Dawson County High School senior Wyatt Smith always knew he was going to attend Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, but as little as six months ago he was not planning to wrestle at the collegiate level. After meeting with “the best wrestling coach” and receiving an offer from the school, those plans changed and on May 3, Smith signed his scholarship and officially became a Reinhardt Eagle.
“I would have gone anyway, outside of wrestling,” Smith said. “I have a friend who goes there, and I have always planned to go to their business school.”
Smith battled a series of injuries through his career, including knee and shoulder injuries this season, to become an annual fixture in the annual GHSA state tournament and a perennial favorite in the 132lb weight class of Area 5-AAA wrestling.
His perseverance and dedication earned him this year’s Tough Tiger Award at the team’s annual banquet and the admiration and praise of Head Coach Arron Haynes and Assistant Coach Andrew Grigsby as they each took a turn to talk about the impact Smith had on them and the team.
“My first impression of (Smith) was that he was an unquestioned leader,” Grigsby said. “Everyone knew that when he went out on the mat he was going to win.”
The son of Brian and Kam, Smith is the first of three children to leave for college and, despite the school being close to home, the moment was bittersweet for the family.
“It’s what any mom thinks,” said Mrs. Smith. “You are happy to see their success, happy to see them happy, but at the same time… a part of you doesn’t want them to go.”
In his final summer before heading to Waleska, Smith plans to work with his father to begin building his own portfolio in real estate, an effort he felt would give him a good start in both school and life.
“It’s a good time to get into the industry, and I have a good resource,” Smith said, with a quick smile at his dad. “The experience will definitely help at school and down the road.”