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March 5, 2013

Grappling with reality

Salem's Welch could be a collegiate powerhouse ... but only if steps up in the classroom

The real challenge is just starting for Roger Williams University freshman David Welch.

The 184-pounder from Salem, N.H.,has proven that he can more than make the grade on the mat, but now he must show that he can make it, on a consistent basis, in the classroom.

Realizing that his very promising wrestling career is at stake, he knows that hitting the books must be his top priority.

“I just have to focus on academics if I want to achieve my goals in wrestling,” said Welch, who just completed an outstanding 32-4 rookie season. “I have to stay on top of my academics. I know I can do better (in school) than I have been.”

Welch, who wrestled for two years at Tilton after leaving Salem High, couldn’t have done much better on the mat. With two all-star captains at 184 and 197, he alternated between weights and excelled at each.

He was competitive with the best upper weight Division 3 wrestlers from around New England. At the recent Pilgrim League Futures Tournament, he was dominant, cruising to a title with two major decisions, a technical fall and a pin.

“After my first tournament, I had a losing record and I had to figure things out,” said Welch. “But things started getting better and I’m happy I only had four losses. I just hope to keep improving.”

Roger Williams coach Jon Egan is confident that will happen and can’t say enough about the level Welch already has reached.

“He had probably the most dominant freshman year I’ve seen on this level,” said Egan. “Next season, I don’t see anyone stopping him — not on this team, this conference or in the country.”

But Egan does give a little caution.

“If I can keep him focused (on academics) for four years, the sky is the limit,” he said.

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