Hamilton Heights wrestler T.J. Reed had a successful 2004-05 season, placing third in the sectional at 130 pounds and advancing to the Pendleton Heights Regional.
Then came football.
Reed, a senior, joined the Huskies' football team this season, playing wide receiver and handling some kicking duties. He credits his work preparing for football with helping him to a 10-1 start at 140 pounds.
"After I decided to play football, I did a lot of weightlifting," Reed said. "I guess that really prepared me physically for wrestling. I think I've gotten a lot quicker, and that definitely helps, I think.
"I was hoping I could get off to the start I have. I thought I had worked hard enough in the offseason. I didn't have any time to do freestyle wrestling because of football, but I thought football would help."
Wrestling coach Tim Webber said Reed often surprises his opponents.
"You look at a guy like T.J. Reed, and if you're his opponent, you're sort of licking your chops," he said. "He's not stocky, and he doesn't have a mean look on his face. He really has a timid look to him, and he's tall and somewhat lanky.
"But once he gets wrestling, his awareness on the mat really throws everything into perspective. His stance is so confident, and this year he's become more offensive. He's getting more takedowns instead of countering takedowns."
Reed knows his route through the postseason is difficult. The regional includes strong programs such as Cathedral, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and North Central.
"In my opinion we're in the toughest regional in the state," Reed said. "Definitely winning the sectional and getting a good regional draw is important. Getting to the semistate is definitely a goal of mine, and I'd like to get to (the state meet)."
Webber believes it's possible.
"In our regional, we've got six or seven (Class) 5A schools in there, and we normally don't see schools of that size during the season," Webber said.
"I've got a few wrestlers who I think can make it to the semistate, and T.J. is one of them."