By Kyle LoJacono
It wasn’t a surprise to four-year Gaither wrestling coach Michel Santos that Zack Massey was his first pupil to sign with a college.
“I’ve seen him get faster and stronger, but it’s more than that with him,” Santos said. “He’s very smart and always knows what’s going on. He doesn’t have to be the leader, but knows when he has to show leadership.”
Massey, a heavyweight, signed his letter of intent March 23 with Mercer University in Georgia.
“It was really shock and awe to sign,” said Massey, who started wrestling three years ago. “My mom (Carreen) told me that only 1 percent of all wrestlers in the nation actually get a wrestling scholarship. That made me realize how big this is.”
Massey also does the discus and shot put events in track, but says there is nothing like wrestling.
“Really it’s being able to beat the other guy,” Massey said. “When I hit a good move on someone it makes me feel awesome. Overall it’s been a confidence booster to me.”
He decided on Mercer because it offered him a place to continue the sport he loves.
“It’s not too far away from home and has a good family feel to it,” said Massey, who will study mechanical engineering. “I feel like I can fit in perfect there.”
Massey posted a 27-9 record this season. He placed fourth in the district meet, sending him to regionals for the first time. Unfortunately for him, he suffered a sprained ankle at districts.
“I went 0-2 at regionals,” Massey said. “I was in a soft boot with crutches the whole week before.”
Massey compiled a 60-48 record during his time at Gaither. He said a lot of the credit for his signing goes to Santos, including helping him go from 305 pounds to 250.
“He tells me that whatever you put in, you’re going to get that much out,” Massey said. “So it’s all on you to go far. Coach also says the way you deal with things on the mat has a lot to do with what you’re going to do later in life.”