Whether it was in high school or now at college level, St. Clairsville High product Dominic Prezzia has always had his mind made up about his goals in the wrestling room.
He recently made a decision that could certainly help him reach his future goals.
After spending the majority of two seasons in the West Virginia University starting lineup, Prezzia sought a release from the Mountaineers and offered a commitment to join the wrestling program at Ohio State University.
"I feel great about this decision and I have no regrets," Prezzia said during a phone interview. "It's a big relief."
The decision to leave West Virginia wasn't spur of the moment by any means.
After wrestling season was long over and the spring academic term was winding down, it became clearer and clearer to Prezzia that a change of scenery was needed.
Prezzia actually had in his mind in January that he wouldn't be wearing a Mountaineers' singlet in 2013-14.
"I had mixed emotions about it because I got along with my teammates really well and I loved West Virginia as a school," Prezzia said.
Prezzia actually considered a transfer after his freshman season, but didn't want to rush to judgment.
"I was having some small problems, but I wasn't sure it would be right (to transfer), so I decided to give it another shot," Prezzia said.
Prezzia, who was a starter for WVU in both of his seasons there, had several reasons for his decision.
The main ones, however, dealt with the coaching staff's desire for him to cut a lot of weight and the need of a redshirt to repair an injury to his elbow.
"Things just snowballed," Prezzia said. "I had never cut weight in high school and really had no knowledge of how to do it and Coach (Craig) Turnbull didn't give me a lot of advice on how to do it. We just didn't get along very well. I don't agree with him on a lot of things from a wrestling standpoint. He's a great guy, but, in terms of wrestling, I didn't get along with him well."
As for the injury, it's an issue Prezzia has been dealing with since high school and he's actually visiting the doctor on Tuesday to figure out the next step.
"We think I broke it in high school, or even before that, and just didn't catch it," Prezzia said. "My body formed a fake joint, if you will, that connects my elbow to my tricep. It's something that bothers me, but I can deal with it most of the time. However, there are times when it really bothers me."
Turnbull was more than cordial with Prezzia when he learned that he'd not be returning to Morgantown.
"I didn't even talk with the coach about transferring until there were about two weeks of school left," Prezzia admitted. "(Turnbull) knew I wasn't getting along very well and he wasn't too surprised, but he wasn't totally sure why. I gave him my reasons and that was that. He wished me luck and told me that I needed anything to let him know."
When he initially decided to transfer, Prezzia also had intentions of visiting Pitt and Maryland, but after his visit in Columbus, he cancelled the other trips.
"Ohio State's the kind of place that if you can't win there, I don't think you can win anywhere because of the facilities and training partners," Prezzia said. "They have a regional training center in Columbus, too. So, you're able to work out with guys training for the Olympics."
On top of the Buckeyes' program, which has been recruiting and producing at a high level, Prezzia's two sisters - Cassandra and Christina - both attend OSU. That also played into his decision.
"I really like being around and spending time with my sisters," Prezzia said. "Them going there definitely helped me in my decision. They're excited about my decision."
Prezzia, who admitted he dreamed as a youngster of one day wrestling for the Buckeyes, knows he's going to have to step up to crack an OSU lineup, which is impressive and deep.
"It's an exciting opportunity," Prezzia said. "I am going to have to raise up a little bit, but I can do that. I am anxious to get there and get started. It's going to be fun."
If doctors feel it's in his best interest to have the elbow procedure done sooner than later, Prezzia expects to take a redshirt this winter and then have two years of eligibility left starting in 2014-15.
Academically, Prezzia, who is a nutrition major, believes the majority of his credits earned at WVU will transfer with him, but he's still working that out between the two universities.
"I changed a little bit and I had some distractions (at WVU) that took away from my time and school work and a little bit of my focus," Prezzia said. "I'll be living by myself at OSU, so I'll be able to be focused more, especially on my academics."
Prezzia will become the second Red Devils' alumnus to be a current Buckeyes' athlete. Jesse Machovina just completed her freshman season with the OSU softball team.
STATE CHAMPION ... AGAIN
Spencer Iacovone's career at Cincinnati Moeller will go down as one of the most successful ever. The senior, who will play baseball at Marshall University, won his third state title in a 12-month span last week when the Crusaders went back-to-back in winning the Division I baseball title.
Iacovone, who is the son of Ohio Valley natives Dom and Lisa (Graham) Iacovone, also guided the Moeller football team to a Division I state title last fall. Spencer's mother is a Cadiz High School graduate and his grandparents, Auggie and Ginny Keyser, still reside in New Athens. His father is a Steubenville Central graduate and his dad's parents, Dom and Maggie Iacovone, reside in Mingo.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE senior-to-be Jaylon Brown took part in the Youngstown State one-day camp last week. Brown, who placed last weekend in two events in the Division II state track meet, impressed the Penguins' staff enough to the point where he received a scholarship offer. It's the first offer for Brown, who was a second-team all-Ohioan last fall.
FOUR AREA softball players were chosen for the all-Ohio Underclass Fastpitch Tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at Pickerington Central High School. Those making the trip to Fairfield County include: Bellaire's Dallas Messenger, St. Clairsville's Mackenzie Otto, Union Local's Amanda Swallie and Buckeye Local's Lauren Swiger.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com