After the state wrestling meet in February, Lakeside students called Tim Mitchem one name: "Champ."
Surrounded by friends and family, Tim Mitchem (center), Lakeside High School's 130-pound state champ, signs a full scholarship to Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky., an NAIA powerhouse.
Mitchem won the state championship at the 130-pound weight class at the Class AAAA state traditional meet.
"I think it really started to sink in when I came back to school," said Mitchem. "People started calling me 'Champ,' and I thought that was really cool."
Just like Justin Otis, who won the 160-pound title in 2003, Mitchem parlayed the state title into a wrestling scholarship.
Mitchem recently signed a letter of intent with National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics wrestling powerhouse Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky. The Patriots finished third at the NAIA National Meet in 2005.
"They have a real strong program up there," said Lakeside wrestling coach Randy Hill. "They contend for national titles every season and will give Tim an opportunity to shine."
Mitchem beat Marist's Jake Lagod to win the title but his toughest match came against Woodland's Brian Scott in the semifinals.
"I had a lot of confidence going into the match," Mitchem said.
"My mom made me a motivational book, and my family and friends kept my confidence level up. I just stayed positive."
Mitchem followed the high school season by going to the 16th annual National High School Senior Nationals Wrestling Championships at the Cleveland Convention Center's Public Hall.
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He didn't place after having to wrestle out of his weight class because of sickness.
"I was pretty disappointed but I got over it," said Mitchem.
The recent Lakeside graduate said the 2004 Nationals was the first time he thought he could wrestle collegiately.
"I had a really good showing at the nationals after my junior year," said Mitchem. "That gave me a lot of confidence."
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