Signing with Newberry fulfilled a dream for Boshell, who knew he wanted to compete at the next level since his freshman year.
“I took up wrestling when I was in the seventh or eighth grade. One of my friend’s dads was talking about it,” Boshell said. “I didn’t know anything about wrestling, but I went to a camp that summer and ended up loving it. Since my freshman year I knew I wanted to wrestle in college.”
Newberry’s wrestling program competes at the NCAA Division II level and has a rich history of success and producing grapplers who commonly appear in the national tournament. This season, the Wolves won their sixth region title and sent eight wrestlers to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Newberry also garnered a top five spot in the national rankings.
“I visited the campus about a month and a half ago. It was a beautiful campus and the coach is really nice guy. They’ve got a great wrestling program. I volunteered at the Division II (national tournament). I got to see a lot of their guys wrestle. It was the school I wanted to go to,” Boshell added.
Dora wrestling coach Hezzie Morgan said Newberry is getting a complete wrestler.
“Blake has everything you would want in a wrestler. He’s energetic, extremely intelligent, tenacious and has a level of mental focus that a person rarely encounters in their lifetime,” Morgan said. “For him to be able to sign with a school that has as prestigious and storied wrestling program as Newberry is a testament to the years of hard work, dedication and desire he has consistently shown.”
During his high school career, Boshell amassed a 210-53 record. Over the last three seasons, he was 132-7. He won state titles during both his sophomore and junior years, but Boshell’s senior wrestling season was nearly derailed when he suffered a devastating knee injury during Dora’s homecoming football game against Carbon Hill on Oct. 26, tearing both his meniscus and ACL on the game’s opening kickoff.
Less than three months later, he was on the mat, wrestling for the Bulldogs.
Nothing was going to stand in Boshell’s way of a state three-peat.
“I came back in two and a half months and wrestled,” said Boshell, who missed the bulk of the regular season with the injury. “It was a tough decision. I probably shouldn’t have been out there, but I wasn’t going to let anything keep me from that third state title. I was too focused on my goal. After winning the first two titles, I knew what it took to get there.”
Boshell battled his way to the title, outlasting Lincoln’s Jamario Howard 3-1 in overtime to claim the Class 4A 132-pound championship.
The match was designated the tournament’s best match.
“That one really stands out with my knee injury and all the emotion in the air,” Boshell said.
He won state titles at 132 pounds each of his last two years and a 119-pound championship as a sophomore.
Morgan stated that Boshell’s journey from an inexperienced eighth grader trying desperately to grasp the fundamentals of wrestling to earning his third-consecutive state championship as a senior made his signing with Newberry a fitting and rewarding end to his high school career.
“When Blake first came out to wrestle as an eighth grader, he was awful. It didn’t seem like he could do anything right — let alone win a match. But when he came back from Christmas break that year, something just clicked inside of him — desire — and it has stayed with him ever since,” Morgan said. “Earlier this season when a knee injury threatened to derail his chances of competing for a third state title, it was that same desire that propelled him back to a quick recovery and back into the state tournament. It’s that desire that’s going to make him successful at the collegiate level and beyond.”
Boshell will head to Newberry, located more than five hours away from his home in Dora, for camps later this month and in July.
The 5-foot-6, 134-pound wrestler already knows what he wants to study when he starts school in August.
“I’m thinking biology and teaching so I can coach wrestling in the future,” Boshell said.