Prep Signing: Wilson picks a sport: cross country

  • Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 4:08 p.m.
Ben Wilson, left, stands with Cody McNeely as they prepare to munch on some celebratory cake.
Ben Wilson, left, stands with Cody McNeely as they prepare to munch on some celebratory cake.

By Ronnie Gallagher

MOUNT ULLA — Ben Wilson could have probably played any one of several sports in college.

If there was an award for “Most Versatile Athlete” at West Rowan, the Falcon senior would win it hands-down. Wilson has been an all-conference, all-county performer in tennis and swimming. He has been a talented wrestler. He has run cross country.

“The hardest, I’d say, is cross country,” Wilson said.

And that is the sport that’s taking him to Lees-McRae. He will be joining teammate Cody McNeely in Banner Elk this fall to run for Bobcats’ coach Ley Fletcher.

Which is interesting to West Rowan cross country coach Scott Foster.

“His freshman year, he came out to help him in wrestling,” Foster said. “He was a big wrestler coming out of middle school.”

And why not? He had one of the best wrestling coaches around living in the same house. Dad Matt was a former star in the sport. He was very successful in coaching middle school and helping Buddy Lowery at juggernaut Davie High.

“But he ended up doing really well in cross country,” Foster said.

Foster likes the fact Wilson wanted to be versatile and play different sports.

“So many kids now think they have to concentrate on one sport,” he said. “Ben did several. Ben could have been all-conference and all-county in wrestling if he had stuck with that.”

Wilson didn’t follow Dad in wrestling, but said he will follow him to Lees McRae, just in a different sport.

“I always liked running when I was little,” Wilson said. “I was constantly running all year. It helped me get in shape.”

His best clocking is 17:41, a time Foster is sure will improve once he concentrates solely on running.

Wilson credits his father for allowing him to choose what sports he played and not pushing him toward one.

“He pushed me to be better at everything,” Wilson said.

Of wrestling, swimming, tennis and running, cross country has won out.

“It just clears your head,” Wilson smiled.

It has also cleared a path to a college education.

“Ben’s a great athlete,” Foster said. “And a great kid.”

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