Last Updated: Wed Mar 02, 2022 - 10:52AM
Isaac Reid has always been a talented wrestler, but his sterling record on the mat at both Kiski Area High School and Lock Haven University have been secondary to his story of perseverance. Reid, who has overcome several physical obstacles to become a top performer for the Bald Eagles, is featured in the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.
As a freshman at Kiski Area in 2014-15, Reid competed at 285 pounds, and finished second in the Class AAA Section 1 competition. From there, he failed to place in the WPIAL tournament, concluding the season with a mark of 26-8.
The next year, Reid improved to 37-10, defeating Norwin’s Hayden Rice to capture the section title. In the WPIAL tournament, Reid finished in second, falling to Rice in a rematch. In the process, however, Reid qualified for the PIAA Class AAA bracket, where he finished sixth.
In 2016-17, Reid repeated as the champion in Class AAA Section 1, making quick work of Penn Hills’ Deshawn Butler in the final. In the WPIAL title bout, Reid came up short against Brendan Furman of Canon-McMillan to once again finish as runner up in the district. Reid rebounded with an impressive performance in the state bracket, however, as he placed second to Furman, finishing the campaign at 43-6. Meanwhile, Reid helped Kiski Area to capture the WPIAL Class AAA team title, as the Cavaliers bested Canon-McMillan 41-21 in the final.
Reid’s senior season with the Cavaliers was unforgettable, for multiple reasons. Early during the campaign, Reid suffered a pulmonary embolism, a medical condition in which a blood clot affects the lungs. Although sidelined for several weeks, Reid returned to the mat that season. He captured his third section crown, and followed up by claiming the WPIAL individual championship at 285 pounds, defeating West Mifflin’s Gerald Brown. From there, Reid returned to the PIAA championship bout, but this time took gold, as he edged Kawaun DeBoe of Cathedral Prep. As a result, Reid finished his senior season at 23-0.
After concluding his career with the Cavaliers with a record of 129-24, he elected to continue his career at Lock Haven University, which competes in the NCAA Division I.
As a freshman in 2018-19, Reid took a redshirt season and wrestled unattached at 285 pounds. In doing so, he went 16-13. Lock Haven went 10-3 that season, including 6-0 in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL). The Bald Eagles also claimed the EWL Championship, and finished 18th in the NCAA Division I Championships in Pittsburgh.
Reid’s medical issues resurfaced, however, keeping him sidelined for the 2019-20 season. During his absence, the Bald Eagles went 7-7, including 3-3 in their new conference – the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Lock Haven took fifth in the MAC Championships, but the NCAA Championships were cancelled as a result of COVID.
The 2020-21 season was also cancelled for Lock Haven.
This season, however, Reid and the Bald Eagles returned to the mat, and the results have been outstanding. To this point, Reid has gone 22-3 and was 26th nationally in the latest coaches’ ranking. Collectively, the Bald Eagles have gone 10-5, including 6-1 in the MAC. The conference championship commences this weekend.
Isaac set aside time to answer questions about overcoming his health challenges, his decision to attend Lock Haven, and which teammate he’d choose to be stranded with on a deserted island.
Q: You've posted a nearly perfect record thus far this season. What have been the biggest keys to success?
A: My record reflects the toil I’ve put into this craft. Also, wisdom beats power, and I can say I’ve had good mentors to teach me tricks of the trade to outwit opponents. However, I am also 6’5” and 275 pounds, which gives me a leverage and power advantage. In addition, I’m never satisfied, because if you sleep on a win, you might wake up with a loss, so I keep a humble approach to the sport and always try to maintain a beginner’s mindset.
Q: What is your go-to move?
A: My go-to move is a foot sweep. Also, I like to use my long reach to my advantage in snagging legs. I enjoy hitting my knees, as well, and often hear I’m very quick for a heavyweight.
Q: You have overcome significant health issues throughout your career. How have you persevered through those challenges?
A: I’ve developed immense coping mechanisms, and have a high pain tolerance. They say adversity builds character, but I’d rather say it reveals character. I’m grateful that it’s given me a platform to inspire others in the midst of the worldwide turmoil from the pandemic. I’m grateful I suffered and even treat it with a little bit of humor now, because things I used to stress about are insignificant to me now. If losing a match or failing in your career is the worst thing that ever happens to you, then you’ve lived a pretty good life. I realized life isn’t about living the dream, but rather, it’s about one day looking back and being proud. If hell is what it takes to lead others to heaven, then I’ve devoted myself to a worthy cause. Glory to the Lord Jesus Christ for strengthening me through it all, and for giving me the tools I need to come back stronger after each setback. Fate gave me the opportunity to prove my courage, and it was up to me to make the sacrifices required to ascend into my destiny.
Q: What are the pros and cons of wrestling at heavyweight?
A: Heavyweight is unique because roughly 40 percent of the male population is over 200 pounds. That means it has the most potential for competition. However, I see this as a pro, because iron sharpens iron and I’m never one to shrink back from a good war. In addition, I’m grateful I don’t have to worry about my weight. I also love the opportunity to seal team victory’s by being the closer.
Q: What team and individual goals did you set for 2021-22?
A: My goals never waver - I’m steadfast aiming to be the best. I’m patiently waiting to break through to the highest heights of success.
Q: Lock Haven recently introduced a women's wrestling team. What has been the relationship between the teams?
A: Ron is doing a tremendous job building the women’s program! I also think it adds depth to the culture here and it’s inspiring to witness the rise.
Q: What led to your decision to attend Lock Haven?
A: I came to Lock Haven due to the rich history of success. In addition, it felt like home. I delight in the relationship I have with the coaches and teammates. I’m also glad I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and insight and believe Lock Haven’s highly-touted sport management program will open up a lot of doors. I am thankful that I had such a vigorous training routine as well, because it prepared me well. I learned a lot on the mat and I foresaw all of these positive circumstances before I arrived on campus in 2018.
Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?
A: My major is sports management, but I’m currently pursuing a minor in business, as well. The horizon is broad for the future, as I see a lot of big business ahead. I am already highly intrigued with the opportunities of managing companies, being involved in real estate, having assets in stocks, and being a clinician in the sport of wrestling. I also foresee huge potential in my story of overcoming a collapsed lung, overcoming blood clots multiple times, winning Disney duals with a whole arm swollen and black and blue, having a torn labrum, rotator cuff, and a torn LCL, but still doing what I’m doing without compromise. It’s a story that is destined for the spotlight. I’m already starting a book on it. I’m also very passionate about martial arts, as I’ve devoted countless hours to ju-jitsu, and boxing with Isaac Greeley and the mat factory. There are limitless possibilities and endeavors to pursue.
Q: You were part of a dominant team at Kiski Area. What were the biggest factors in the Cavaliers' success?
A: The Cavaliers have a rich tradition of excellence. The coaches were very good people. Kiski Area is the pinnacle of high-school wrestling. In addition, the youth and junior-high coaches are special people.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory?
A: My best high-school memory was making friends with a lot of kids who were struggling. I enjoyed taking them under my wing. I love helping those in need.
Q: If you could wrestle against one opponent, past or present, who would you select? What would be the outcome?
A: If I could wrestle against one opponent, it would be similar to the story of Jacob in the Book of Genesis. He wrestled the angel of God and stood no chance, but he earned God’s respect and blessing.
Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
A: Steak and lobster with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Q: To which movies or TV shows can you recite nearly every line?
A: I like the old-fashioned SpongeBob.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island with one teammate, who would you choose? Why?
A: If I was stranded with one teammate, it’d be Parker McClellan. The guy is a hero and always talks about how he can’t wait to serve our country. This world needs more guys like him!