SHORT GAP- Where does greatness come from? How does greatness get started? If you ask Frankfort's all-time winningest wrestler Austin Pumphrey the process started from the day he could stand on 2 legs.
According to Austin, “I started wrestling ever since the day I could walk. My brother (William Pumphrey) is one of my biggest inspirations and made me who I am today, the best wrestler I could be.”
Austin continued to elaborate, “He (William) was wrestling since the day I was born, and I was always there at all of his matches from junior leagues through high school.”
Family has been a positive influence on Austin and he credits his parents for helping him reach this milestone, “My parents have always been pushing me to do the best I can. They have helped me out no matter what I asked for, whether it was driving late at night or traveling to tournaments far away on weekends.”
Frankfort Wrestling Head Coach Jason Armentrout talks about what makes Austin great on the mat, “Work ethic, work ethic. Austin puts in that extra effort to be a champion.” Coach Armentrout continued, “Austin is what I like to call, a mat rat. He has a mat in his own house, so basically he lives on the mat. Austin is dedicated to the sport.”
So how does Austin feel about clinching his 179th victory?
“Its nice to have all the work I have been putting in to pay off. Its a goal I have had throughout high school, but its not my biggest goal.” So what is Austin’s biggest goal, “Just like everyone, my goal is to win the State Title. Thats what I have been working towards all year.”
After winning his 179th match on Tuesday, Austin officially tied former Falcon Alec Peer who was a two time state champion in 2007 and 2009. Alec’s father David Peer is currently the assistant wrestling coach for Frankfort and he talked about coaching both Alec and Austin, “I love coaching and I have been coaching wrestling since 1993. I was blessed to have a chance to coach my son. I like coaching kids like Austin. I told him I like coaching kids that set goals and work hard to do it.”
Each year Austin has come a little bit closer to taking home the WV State Championship. As a freshman Austin lost in the quarterfinals, as a sophomore Austin made it to the semifinals, and last year as a junior Austin finished runner-up. Reaching the finals and coming so close to a state championship has pushed Austin even harder to accomplish his dream. Austin Pumphrey is one of the best wrestlers to ever hit the mat in Mineral County. Austin continued his senior season on Thursday against Grafton. If Austin is able to come home with a victory he will stand alone in 1st place with the most wins in Frankfort history. At the end of this month Austin looks to accomplish his ultimate goal of bringing home a state championship back to Short Gap.