sport. Devin Nye found that out when he unsuccessfully tried to talk some buddies into joining him for grueling practices.
“They weren’t going to do it. It was too hard,” the Springfield High School senior recalled. “I gave up on that.”
The one-on-one sport dates to the ancient Greeks. Only the best excel.
That’s why Nye will take his record-breaking career to the next level at Kent State University. He was one of four Springfield seniors who gathered for a signing ceremony at the high school library on Wednesday.
Also signing were swimmer Trevor Keriazes (Ohio Northern) and baseball players Hunter Day and Jeff Mefford (both Ohio Christian University).
“I wasn’t going to do any popular sports, because wrestling was my sport,” Nye said. “My thing was I was going to try and make (wrestling) popular before I left.”
Nye is believed to be the only three-time state wrestling qualifier from North, South or Springfield high schools.
At 6-feet-5, he wrestled at 220 pounds all four years for the Wildcats. His fourth place in the state individual meet as a senior is believed to be a program best and capped an astonishing 44-4 season.
A quick-pin specialist, he tied 18 others in Ohio since 1970 to register a five-second pin, the third-fastest ever in the state.
Of his 179 career wins, Nye pinned 143 opponents, which ties him for second all-time according to Ohio High School Athletic Association records. He also won four sectional titles, two Greater Western Ohio Conference championships and was a three-time state qualifier.
His go-to signature move? He doesn’t have one.
“Most of my wrestling is some offense with a little bit of luck and mostly defense,” he said.
According to Springfield athletic director Mike Dellapina, Nye is the third Springfield wrestler to earn a NCAA Division I scholarship, joining North’s Jim Picolo (Ohio State) in the mid-1980s and heavyweight Ralph Stanley of North (Brown) in 1986.
Nye also owns a 4.3 grade-point average – “My girlfriend has a 5.1. It’s weighted with college prep courses” - and plans to pursue a career in medicine.
A pitcher, Day returned to baseball after throwing the shot put and discus for the Wildcats’ track and field team last spring.
“I missed baseball completely,” he said. “As I’d see the baseball players walk up to the field, I’d think, gosh, I miss that. I’d been playing since I was 7. I thought, I’ve got to come back to it.”
Mefford also pitches and leads Springfield in doubles (three) and triples (two).
Ohio Christian is in Circleville and is a National Christian College Athletic Association member.
Keriazes was eighth in the 100 breaststroke in the D-I state meet last swim season. He also qualified for state in the 200 IM.
“We’re extremely proud of these guys and the bar that they have set,” Dellapina said. “We hope that the underclassmen and their teammates will especially learn from their example.”