Athlete Spotlight: James Wood wrestler Erik Bearer
James Wood High School 17-year-old senior
Position: 285 pounds
Parents: Robert and Diane Bearer
Nickname: “Baby Bear.” Ever since I was a freshman I’ve been called that. I had an older brother who used to be called “Bear,” so I was called “Baby Bear,” and it’s stuck with me ever since.
When did you start playing wrestling: Last year. I just wanted to get better at football. But once I started I was like, ‘Hey, I kind of like this,’ and I’ve kept with it.
What you love about wrestling: I like the technique that’s involved in it. You can’t just go out there and outmuscle a guy. You have to go out there and do it precisely or you can get put on your back.
Biggest strength and weakness in wrestling: [Strength], I’d probably just say my conditioning. I’d say I’m in pretty good shape for a heavyweight, and that helps me outlast [my opponents]. [Weakness], experience. I haven’t been wrestling that long, and I don’t feel comfortable taking shots, even though I probably can.
Sport you always wanted to try: I’ve always wanted to try out for basketball. I play basketball at my house all the time and just mess around, but I’ve never took it serious.
Most memorable moment in wrestling: Probably winning my first tournament just a few weeks ago at King George. It was a pretty big deal. I faced a pretty good wrestler in the finals and beat him 1-0.
Most embarrassing moment in wrestling: My very first match I got rolled straight to my back. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I got pinned. It was not even a minute, and I was like, ‘What the heck did I just do?’
Favorite athlete: [Washington Redskins middle linebacker] London Fletcher. He’s tough. He’s been playing middle linebacker for [14 years]. That’s tough. And just the emotion he plays with. He’s doesn’t give up at all, it doesn’t matter what the score is. He gets the best out of his teammates.
Favorite sports team: Washington Redskins
Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: George Washington. [Washington], he’s such a great leader. I just want to talk to him. I’ve always dreamed of meeting him. Fletcher; and my grandfather. He died before I was ever born. He was a football recruiter, so I’d like to talk football with him.
Favorite Quote: “Whoever said it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose probably lost.” My dad probably printed out a bunch of inspirational quotes for me back in seventh grade, and that was one that was on there. It just really stuck to me, because you shouldn’t be happy with losing at all.
Favorite subject in school: English. I like writing about certain things, and reading certain books. We read “1984,” and I enjoyed that.
Plans after high school: I’m going to go to college and hopefully play football, maybe at Juniata College or Randolph-Macon. I’m going to major in Communications. I can get involved in sports easier that way. Anything out of sports is not for me.
— Compiled by Robert NIedzwiecki