Updated Wed, Feb 5, 2014 5:10 pm
Phil Wellington, mechanical engineering major, studied hard to prepare for this test. He took notes and studied the material over and over. He read the information and watched the videos. When it came time for the exam, he was ready.
But this test did not take place in a desk or with a pencil. This assessment takes place every week when Wellington hits the mat.
Wellington, 197 pounds, has been intently studying film this year in order to increase his skills and preparedness when facing opponents – and he has seen the results. Wellington is currently ranked 11th in the nation, according to InterMatWrestle.com. He currently boasts a 25-3 record and has three pins so far this season.
“First off, every time I go out there I try to wrestle the same. Maybe with a few tweaks here and there depending on who I'm wrestling,” Wellington said. “But seeing the film, that just lets me know what they have and what they're going to try during the match so I can be a little bit more prepared.”
Studying film isn’t a completely new concept for Wellington. Last season he would watch his matches against opponents after they faced one another but before their rematch.
Wellington found that this technique worked well for him; in three rematches in which Wellington fell to an opponent in the first match up, he was able to get a victory the second time around. Most impressively was a major decision loss to Michael Salopek from the University of Virginia at the beginning of the season and a pin against the same opponent near the season’s end.
This season, however, Wellington scrutinizes tape before the first match with an opponent, and this has allowed him to flourish.
“Last year I didn't have the best season. I had a good season but my record wasn’t like what it is today,” he said. “And that's because I didn't put enough time into studying what my opponents had.”
Learning the techniques of his opponents isn’t the only thing that Wellington has gained from studying film.
“He’s gotten better at the positions he needed to get better at and the positions he wasn’t really good at,” head coach Joel Greenlee said. “He’s gotten a little bit more technical and learned some things on his feet that have made him pretty dang tough to beat.”
The fact that Wellington relies and learns so much from taking notes on match tapes is not surprising. He was one of four Ohio wrestlers who received All-Academic honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association last season. Wellington was also one of three Bobcats to be named to the Academic All-League team for the Mid-American Conference last season.
These honors, on top of his undeniable success, have thrust Wellington into a leadership role.
“He’s a leader but he leads by example,” Greenlee said. “He’s not a real vocal guy but he does everything you think a student athlete should do”
Wellington will look to continue to lead the team through his hard work and film break down by studying his way through the NCAA Tournament next month.
Last season, Welington pinned Salopek in the first match of the tournament before falling to Maryland’s Christian Boley. Two spots in the current weight class rankings separate Boley and Welington, which makes a second NCAA tournament match up a possibility.
While the next month may be unclear one thing is for certain: If a rematch is scheduled, Phil Wellington will be ready.