Athlete of the Week 3&4: Wilcox, Beckwith among all-time best at Greene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Evening Sun has selected the four wrestling state champions from Chenango County as athletes of the week. In this article, we feature Greene seniors Tyler Beckwith and Nick Wilcox.

Greene has had some great individual wrestlers under the tutelage of longtime head coach Tim Jenks. Not at any time, though, has Jenks had two elite wrestlers – state- championship-caliber athletes – together for so many years.

Tyler Beckwith and Nick Wilcox came into the Greene wrestling room at the same time six years ago. Over 475 wins and just 20 losses later, the two combined for eight Section IV titles and five state championships over their long career. Around Chenango County, no other teammates come remotely close to those types of accomplishments.

“Can you imagine having those types of guys in your wrestling room?” Jenks said.

Beckwith, ranked second nationally, will continue his wrestling career at Binghamton University next season, and Wilcox plans to attend Bloomsburg as well. The duo’s credentials rank among the best in Greene – and Chenango County – history, and are easy choices as co-Evening Sun/Smith Ford LLC Athletes of the Week.

You probably could not find two more different acting individuals. Wilcox brings to the mat a stoic expression, and his “game face” has never changed whether he is winning big, in a tight match, or on that rare occasion, losing. He allowed himself to crack a smile walking off the mat for the last time, and shook hands with his head coach after winning his third state title, but that was about the extent of his outward emotion.

“He knows what he has to do, and as long as he gets the ‘W,’ it’s a great match for him,” Jenks said.

Wilcox’s style of wrestling is not unlike that dissimiliar from hia icy demeanor: He is controlled, methodical, picking his spots intelligently, and avoiding any crazy moves that could lead to a dangerous situation. “I never liked the scrambles,” he said Saturday night at the Times Union Arena in Albany. “That’s when you make mistakes.”

Wilcox was confident in his abilities the first time he appeared on the state wrestling tournament stage as an eighth-grader. He upset defending state champion Ian Paddock of Section V en route to his first title, and won titles the past two seasons with rarely a scary moment. “From the first time I was up here, I felt this would be my tournament,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox, while not physically imposing on the outside, is a ferocious competitor who is often times motivated by the challenge at hand, Jenks said. “I didn’t mention much about his first match (at the state tournament), and it was pretty close,” Jenks said. “If he gets geared up or mad and decides to pick it up a notch, he’s almost unbeateable.”

Beckwith finished among the best in the state four straight years, and his last loss came in the state finals as a sophomore. Since then, he has reeled off a school-record 96 straight victories. This season alone, he not only blew away the 171-pound Division II field, but also beat the 171-pound and 189-pound state champions in Division I during the regular season.

“Tyler does things that you can’t show other kids in the wrestling room,” Jenks said. “He’s funky and kind of an unorthodox thrower, and he’s just tremendous.”

Beckwith and Wilcox may go about winning their matches in different ways, but one thing they both have is that “it factor,” Jenks said. “To attain that level, it has to be God-given,” he said. “They just have ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is, and they’ve had it since they were little kids.”

Now those one-time young kids are grown men moving on to the next phase of their wrestling careers. “Those two will definitely go down among the best we’ve ever had here,” Jenks. “It’s been great having them and it’s said to see them go, but it’s definitely time for them to move on.”

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