By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga senior Dom Wood liked what he saw at Ohio Wesleyan, and, after issuing a verbal commitment to the Division III school, plans on playing football there for the next four years on his way to a degree.
“I like the coaches,” he said. “I met with them and talked to them, and since (Covid-19) started, I’ve zoomed with them and I like what they are doing.
“And they were interested in me, and what I was doing — that was a big part of it, too,” added Wood.
Ohio Wesleyan is located in Delaware, Ohio (pop. 39,900), and has a total enrollment of 1,600 students.
“I visited the campus a couple of times. It’s really nice, I liked it,” said Wood. “It’s a pretty big town, so that will be an adjustment.”
Wood, a first-team all-state defensive lineman, is hoping to get on the field as a freshman.
“As of right now, they have me on the D-line, but I don’t care where I play — I just want to play,” he said. “I’d prefer defense, but really I’ll play wherever they want me.”
Tioga football coach Nick Aiello said Wood’s work ethic will be a big asset for him at the next level.
“I think Dom has always had to work hard for what he’s accomplished,” he said. “As a player, coming up through the ranks, Dom’s name wasn’t really out there until we saw him play JV.
“Having a JV team was huge for us and for players like Dom, because we were able to see what he could do, and we could work with him.
“Dom has put in the time,” noted Aiello. “He has put in the time in the weight room, and in the wrestling room.
“He really built himself into a heck a player, and I think that’s what’s going to help him tremendously at the next level,” added Aiello. “He has that mental toughness to work through things and make himself better, and that’s what you need at the next level. You need to be able to push yourself if you’re going to make it.”
Wood said he’ll keep working in order to be prepared for the fall.
“I’ve been lifting with the program they gave me,” he said. “I think the big thing I need to work on is strength in my lower body.”
Aiello agrees Wood also needs to be prepared for the mental side of the game.
“I think he just needs to keep working hard,” he said. “I think he’s still growing, which is nice.’
“He’ll need to learn the game, because it’s such a different game at that level,” noted Aiello. “The good thing is he’ll just have to focus on one position, but in that one position you need to understand exactly what you’re doing.
“I think Dom will be able to handle it,” he added.
Wood will major in Accounting.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Wood. “It’s a big change for me, but I’m pretty excited about it.”
IN PHOTO: Dom Wood.
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