While injuries have taken a large portion of Conor Becker’s senior year in Northmor athletics away from him, they aren’t going to have an effect upon his future plans.
Becker signed his letter of intent to wrestle for Duke University on Wednesday. He’d been committed to the Blue Devils for nearly the entire school year.
“I’ve been committed to Duke since early September about a week after I visited,” he said, adding that they started recruiting him in December 2018 when he competed at the M.I.T. “Just the atmosphere. All the kids on the team have the mindset to work hard and do well in school and the academic side is tremendous as well.”
Becker plans to major in economics while with the Blue Devils. Initially, he’d thought about some other schools, including Kent State, where his brother, Conan, attends and is part of the wrestling team, but found Duke to be the place for him.
“I had a couple schools reaching out,” he said. “I visited Kent State close to summer, but my decision was made quickly. They (Duke) came along and I didn’t waste any time.”
He said that he started to seriously consider wrestling in college when Division I school started showing interest in him. Now he’s looking forward to seeing how far he can progress in the sport.
“Just working hard every day and perfecting the craft of wrestling,” he said about his collegiate goals. “And standing on the podium, even, and graduating with a tremendous degree.”
Becker has had a lot of high points during his high school tenure, being a first-team All-Ohio running back on a football team that won its first-ever football game as a junior, winning state in wrestling that year and also competing in the state duals as a sophomore.
“Winning a state title was definitely one,” he said of his best memories. “Making state duals as a sophomore and how hard we worked to make that. In football, going to the playoffs. And lastly, coming off injuries quickly.”
That last one referred to the adversity he’s had to overcome as a senior. He missed nearly the entire football season due to injury and also has missed a handful of weeks of the current wrestling season.
“I’ve definitely had to learn a little bit of patience,” he said. “I was out for three months and came back all excited and then got hurt for a month. I came back super-excited and then was out for two-and-a-half weeks. It was just really not losing focus or hope at the end.”
As the 2020 wrestling season nears its end, the Golden Knight senior has high hopes that he’ll be prepared to defend his state title, won at 170 pounds in Division III last year.
“I’m starting to feel it,” he said. “I do wish I could have wrestled a little more competition, but we have some great people in our wrestling room, so I feel I can repeat.”
With a high school career that’s been full of both great moments and adversity, Becker had some advice for younger athletes having to deal with injuries and other issues.
“When everything gets tough, you’ve got to stick with it,” he said. “It’s a grind for a reason. Get a regiment and stick with it.”