Rawls has eyes on the prize

Published 10:29 pm Friday, January 31, 2020

Evan Rawls was voted Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week after placing first at the War on the Shore in Ocean City, Maryland.

The Nansemond River High School wrestling team has gotten off to a strong start this season. They have traveled in and out of Virginia to various tournaments to display their talent level on different stages against some of the best teams on the East Coast. The Warriors have shown very well through it all, most recently at the War on the Shore.

Rawls had the most impressive showing on the team, as he was the only wrestler to win his division at War on the Shore. He felt coming in that he was going to perform at his best.

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“Days leading up to the tournament, I maintained focus on my goal, and I was feeling confident in my mindset and my wrestling,” Rawls said. “During the tournament, I made sure I was focused and locked in, which I felt helped out greatly with my performance. Overall it was one of my best performances of the year, and I felt like it has given me confidence preparing for the state tournament.”

The Nansemond River junior has felt this season has been his best. His record, placements and performances have shown progress from his sophomore season. As Rawls headed into this season, he had two main goals — placing at the Beast of the East tournament and winning the state tournament. He did the former, placing eighth, while the latter is still to be determined.

Rawls’s motivation comes from all the people who support him and help him reach his goals. He feels he owes it to his parents, coaches and former coaches to do the best he can every time he steps on the mat.

With the Warriors eyeing a team state title, Rawls feels his team is able to accomplish that with the ability that they have. They placed in the top three as a group last year and are expected to be among the favorites this season.

“Overall, as I team, I feel like we are having a great season,” the Nansemond River junior said. “I believe if everyone stays healthy and focused, we are going to take home the gold at states this year. We have been working hard, and winning one would make history for Nansemond River.”

Even if the team doesn’t win a team title, Rawls has a good chance of winning an individual title at 113. He believes if he can do so, that could potentially elevate the opportunities he could have to wrestle after his high school career is over.

“Winning an individual title this season would be a great achievement,” Rawls said. “It would help to put me on the map as far as wrestling opportunities past high school.”

The postseason will get under way with regionals in the middle of February, which could mean good things for Rawls and the Warriors as he finishes up his junior season.