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Phil Wellington poses for a portrait on South Green on Thursday. 

Wrestling: Skateboarding more then a hobby for nationally ranked wrestler

Phil Wellington doesn't just wrestle. He skateboards too. 

After practice, most wrestlers will hop in their car to drive home or walk back to their dorm. Redshirt senior Phil Wellington simply rides his skateboard.

The origin of Wellington’s love for skateboarding was found in a birthday present.

When Wellington was 10 years old, he bought the video game "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" for his friend’s birthday present. For the rest of the birthday party, however, Wellington and all his friends found themselves glued to the screen, pushing buttons to do 'kick flips' and 'ollies.' 

Wellington fell in love with skateboarding right then, asking for his own skateboard on the car ride home. 

“I longboard to class because I still like being on wheels,” Wellington said. “I don't skateboard as much. It's a little bit more dangerous. I try to limit it to out of season only. I’ll still skate with my buddies in Athens during preseason and after the season.” 

Wellington has an open-mind to new things, excelling in the classroom where he majors in mechanical engineering and is nationally ranked in his wrestling weight class of 197. 

Though he has made a career out of wrestling at Ohio, skateboarding was a recreational activity for Wellington growing up. It was something he said he did to hang out with friends.

However, Wellington's passion for skateboarding was so high at one point in his life, he said he even debated skateboarding instead wrestling.

“For a while, when I was getting really good at it, I was trying to get sponsored,” Wellington said. “Some of the local shops were trying to sponsor me and wanted me to skate year round for them. I turned it down because wrestling conflicted.”

Wellington cited Paul Rodriguez, a skateboarder formerly know for his time with the skate company Plan-B, as his idol when he was younger, even crediting Tony Hawk for getting him hooked on skateboarding, too.

Wellington said he tried to base some of his moves and style off of Rodriguez’s. That consists of lots of kick flips, going over stairs and a street style where most tricks can be performed out of a skate park. Wellington said his favorite move is kick flipping over stairs, he even calls it his, “signature move.”

Wellington said one bump in his skateboarding career was when he came to Ohio, and coach Joel Greenlee didn't want him to skate as much because Wellington would be prone to injuries while doing tricks on concrete.

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Wellington would eventually choose wrestling, becoming one of the best wrestler for the Bobcats and making the NCAA tournament in the two previous seasons. 

When he isn't skating during the wrestling season, however, he has an opportunity to fill that need and think about what could have been had he never bought his friend "Tony Hawk Pro Skater."

“Next semester I’m taking a class called mechatronics, and we can have any project we want,” Wellington said. “So, I was thinking I could strap a motor on my longboard. It would be pretty sweet.”


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