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Boys Athlete of the Week: Chestatee's Bart Velasquez

War Eagles senior won three match by pins in Area 8-AAAA duals

POSTED: January 7, 2013 9:09 p.m.

Chestatee’s Bart Velasquez has had to work for everything in his life. That’s only served as a way of sharpening his desire on the wrestling mat, chasing his dream of a spot in the traditional state finals as a senior at 113 pounds.

“Bart’s the kind of person that isn’t scared of hard work,” Chestatee wrestling coach Carey Whitlow said. “He’s the kind of person that wants to work and will be become a very productive member of society.”

Last week, Velasquez’s hard work paid off with three victories by way of a pin as the War Eagles clinched the Area 8-AAAA duals title and spot in the state duals starting on Friday in Macon. For his effort, Velasquez is The Times Boys Athlete of the Week.

His signature win was in the championship match, beating Lumpkin County sophomore and 2012 traditional state placer Greg Hilliard with a far-side cradle.

After starting the championship match at the lowest weight class, Velasquez’s win at the second smallest division set the tone for the War Eagles’ victory, according to Whitlow.

With his current 32-2 record, losing to only one wrestler all season, Velasquez is starting to gain traction among interested college coaches, Whitlow added.

Even though Velasquez is quiet by nature, even he said that it was quite a rush beating another equally talented wrestler such as Hilliard, who also specializes in the same move that the Chestatee wrestler used for victory in the match.

“It was a really hard match, but really exciting,” Velasquez said.

And Velasquez has a right to get excited, given all the work he pours into his sport. Whitlow says during the summer his accomplished wrestler would chop fire wood and sell it to members of the school’s faculty and staff.

That money Velasquez would turn around and use for expenses that many athletes take for granted. It’s also great conditioning work for battling on the wrestling mat. When Velasquez was chopping fire wood in the summer, it was usually at least 90 degrees outside.

Then he had to march it approximately a 1/4-mile uphill to load into the back of a truck. The entire process from beginning to end for each truckload of wood took at least six hours, according to Whitlow, and would rake in $100 once sold.

Velasquez also spent a month last summer in North Carolina working on farms, picking various types of produce. He says even when he couldn’t physically practice, he was mentally perfecting his wrestling moves.

Chestatee’s driven young wrestler doesn’t have to stop doing a little bit more than everyone else during the school year. There have been times that Velasquez didn’t have a ride to an early-morning function and would walk the four miles to school.

At one point this season, Velasquez thought he didn’t want to deal with wrestling anymore and thought about quitting. All the hard work had finally broken him down. However, he credits the coaches and his teammates with preventing him from making a decision he would later regret.

The lightweight wrestler is now very glad he listened. He’s got all his goals for wrestling season still in front of him, and looking to improve on the area title he won at the traditional meet last season.

“Bart is just the kind of guy you want on your team,” Whitlow said.


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