Kiski Area’s Reid named Valley News Dispatch’s 2018 Wrestler of the Year
Less than three months ago, Isaac Reid wondered if he would ever wrestle again.
A pulmonary embolism settled in the Kiski Area senior’s lung, doing what so many of his heavyweight opponents couldn’t: knocking him down.
But doubt swiftly turned to determination, and faith fueled Reid’s rise. He predicted in December he would write a storybook ending to his season, and he followed through — going 23-0 and beating Cathedral Prep’s Kawaun DeBoe in Hershey to become the second individual PIAA champion in Kiski Area history, joining Matt McCutcheon. He also helped the Cavaliers win a WPIAL team title and finish second in the state.
The Lock Haven recruit pointed to the sky to thank God, as became his custom throughout the season and even now as he repeats as the Valley News Dispatch’s Wrestler of the Year.
How is the state title sinking in?
It’s sinking in. It’s nice to hear from admirers that say congratulations about it. It’s good, but I just lost Sunday (at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic), so I know I need to improve, trying to fill that gap, keep improving. The kid (Gable Steveson from Minnesota) was very tough, so I give him credit — he’s a very good wrestler. But I feel like I’ve got to keep my faith in God, keep living a clean life. I’m looking for way bigger and better things. It’s all been a great experience. Honestly, looking back now, the blood clot, it sounds funny to say, but it was the best thing that’s happened to me.
What changed for you after that?
At first I was just like, wow, after all that work, now they’re just telling me it’s over. Then I started putting things in perspective, and wrestling was becoming too much of my priority. I was losing track of who I really wanted to be as a person. Pride got in the way of God and I kind of just looked to myself, like, hey, I want to live my own kind of life. I wasn’t really happy with it. But ever since I got the blood clot, obviously after everything I went through, I’m very fortunate and very happy with where I’m at right now. The blood clot was definitely a roadblock and took some time out, but I couldn’t think of any better outcome that could have come out of that situation. I give all the glory to God. Now that I know the power of faith and God, I just think the sky’s the limit. But from now on, it’s not for me anymore. Now I’m going to try to keep building disciples for Christ, and hopefully I can use the next level as a platform and keep going to higher and higher platforms so I can influence more people to live for good.
What does it mean to you to be a role model?
It’s obviously an awesome honor to have. There’s always hope. There’s never a point where you’ve lost all hope, and I think this is a great, great story. I was in my bedroom crying and crying. It was a terrible experience, but I feel it really shaped me into a better person.
Who would play you in the Isaac Reid movie?
I’d love to play myself. I feel I could get it down.
What was the best moment of your high school career?
The best moment is, I would have to say, winning states. It’s always been a dream of mine. I got second a couple times in my life, so winning states was very fulfilling for a lifelong goal. It’s something I can check off the bucket list now.
How did you feel in that moment?
I was like, wow, look at what God has done for me. I didn’t think that would happen at all in December. I was just in awe of how everything worked out. I felt so confident in the tournament, as well. The whole time I was sitting there like, “God didn’t bring me this far to lose.” Especially in the state final, it was like, I don’t think he brought me this far if I was going to lose. Coming up and finishing it off with the win, it was icing on the cake. In my perspective, everything was just bonus after I came back. If I would have gotten fifth place, I would have still been grateful. If that blood clot had hit my brain, I could be in a wheelchair right now. I’m very, very, very grateful, I’m very excited for what the future holds and I can’t be more appreciative.
What did your coaches do for you?
They’ve done everything for me, whether it be motivating me, definitely their knowledge of the sport. They’re gentlemen, as well. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from them because I don’t know exactly where I would have been without them. They’ve contributed a lot in my success. I wasn’t even a starter on the seventh-grade wrestling team. They took interest in me, treated me as though I was already at this level. They’ve had faith in me.
Who is the toughest kid you’ve wrestled?
Definitely Gable Steveson. He’s a three-time world champion. I don’t know the last time he lost. FloWrestling had me predicted to get pinned. I think he pinned the No. 4 kid (in the country) in 30 seconds. He’s very, very talented. But with time, I can see things changing. There’s many stories where a guy loses and he’s on a vision quest. In my case, it’s just acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, and he will set your ways straight. I’m going to keep doing that in my career, and I’m sure if I just keep that perspective on things and always keep my mind on what he’s done for me already, I feel the sky’s the limit.
Do you have any wrestling superstitions?
I don’t really believe in that. I do pray a lot. But I don’t believe in superstitions because at some point they’re all going to fail you. To be honest with you, I don’t have nervous energy. Even when I went to wrestle Gable, I’m calm, I’m relaxed and I felt no pressure. I felt very good, to be honest with you. I went in there and kept saying in my mind, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It didn’t go my way this time, but I still pointed my finger at the sky and said, “Hey God, this is just the beginning, it’s the first few steps.”
What’s your favorite type of food?
Definitely steak and potatoes. Just a nice, juicy steak, get some protein. I see food as more of nutrition. I do love honey buns and that stuff, too, but nothing makes me happier than seeing a nice, juicy steak packed with protein and some carbohydrates. That’s some awesome food to energize me for my workouts.
How do you get it cooked?
I’d say medium. I don’t like to eat a steak that’s bleeding still.
And how are the potatoes done?
I’d say mashed potatoes.
If someone gave you a wrestling nickname, what would it be?
It came right from my coaches at Lock Haven: Isaac “The Rise” Reid.
Who wins a Kiski Area royal rumble?
I’m going to have to go with Darren Miller. He’s a tough son-of-a-gun, I’ll put it that way. He’s just a scrapper, and I feel he’d be hard to push out because he’s small. He’d duck under my armpit or something. I feel he’d be hard to take out, and I think that would be a funny end, too.
What are you looking forward to the most about Lock Haven?
I’m just looking forward to working out with partners that are on an elite level, and also I’m just excited to get my degree, my education, and really move on in life: get that business degree so I can use that in many different varieties when I leave. It’s going to be a good time training with some awesome guys. Lock Haven’s definitely on the rise, so I’m excited. They just finished 16th in the nation, so I truly believe things are just going to keep getting better.
Valley News Dispatch all-stars
Kiski Area, so., 152 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-9
Blumer won his first WPIAL title, beating top-seeded Luke Kemerer of Hempfield in the semifinals and Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer in the finals. He finished one victory shy of a PIAA medal.
Burrell, sr., 152 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-12
The Coker College recruit helped Burrell win its 12th straight WPIAL Class AA team title. Individually, he won a county and section title and finished second in the WPIAL, fourth in the region and fifth at states.
Kiski Area, jr., 145 pounds
2017-18 record: 40-7
An anchor in the middle of the Cavaliers’ WPIAL title-winning lineup, Connor also earned his first WPIAL individual championship. He reached 100 career victories and finished seventh at the PIAA tourney.
Burrell, fr., 132 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-14
After placing first in Section 3-AA and fourth in the WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Region, Corrado earned a seventh-place PIAA medal by battling back entirely through the consolation bracket.
Fox Chapel, so., 220 pounds
2017-18 record: 28-6
The sophomore had a strong campaign, finishing second at the Allegheny County tournament and winning a Section 3-AAA championship, both on his home mats at Fox Chapel.
Kiski Area, so., 160 pounds
2017-18 record: 38-10
Part of the Cavaliers’ middleweight “Murderer’s Row,” Delp won an individual Section 1-AAA title and placed third in the WPIAL to earn his first appearance at the PIAA tournament.
Burrell, sr., 160 pounds
2017-18 record: 41-13
He pinned his way to a WPIAL Class AA title, the first of his career, before placing fourth in the PIAA Southwest Region and eighth in his first individual trip to Hershey.
Valley, jr., 170 pounds
2017-18 record: 40-8
One of Valley’s most consistent wrestlers, Hutcherson helped the Vikings reach the WPIAL playoffs, then took third in the section and fifth at WPIALs to qualify for the PIAA Southwest Regional.
Kiski Area, sr., 138 pounds
2017-18 record: 44-5
The Bucknell recruit won his first WPIAL title and earned his third PIAA medal by placing third in Hershey. He also closed his career as Kiski Area’s winningest wrestler with 158 wins.
Kiski Area, sr., 120 pounds
2017-18 record: 35-9
The Division I recruit claimed his 100th career victory and defended his county and section championships before finishing the season one win shy of a trip to Hershey for the PIAA tournament.
Burrell, fr., 113 pounds
2017-18 record: 47-10
Highly touted before the season began, Oswalt lived up to it by winning his first WPIAL title, then taking third place at regionals and fourth in the state. He also medaled at King of the Mountain and Powerade.
Valley, jr., 285 pounds
2017-18 record: 37-6
Valley’s heavy hitter finished as the WPIAL runner-up for the second straight season, took third at regionals and overcame a controversial loss in Hershey to earn seventh place at the state tournament.
Kiski Area, sr., 195 pounds
2017-18 record: 35-5
He picked up the clinching victory in Kiski Area’s win over Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL team finals and defended his section and county titles. He finished one win shy of the PIAA tournament.
Riverview, sr., 160 pounds
2017-18 record: 20-10
After a second-place finish at the Section 3-AA tournament, Tamburro beat two higher-seeded wrestlers and finished second at the WPIAL championships — Riverview’s highest finish in the district since 1988.