Austin Harry started wrestling as an 8-year-old.
It was not long before the current Lake-Lehman senior was already showing the dedication that has brought him to the point where he is one of the state’s top high school wrestlers and a committed recruit to one of the nation’s top programs.
Harry, who has the only unbeaten record among Wyoming Valley Conference wrestlers, will formally sign his Letter of Intent on Friday at the school, completing his commitment to wrestle for the United States Military Academy after spending a year at West Point Prep.
Harry gave his verbal commitment Aug. 20, prior to the start of his senior year, to join the Army wrestling program, which competes on the NCAA Division I level and is approaching 700 all-time victories.
“I can still remember being 8, 9, 10 years old, getting up at 5 or 6 o’clock and me and my dad (Keith) going all over,” said Harry, who has wrestled between 132 and 145 pounds this season. “It was a lot of early mornings and a lot of dedication, but it paid off.”
As the last set of postseason individual tournaments approaches in his high school career, Harry already has two District 2 and two Northeast Regional Class 2A championships, and a pair of state medals for finishing in the top eight in his weight class. With that history and a 27-0 record this season, Harry, who is 143-14 for his career, appears ready to contend for a possible state title.
Harry said the Division I wrestling dream developed even before high school when his father, a former high school wrestler, coached him and took him around on the tournament circuit. He found success yearly at the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association Nationals and won the tournament’s title in Salisbury, Md. as a sixth grader.
As he moved through a successful high school career, Harry gained college attention. He did not have his mind set on the military academies, but when both Army and Navy reached out to him, they joined Bucknell as the options he considered seriously.
Harry also played soccer throughout his time at Lake-Lehman and plans to rejoin the track program this spring now that his future is set.
“It’s an honor for Austin,” Lake-Lehman coach Tom Williams said. “He’s a great kid, a very hard worker and has shown leadership with our program for four years.”