Gray signs with Averett

Published 9:23 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

Nansemond River High School senior standout wrestler Dia Gray has signed to wrestle for Averett University.

Gray initially thought about taking a year off after high school and re-evaluating what he wanted to do. His final match in the state championship had a significant impact on him. He lost the match, but after a little time off he started wrestling in Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association tournaments. Shortly after that, he knew it wasn’t time for him to stop wrestling.

More interest started to pile up from schools wanting him, and he chose to sign with Averett. Averett is starting its wrestling program this year, which piqued Gray’s interest. He will be able to step in and showcase his talent immediately.

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During his senior year, he was the 5A state runner-up at 285. He had a record of 48-3 and became the first four-time conference champion and 5A regional champion. For his career, he has a record of 166-18. He wrestled in a super states tournament in which he defeated a three-time private state champion.

“I fought until I couldn’t fight anymore,” Gray said. “This was the greatest season I’ve ever had in my entire high school career. I had supporting fans all around the 757 keeping me on a good path.”

Two weeks ago, Gray said he was at home thinking, and he had that moment — that moment when he knew Averett was going to be his new home. He screamed to the top of his lungs, “I’m going to Averett!” He will major in special education there.

Last weekend, he went to visit the campus and got a great vibe. Averett is a private school, so the size of the student body is to Gray’s liking.

Everyone played a part in helping him with his decision. His family and friends kept him encouraged throughout his senior season, even after his state championship match.

“Everyone is proud of me — family, friends and my girlfriend,” he said. “My family always told me to wrestle with my heart and take no prisoners. My teammates also made my last year the best.”

In his first year in college, he wants to make it to a national championship. Averett is a NCAA Division III school in the USA-South Conference. Gray is the first wrestling signee of the school.