Size disadvantages don’t keep Pittman down
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 18, 2013 12:02 AM | 2904 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Though he’s outweighed by, and often has to look up to, his opponents, Sharrod Pittman hasn’t let the shortcomings keep him down. In fact, the McEachern heavyweight has often prospered over the wrestlers who might be larger than him.
<BR>Staff photo by Emily Barnes
Though he’s outweighed by, and often has to look up to, his opponents, Sharrod Pittman hasn’t let the shortcomings keep him down. In fact, the McEachern heavyweight has often prospered over the wrestlers who might be larger than him.
Staff photo by Emily Barnes
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Wrestling isn’t all about strength and power. Often times, it’s about technique, conditioning, effort, intelligence and mental toughness.

The best wrestlers have all of these traits, and it’s among the reasons how wrestlers can move up in weight classes and still be successful.

For some, though, moving up isn’t an option. For that matter, neither is moving down.

Heavyweights generally fall into these categories, which is why Sharrod Pittman’s only option is to compete at the top weight class.

However, the 5-foot-7, 240-pound McEachern senior doesn’t mind at all.

Taking on opponents such as South Cobb’s Tyler Kendall (6-1, 272), Pebblebrook’s Johnathan Keaton (6-2, 270), Osborne’s Tony Castillo (6-2, 275), Allatoona’s Cassie Allen (5-6, 285) and Wheeler’s K.C. Shaw (5-10, 251), just comes with the territory for Pittman, who is use to being the little big guy among the heavyweight division.

“Almost all of the guys I wrestle are bigger and heavier than me,” Pittman said. “To balance out their advantage, I have to use my strength and incorporate my speed into movements to make up for my lack of height and weight.”

Pittman has wrestled for the Indians’ varsity program the past three years, with some success. As a junior, he placed second at the region traditional championship to qualify for the state sectional. Last season, he finished fifth at the Cobb County Invitational, was runner-up again at the region meet and qualified for the state finals.

This season, Pittman is 15-6 on the season and poised to accomplishment big things.

“His balance and athletic ability really set him apart as a heavyweight, even though he’s only around 235 pounds,” McEachern coach Ben Hamburg said. “He’s smart academically and knows where he is on the mat at all times. He knows when to get in the best positions and he’s really improved since his freshman year.

“He, sometimes, gives up close to 50 pounds on the guys he wrestles and only loses because he’s lighter, but I anticipate him doing well this year and finishing on the podium come February.”

Pittman started wrestling as a way to occupy his time during the winter season and stay in shape for football, in which he started on McEachern’s offensive line. He thought it was fun and stayed with it, and because of its physicality, he came to realize how much it helped him in football.

“Sometimes, I have an advantage in both sports because of my low center of gravity,” Pittman said, “but some moves don’t work on guys because they are just too big. It can get frustrating, but I do what I can.”

“He’s the smallest heavyweight we have on the team,” Hamburg added, “but these other guys are able to help him because they are bigger than he is. Wrestling bigger guys gives him a better sense of what will and won’t work.”

McEachern football coach Kyle Hockman has also saw the benefits of Pittman’s time on the mats.

“Wrestling and football mesh well, especially for offensive linemen,” Hockman said. “Sharrod plays center, and when you’re in there battling, you have to have body control and leverage in such close quarters. Wrestling gives him that.

“At 240 pounds, he is a good size for our level of football. He is one of the toughest and smartest kids I’ve ever coached. He’s the quarterback of our offensive line and takes the pressure off our quarterback with his ability to read coverages and schemes and call out plays. The guys on the team call him the ‘sheriff,’ because he runs the show and keeps people in line.”

Because football is Pittman’s primary sport, he doesn’t spend a lot of offseason time training for wrestling. It’s on the football field where Pittman has garnered interest from colleges such as Mercer, Reinhardt, LaGrange and Sewanee.

“I think, if he were to put in more time in the offseason (at wrestling), than the sky would be the limit for him.” Hamburg said. “But football is his sport, and that’s where his focus will be.”

Right now, though, Pittman’s focus is on the Cobb County Invitational, which begins today at Sprayberry, and the events leading to the end of the season.

“I want to make a bigger impact at Cobb County and get to state and make a mark before I graduate,” Pittman said. “I’ve been working hard and the coaches have been teaching me. It’s a grind, but it’s out there for the taking.”
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