Richard­son signs

Al­covy wrestler Austin Richard­son signed his NLI.

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - SHAKEEM HOLLOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

T here’s al­ways that one mo­ment or sea­son where the par­ents of a high school ath­lete re­al­ize their child has the abil­ity to use his or her ath­letic abil­i­ties to get a schol­ar­ship to at­tend col­lege. John Richard­son and Holly John­son, the par­ents of Al­covy wrestler Austin Richard­son, saw that mo­ment come to fruition on Tues­day when Richard­son signed his let­ter of in­tent to at­tend Truett McConnell.

“It’s very emo­tional. My baby is grown and I’m very proud of the young man he has be­come and will be,” John­son said, ad­mit­ting that although she was a lit­tle sad she looks for­ward to the next four years. “He’s al­ways com­pet­i­tive so I knew that he would do very well in wrestling be­cause that’s just his men­tal­ity.”

John Richard­son added, “I’m ex­tremely proud of him. The hard work he’s put in for this year. He’s re­ally came a long way the last cou­ple of years with his wrestling.”

Austin started wrestling when he was in mid­dle school, and he’s only got­ten bet­ter since then.

“In the sixth grade a guy named Michael Smith-Foot at In­dian Creek had a pro­gram and he’s let kids come and wres­tle for him,” Austin said on his first ex­pe­ri­ence with wrestling. “In sev­enth grade I tried out for the mid­dle school team and made it.”

Austin won a cham­pi­onship in mid­dle school and went on to have a stel­lar ca­reer at Al­covy. He went 48-8 this year, he’s a three-time area cham­pion and placed sixth in the state this year.

“When he took his pas­sion to the next level this year it was emo­tional for me and him,” John­son said. “He’s done very well and pro­gressed in it. To me he’s one of the best wrestlers.”

John­son says that watch­ing her son push this year to keep ev­ery­thing in tact – his grades and his weight – and watch­ing him place for state gave her the be­lief that Austin could go to col­lege on a schol­ar­ship. John says he saw his son’s po­ten­tial dur­ing his sopho­more year.

“I could see the tal­ent that he had in him and I knew then that this could be some­thing of a fu­ture for him,” John Richard­son said proudly. “He’s come a long way. I’m look­ing for­ward to him to keep im­prov­ing.”

Austin says that he chose Truett McConnell be­cause – other than their in­ter­est in him – he wanted to pur­sue wrestling in col­lege and be­cause it’s a Chris­tian col­lege.

With Austin leav­ing, Al­covy head coach Kirk Hoffman is look­ing for a leader to fill his role.

“High char­ac­ter kid,” Hoffman said, speak­ing on Austin’s abil­ity to lead. “I al­ways tell peo­ple, good things hap­pen to good peo­ple. In four years he’s done the right things – grades, his char­ac­ter. no dis­ci­pline prob­lems. He’s done what it takes to have that op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at the next level.”

Shakeem Holloway / The Cov­ing­ton News

Bot­tom row (left to right): Austin Richard­son sat be­tween his par­ents Holly John­son (left) and John Richard­son (right) and signed his let­ter of in­tent to wres­tle and at­tend col­lege at Truett McConnell on Tues­day.

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