HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING: Blairsville's Doak gives verbal committment to American
BLAIRSVILLE — Already one of the most prolific wrestlers in Blairsville High School history, Drew Doak still has dreams of reaching the heights of his uncle, Matt Doak, on the college mats.
And following his decision to verbally commit to American University, the soon-to-be Blairsville senior inched a step closer to realizing that dream.
Doak, a three-time All-Gazette wrestler at 152 pounds, accepted American University’s terms to a partial athletic scholarship Friday.
If he follows through with his plans, Doak will become the first Blairsville High School wrestler since his uncle, who wrestled at Duquesne University in the early 2000s, to compete at the Division I level.
“We started building a relationship with the coaches probably a year ago and then it just kept building,” Drew Doak said. “I had dinner with one of the assistant coaches and we talked over my scholarship offer, and the day after I gave them my verbal commitment. It definitely felt like the best decision I could make, athletically and academically.”
Doak continued to set the standard at Blairsville in the 2013-14 season by becoming the fastest wrestler in school history to reach the 100-career win mark on Jan. 22.
Roughly a month later, Doak became the school’s first three-time District 6 champ minutes before teammate Scott Thompson accomplished the same feat. He also became the first Bobcat to grab state medals in each of his first three years of high school.
Doak said wrestling for coach Teague Moore at American University played a major role in his decision. Moore won a PIAA title at North Allegheny High School in 1995 and an NCAA title at Oklahoma State in 1998.
“I think it’s a great fit, not just because he’s from around here, but because he’s a great coach and a great guy,” Doak said of Moore, a former head coach at Clarion University and a 2008 inductee into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame. “He’s one of those guys that can teach me just about anything and mentor me through my college years. I think he’s really going to help me out.”
A week after getting edged by an eventual state champ, Burrell’s Steve Edwards, 3-2, in a controversial championship bout at last year’s PIAA Southwest Regional Tournament, Doak garnered his third straight seventh-place medal at states. The only other Blairsville wrestler to win three state medals was Matt Moore, the school’s first and only state champ.
Doak admitted that he’s flattered to be mentioned with Blairsville greats such as Matt Doak and Matt Moore, but he said he’ll settle for nothing less than a gold medal this year at Hershey.
“I’m not going in there thinking I just want to be a four-time placewinner,” Doak said. “I’m not going to be happy with second, third or fourth. I know where I want to be, and that’s the top of the podium. It might be cool after the season to say I’m a four-time placewinner, but right now, everything in my head’s geared toward gold.”