There’s always that one moment or season where the parents of a high school athlete realize their child has the ability to use his or her athletic abilities to get a scholarship to attend college. John Richardson and Holly Johnson, the parents of Alcovy wrestler Austin Richardson, saw that moment come to fruition on Tuesday when Richardson signed his letter of intent to attend Truett McConnell.
“It’s very emotional. My baby is grown and I’m very proud of the young man he has become and will be,” Johnson said, admitting that although she was a little sad she looks forward to the next four years. “He’s always competitive so I knew that he would do very well in wrestling because that’s just his mentality.”
John Richardson added, “I’m extremely proud of him. The hard work he’s put in for this year. He’s really came a long way the last couple of years with his wrestling.”
Austin started wrestling when he was in middle school, and he’s only gotten better since then.
“In the sixth grade a guy named Michael Smith-Foot at Indian Creek had a program and he’s let kids come and wrestle for him,” Austin said on his first experience with wrestling. “In seventh grade I tried out for the middle school team and made it.”
Austin won a championship in middle school and went on to have a stellar career at Alcovy. He went 48-8 this year, he’s a three-time area champion and placed sixth in the state this year.
“When he took his passion to the next level this year it was emotional for me and him,” Johnson said. “He’s done very well and progressed in it. To me he’s one of the best wrestlers.”
Johnson says that watching her son push this year to keep everything in tact – his grades and his weight – and watching him place for state gave her the belief that Austin could go to college on a scholarship. John says he saw his son’s potential during his sophomore year.
“I could see the talent that he had in him and I knew then that this could be something of a future for him,” John Richardson said proudly. “He’s come a long way. I’m looking forward to him to keep improving.”
Austin says that he chose Truett McConnell because – other than their interest in him – he wanted to pursue wrestling in college and because it’s a Christian college.
With Austin leaving, Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman is looking for a leader to fill his role.
“High character kid,” Hoffman said, speaking on Austin’s ability to lead. “I always tell people, good things happen to good people. In four years he’s done the right things – grades, his character. no discipline problems. He’s done what it takes to have that opportunity to compete at the next level.”