Senior Zach Watson, 18, has won an individual state title in wrestling on four separate occasions. A member of the National Honor Society, he also presides over the honor council, and his 0.980 win percentage, as recently reported in the Times Free Press, “is without equal in Tennessee.”
Today, Zach competes for Baylor at his fifth Tennessee state championship, held in Franklin at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Arena. Despite his jam-packed schedule, he consented to give an interview to The Baylor Notes heading into the competition. Here’s an excerpt of the dialogue:
TBN: Other than getting another state title, do you have any goals for the championship?
ZW: I aim to wrestle with class and to show respect to all of my opponents. No matter whether I win or lose, I plan to have a good attitude and represent my school and sport to the best of my ability.
TBN: What would you say has been the biggest reason for your success?
ZW: Undoubtedly, I’ve been blessed with many opportunities. These blessings include the numerous great coaches with whom I’ve worked, the school I go to, the support my family gives me, and so much more; these gifts have all allowed me to accomplish a few of my goals. So many people have helped me along the way—it would have been impossible to achieve my goals by working alone.
TBN: Do you have any fears/worries leading into the championship?
ZW: Worries and fears only prevent me from wrestling at my best. Of course I'm nervous—I am before every match—but confidence is important, as long as it doesn’t become cockiness or overconfidence. Rather, I’ve told myself that I will have fun and wrestle to the best of my ability, and whatever happens at the championship will happen for a reason.
TBN: Have you had any unexpected surprises this year?
ZW: I received an unexpected surprise with my first loss, early this season in Johnson City, to a kid I had beaten last year. He definitely knew my style of wrestling, and he used that experience to prevent me from scoring from my usual shots, always staying in a good position and capitalizing on my mistakes. He's a good competitor; hopefully I'll wrestle him again in the future.
TBN: Is there anything else you want to say before the match?
ZW: God has given me so many blessings that I will never be able to adequately thank Him. He presented me with the opportunities throughout my life through which I achieved my goals, and so I give all the credit for my success to Him. I definitely want to give a huge thank you to my coaches, my teammates, my friends, and all of my family members that have been there for me through the years. Baylor wrestling has made me a better person than I could have ever been otherwise, and although next year I’ll miss being a part of the team, I will cherish the memories forever.
Zach has committed to wrestle at the University of Virginia next year.