East Lincoln’s Tarleton is among state’s wrestling elite
DENVER – Jeremy Tarleton has solidified moving his wrestling career to the next level. Now, he’s concentrating on finishing the current status with a bang.
Tarleton, a senior at East Lincoln High, is No. 2 in the state rankings among wrestlers in the Class 2A 170-pound weight class. He’ll be among the favorites in the regional and, hopefully, state tournaments.
Tarleton signed a scholarship to wrestle next season at Alderson-Broaddus College in Phillipi, W. Va. That has allowed his attention to land squarely on the high school postseason.
“My goal is to improve every day I’m in the room,” Tarleton said. “My goal is a state title. Should’ve had one last year. If I’m on my game, I’m definitely better than anyone in my weight class. It just depends on how I’m wrestling.”
Right now, Tarleton is wrestling well. He has a 17-2 record, with 12 victories by pin. He picked up career victory No. 100 in a dual-team match against North Lincoln on Jan. 18. That’s despite missing time because of a torn lateral collateral ligament in his knee and a minor shoulder injury.
Tarleton has moved up two weight classes from last season, when he was a 152-pounder. He began this season in the 160-pound division, but his natural growth and additional muscle from work in the weight room made it easier for him to wrestle at the higher weight.
“Wrestling is always so oriented at being at the lowest possible weight,” he said. “I was wrestling at 160, but it was killing me to make weight. I had to run every day and I wasn’t performing as well as I should have. I’ve wrestled much better at 170 pounds.”
Since the change about a month ago, Tarleton has pinned every opponent.
He is by far the most accomplished wrestler at East Lincoln. The Mustangs have 11 freshmen. It’s been a teaching and learning process for the newcomers. East Lincoln is 4-19 in dual-team competition, but has won two of the past three matches (39-36 against North Lincoln and 66-9 against Hickory).
“What makes Jeremy good is his dedication to the sport, a knowledge of wrestling and a love of wrestling,” East Lincoln coach Derek Ashley said. “And, he’s flexible and limber. He knows how to not get hurt and use it to his advantage. He’s tactical; he’s a technician.
He’s not really a lot of power or finesse.”
Tarleton isn’t prone to lifting opponents and slamming them to the mat, but Ashley smiled and said, “he will take you down.”
Tarleton is the brightest spot in the Mustangs’ rebuilding process, along with Daniel James (18-6 at 126 pounds), Moses Boyter (12-3 at 138) and Michael Orgeron (15-13 at 152).
“I count on him, pretty much,” Ashley said, referring to Tarleton. “When you look at him, it’s a win 99 percent of the time. I use him a lot for demonstration purposes. He knows the technical way. To be honest, he probably knows twice the amount of moves I do.”
Tarleton wrestles year-round with the Arrichion club team based in Charlotte. He works out 4-5 days per week with Arrichion, often right after East Lincoln practice.
The club’s arduous schedule also puts Tarleton in competitive matches throughout the region. Last summer, he wrestled in national tournaments in Las Vegas and Fargo, N.D.
Being at a regional or state tournament and their multiple mats and large crowds can unnerve a first-timer. But, Tarleton’s national experience will help. Plus, it likely will be his third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“I’m used to the environment now,” he said. “I don’t mean to be cocky about it, but I have to go into each match knowing I’m better (than the opponent). If I don’t, I won’t wrestle as good as I should. That’s all I have to think about every match.”