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Jordan Wood signs on with Lehigh University

BOYERTOWN >> Jordan Wood’s persona possesses a number of commendable traits.

Being true to his word is right up there on the list.

Early in the 2014-15 school year, Wood made a verbal commitment to Lehigh University, to continue his academic and athletic careers there upon graduation from Boyertown High School this spring. Wood put his word into writing Thursday, signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to  attend the Bethlehem area college on a Division I wrestling scholarship.

Wood firmed up his commitment in a ceremony witnessed by his parents, John and Jen Wood, Boyertown wrestling coach Pete Ventresca, and interim athletic director Nick Palladino. He will be pursuing studies aimed toward a degree in bioengineering, and collegiate stardom with a Blue Hawk mat program whose 2014-15 season was marked by a 14-6 dual-match record, 13th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships, and three team members accorded All-America honors.

“I had attended a camp at Lehigh three summers ago,” Wood explained. “I felt like part of the team already, working at their regional training center.”

Wood, Pennsylvania’s reigning Class AAA champion in the 220-pound weight class, had been approached by such NCAA mat power as Oklahoma State, Stanford, Wisconsin and North Carolina States along the way. But he saw no reason to venture from his verbal commitment with Lehigh, citing the university’s “fantastic” blend of academics and athletics.

“There were a good amount of schools interested,” he said. “When I could first be approached, I got something like 15 to 20 calls the first couple days. It was overwhelming …awesome, but overwhelming.”

Making the initial commitment to Lehigh, he noted, reduced the number of suitors pursuing the nationally-ranked Wood — a three-time PIAA finalist, finishing his freshman and sophomore seasons with silver medals before striking gold last winter.

“After the news got out I had verbally committed to Lehigh, that sealed the deal,” Wood recalled.

With his college commitment in writing, Wood can now focus on achieving even more individual and team success with a Boyertown mat program poised for even more greatness.

Last year, the Bears again went unbeaten in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s dual-match season. They were topped for the circuit’s tournament championship by Spring-Ford, but went on to win the District 1-West and Southeast AAA Regional titles before finishing as the state’s fourth-best AAA team.

Wood was part of an unprecedented run by Boyertown at states. His gold-medal finish was complemented by teammates Jakob Campbell (106), Lucas Miller (126), Gregg Harvey (182) and Tommy Killoran (285) all securing Hershey medals. That quintet will be back on the mats this winter as part of a solid Bear lineup whose other 2014-15 credits were repeat titles in the District 1-AAA Duals and season-opening Brian Bealer Memorial Bear Duas Tournaments.

“This could be an awesome season,” Ventresca said.

And Wood, whose memorable junior campaign was abbreviated by his recovery from an upper-body injury the summer before, will be out to produce his own degree of “awesome.”

Wood wasn’t able to get on the mats until the 1-AAA Duals tourney near the end of January. But he made the available time count, going 20-0 with 13 pins and running untouched through the league, district, regional and state tournaments.

Wood brings a 107-4 career scholastic record, with 68 falls, two technical falls and nine major decisions, into his senior season. His career credits include Outstanding Wrestler honors at the district tourney his sophomore year.

“Nobody works harder than Jordan,” Ventresca said, referencing Jordan’s standing as the Class of 2016 president and Advanced Placement (AP) academic workload. “He’s very humble…he comes from a great family. You couldn’t ask for a better kid.”

To no surprise, Ventresca applauded Wood’s college decision.

“A lot of colleges were looking at him before,” he said, “but Jordan knew where he wanted to go. I’m very happy for him.

“I think Jordan will do great there. He has an intrinsic motivation to be successful.”

That quest for success has fueled Wood’s performance on the national stage of late, as well.

This past summer, Wood won his weight class in freestyle competition at the USA Wrestling Junior Men’s National Championships held at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D. He defeated Rylee Streifel from Minnesota by a 10-0 technical fall in the final, to complete a six-match run of five technical falls and a 13-second pin.

Earlier in the tournament, Wood placed second in the Greco-Roman competition. He went 5-1, losing by a 6-3 score in the final to James Ford from Ohio.

Looking toward the next level of his life, Wood exudes considerable optimism about his college future.

“I love that there could be so many job opportunities coming out of being at Lehigh,” he said. “And the (wrestling) team bond…the alumni, the opportunity to make a lot of connections, it being Lehigh’s main sport.”

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