As a wrestler for the Louisa Lions from 2002-2005, John Wittenburg’s life epitomized one word: dedication.
He also knew something that all athletes discover: extraordinary results are forged in inconspicuous moments.
Wittenburg learned this lesson during the summer of 2004, after he fell short of his goal of winning a state title, placing third at his weight level.
From then on, if reaching that goal meant staying those few extra minutes after practice to soak up one more piece of advice on how to get out of those tricky takedowns that opposing wrestlers would use, then so be it.
If it meant going over to his assistant coach Dean Hall’s house and watching tape after tape of his previous matches until he mastered the minute details of hand placement and body coordination, sign him up.
It’s no surprise that Wittenburg’s efforts culminated with him winning the Virginia High School League AA state wrestling title at the 119-pound level in 2005, only the second wrestler in school history to win a state title.
Eight years later, Wittenburg is out of wrestling, but he’s fighting again. Wittenburg was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer this past June. It’s an aggressive opponent – it has spread to his lungs and kidneys, – and while Wittenburg is used to battle in some sense of the word, it’s impossible to prepare yourself for some fights.
As he prepares to enter his first year as Louisa’s head wrestling coach, Hall is still in Wittenburg’s corner. Once again, Hall is assisting his former pupil, but this time he’s hoping to urge him on to an even sweeter victory.
To read the entire story, see the Sept. 5 edition of The Central Virginian.