Just as football came to a close, Udall found himself at the beginning of wrestling season, participating in a sport that he considers to be more intense than any other.
“Wrestling is a lot harder on me that football, it’s a ton harder actually,” said Udall, who played wide receiver and now wrestles at 170 pounds for the Grizzlies. “Not to throw football under the bus, but wrestling is the most intense sport out there.”
Rather than hope for some time off between the two sports, Udall is eager to get back on the mat, as he feels that he has some unfinished business to take care off.
Last year, at the state meet, Udall fell one point short of placing.
Down a point with time winding down, Udall desperately sought to land one last takedown to secure a victory, which would give him his first placement at state in his three-year career with the Grizzlies.
Unfortunately for Udall, it wasn’t meant to be — try as he might, Udall couldn’t score the last two points needed and would lose not only his match, but his shot at being more than a state qualifier.
The memory of the loss still haunts him.
“It has always been in the back of my mind how I needed that takedown, but I couldn’t get it,” Udall said.
Now back as a senior, Udall hopes to end his wrestling career on a high note and finally achieve a placement at state, as well as a region title.
“It would mean the world to me to place at state,” Udall said. “It makes me push myself that much harder to get that extra point that I need.”
For that to happen, Udall has been working on improving one thing in particular — his takedowns.
So far, it seems to have been working.
As the winner of the Creekview Invitational Tournament and the third-place finisher of the Hardaway Invitational, which saw close to 30 teams participate, Udall been one of the Grizzlies’ top wrestlers thus far.
There have only been two matches in which Udall has not taken his opponent down.
Udall is pleased with his results so far, and attributed part of his success to a newfound aggressive streak.
“I feel like I’m doing really well,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot more aggressive over the years. I’m moving faster and hitting harder.”
Creekview coach Wyatt Wilkie described Udall as one of the most intense wrestlers on the team’s roster.
“He doesn’t sit back and wait, he goes out to score every point that he can,” Wilkie said. “He wants to score the first point, and he wants to score last.”
With over a month of the wrestling season under his belt, Udall has lost only twice – once to last year’s 152-pound state champion Jake Henson, who moved up in weight with Udall this year, and once to the 170-pound runner up, Star’s Mill’s Luke Runyan. Both losses came by only four points.
They are losses that Udall plans on avenging.
“In my losses, I just made minor mistakes that my coach and I have already fixed,” Udall said. “I look forward to seeing those guys again at state.”
Making it back to state is something that Wilkie feels that Udall is well capable of doing.
“Looking at how he has done this season and over the past year, it’s almost expected,” Wilkie said of Udall qualifying for the state meet. “It’s a goal of his, and it is definitely a reachable one.”