By JEREMY HINES
Eastern Hancock senior Cameron Volz isn’t looking for attention. But, when you climb the state wrestling rankings, lose by one point to a returning state champion and have the opportunity to do something no other wrestler in his school has accomplished in 22 years, you can’t hide from the spotlight.
Volz was asked if there was anything about him that would be interesting to readers. He thought for a second, then asked his mom.
“Well, you broke the school record for career wins,” his mom said.
But Volz didn’t want to talk about that.
“No mom, not that. I don’t care about that,” he said. “That’s not what I want people to know.”
After thinking for a moment, Volz came up with his answer.
“I really just want people to know that I have a big heart,” he said. “I want to leave a footprint in people’s lives.”
He’s certainly leaving his mark on Royal wrestling. Volz is currently ranked 14th in the 132-pound class. He’s ranked No. 2 in the New Castle semistate. He owns the school record for wins, but he’s not even sure how many he has (somewhere around 140 he estimates). He is also vying to become the first Eastern Hancock wrestler to place in the state tournament since 2002.
“Cameron is a hard worker,” Eastern Hancock coach Sam Pfaff said. “You have to be in order to become the level of wrestler Cameron is. He’s got a great mind set. He’s like a true student of the game. He’s always watching film, learning, and asking questions.”
That studying helped Volz close a gap with New Castle’s Tylin Thrine – the returning state champion and the No. 2 ranked grappler in the weight class. During the regular season Thrine handled Volz, winning 5-1. But in the Centerville sectional final the match was much closer.
Volz scored a first-period takedown in the match. In the end, Thrine prevailed by a single point, 4-3.
“We went into this one with a little bit of a different attitude,” Pfaff said. “We said, you’re the underdog here – you have nothing to lose. Throw everything you have at him. I told him he can’t be afraid, and to let it all fly. We spent all week working in different positions and trying to iron some things out. In the match we got the early takedown, but Tylin in his freakish athletic fashion, got right back to his feet.”
Volz doesn’t believe in moral victories. According to him, he hates losing. But he knows matches like he has had with Thrine can only help him in the future.
“I’m grateful for those opportunities,” Volz said. “Those opportunities make me better and hopefully I make him better as well.”
Volz brings a vast skillset to the mat.
“Cameron is incredibly athletic and very fast,” Pfaff said. “He has incredible technique. He has to wrestle with confidence though. Going back to the Thrine match, he showed he is a better wrestler when he goes out there without fear and doesn’t worry about the end result. When he does that, he’s really, really solid and can hang with just about anyone.”
Cameron’s freshman brother, Bradyn, won the 113-pound weight class in sectional. Cameron loves working with Bradyn on the mat, as well as with the Eastern Hancock youth program.
“I like coaching,” Volz said. “I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I know a lot about wrestling and I try to show that to the younger guys.”
In his personal life, Volz has dealt with a lot of adversity. The adversity isn’t something he wanted to delve into for this article, but Pfaff said it’s something that shaped Volz into who he is today.
“He’s had some personal stuff in his life that he’s had to overcome,” Pfaff said. “That has really figured into the mindset he brings to wrestling. There are some things he’s had to experience in life that have shaped his view. That’s helped him in a way. He’s experienced adversity in his personal life and he’s able to bring that to the mat. When things get tough, he knows how to push through and gut them out.”
The last Eastern Hancock wrestler to place in state was Keith Oliver in 2002.
“I definitely want to change that this year,” Volz said. “But if I can’t, hopefully my brother can. He’s my project and I love seeing him succeed.”
Volz will wrestle Saturday in the Richmond regional.