By STEVE KRAH
If he wasn’t already on the statewide wrestling radar, De’Alcapon Veazy made more than a blip when he went 35-6 and placed fourth at the 2022 IHSAA State Finals as a 182-pound freshman.
First introduced to the sport early in his elementary days, Veazy has achieved on the national level in the past two years. He was second at the 16U Freestyle Nationals, third twice at the Greco-Roman Nationals, fifth at the UWW Cadet/17U Greco-Roman Nationals, sixth at the 16U Freestyle Nationals and eighth at the 17U Freestyle Nationals.
As a Fort Wayne Snider sophomore, Veazy began the 2022-23 season with 20 straight victories and placed second at Mishawaka’s 32-team Al Smith Classic, losing 3-2 to Crown Point senior Orlando Cruz (who placed second at the 2022 State Finals) in the championship match Dec. 30.
Veazy’s secret sauce?
“I love to learn and I love to work,” says Veazy. “I learn from mistakes and listen to my coaches.”
Sam Ocampo is in his first season as Snider head coach after helping out at New Haven in 2021-22. He is a 1996 graduate of Bellmont, where he was a state qualifier at 126 as a junior and placed fourth at 130 as a senior. The Braves earned a state team title in 1994, a state team runner-up finish in 1995 and were state team semifinalists in 1996.
Bellmont won the Al Smith Classic 10 times 1992 to 2002.
“There was an expectation,” says Ocampo. “Either you perform or you get pushed out.
“I don’t think I ever got the mental part because of that. It was just ‘next person, next person’ and were multiple-people deep (at each weight class).”
Ocampo, who also runs Beast Mode Wrestling Academy in Auburn, says he wants to instill work ethic and discipline for the Snider Panthers, including Veazy.
“He has a great mentality, knowing I’m going to get it done, nothing’s in my way” says Ocampo. “He’s put in a lot of time and experience to get where he’s at.
“He’s very dominant. He’s aggressive and goes after it. When you’re the aggressor everybody has to react to you. If you’re the person that’s non-aggressive then you have to react and adjust to what (your opponent does).”
Veazy appreciates Ocampo’s approach.
“He likes to work on positioning and technique,” says Veazy. “He’s real big on the small details. Our team has improved (a great deal).
“He pushes us hard, keep our minds right.”
Ocampo pushes sportsmanship and leadership.
“I try to lead by example,” says Veazy.
As a fullback for a Snider football team that went 11-2 in the fall, Veazy honed skills that also help him wrestling.
“It helps me be explosive on my feet and with my cardio,” says Veazy. “I’ve been working on trying to move my feet and my hands more.”
Competing multiple times in a day in a tournament setting, wrestlers do different things between matches.
“I just try to stay warm and try to think about staying in good position,” says Veazy. “I think about what I’m going to do in the match to win.”
He also studies film to see what he’s doing well and where he can improve.
After high school, Veazy sees himself going to college to study Business and wrestling or playing football.
De’Alcapon (pronounced D-Al Capone because “my mom likes weird, interesting names”) is the son of Eric Veazy and Skye Grigsby. His brother is Everett Green and little sister La’Raya Veazy. Eric and Everett are Snider assistants along with Brian Tun, Conner Gimson and Drake Rhodes. La’Raya is also a young wrestler.
Sam and Amy Ocampo have 10 children — seven girls and three boys. Sophomore Julianna Ocampo won the 106-pound title at the Al Smith Classic — the first female champion in the 43-year history of the event.
Veazy and the other Panthers are inspired by Julianna.
“She’s going to fight through everything,” says Veazy.
Snider’s remaining regular-season schedule includes a dual at Fort Wayne Carroll Jan. 10, the Wild Bill Invitational at Fort Wayne Concordia Jan. 14, a home dual against Leo Jan. 18 and the Summit Athletic Conference meet at Snider Jan. 21.
The state tournament series for the Panthers features the New Haven Sectional Jan. 28, Carroll Regional Feb. 4, Fort Wayne Semistate Feb. 11 and the IHSAA State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.