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Farmington's Zack Small signs with NCAA DI Virginia Military Institute wrestling team

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com
Farmington's Zack Small signs his National Letter of Intent on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020 to continue his wrestling career at NCAA Division I Virginia Military Institute.

FARMINGTON — Zack Small demonstrated time and again that he can keep grinding and pin foes on the big stage.

That immediately caught the attention of NCAA Division I Virginia Military Institute's wrestling program, and the Farmington wrestler signed with the Keydets on Saturday.

Small inked with VMI on a Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship, but is guaranteed a roster spot for wrestling.

Small said he was drawn to the program's spartan-like lifestyle when it comes to their training.

"Just getting down, getting gritty to win," Small said. "They've got the underdog mentality. No nonsense, nothing special, just get to work."

Small also said VMI, located in Lexington, Virginia, was drawn to his high motor and ability to pin opponents in the big matches.

"I don't stop in matches. I go to the end... I don't just score points, I finish. I pin people," Small said.

Going forward, Small said he's working on maintaining a high motor to win matches that drag on well into the third period.

"I think that'll show a lot, show I'm not just a one-trick pony and that I can really be an elite-level wrestler," Small said.

Small admitted he's relied on pinning opponents within the first two periods, and he said he noticed opponents attempt to extend matches to a third period last season.

"Throughout the season, I hadn't gone and wrestled very many six-minute matches," Small said.

Small is fresh off a 54-0 campaign and a state title in 5A’s 182-pound division this past February, pinning Carlsbad’s Trystan Rogers with 37 seconds remaining in the first period of the state championship match.

Small now looks to conclude his tenure with Farmington with back-to-back blue trophies.

"That would be huge," said Small, who plans to join the Army after his time at VMI. "I would love to inspire as much confidence as I can in the (VMI) coaching staff and the team so they know that they're getting a guy that's ready to compete."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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