By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga senior David MacWhinnie will get a fresh start, of sorts, this fall when he takes his skills on the wrestling mat to Elmira College, which is reviving its program after an absence of more than four decades.
MacWhinnie signed a National Letter-of-Intent Friday morning in a brief ceremony in the high school foyer.
MacWhinnie credits Tioga Central senior high principal Josh Roe for his choice of Elmira College.
“Mr. Roe was on me all year long about Elmira College,” he said. “When I finally gave it a chance, I visited and I absolutely loved it.
“And, I loved the idea of starting a program,” added MacWhinnie. “It’s going to feel good starting fresh.”
The fact Elmira is only 25 miles from Tioga is nice, said MacWhinnie, but it didn’t factor into his decision.
“It didn’t really matter how far away the college was, I wanted to go where I was going to fit in the best, and where everything was going to be good for me.”
MacWhinnie, who received Section IV, Division VI honorable mention all-star recognition in the fall, also considered playing sprint football at Mansfield.
“I was looking at Mansfield to play football, but the deciding factor just came down to my love for wrestling.”
Tioga wrestling coach Kris Harrington sees Elmira College as a great fit for MacWhinnie.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for David to start something on the ground floor.
“David was a big part of this group blazed a trail here at Tioga — the resurgence of this program, and I think he’s a good fit for Elmira,” said Harrington.
“He could be one of those lynchpins that keeps the program moving forward at Elmira,” he added.
MacWhinnie, a four-time Section IV place-winner with more than 120 career wins, says not advancing to States weighs heavy on his mind.
“After getting away from (wrestling) for a while, and not achieving my goals in high school, it made me realize how much I wanted those goals.
“Getting to States was a big goal, and I could never get out of the (Section IV) semis,” said MacWhinnie. “Now, I have another chance to achieve new goals.”
Harrington said MacWhinnie will likely use not getting to States as motivation at the next level.
“I think David could be one of those guys that puts everything together in college.
“Not reaching your goals in high school, can be a huge motivator in college,” said Harrington. “I think he has a lot to prove, and Elmira College provides a good opportunity for him to do that.”
MacWhinnie knows he has work to do to excel at the next level.
“I definitely need to work on staying in better position. Most of the time when I get out of my good positions, I start to stray away from most of my offense, which is my double-legs … that leads me to come in weaker in certain situations where I’m normally strong.”
Harrington believes MacWhinnie has the tools to be successful.
“He needs to work on consistency, his weight consistency. He’s going to have to cut a little bit of weight next year, and be consistent with his weight cuts,” he said. “Other than that, I think he’ll be all right.”
MacWhinnie will major in Accounting.
IN PHOTO 1: David MacWhinnie. IN PHOTO 2: David MacWhinnie, flanked by his parents Nicki and Ryan, his brother Brayden MacWhinnie, and sister Kelsey Vosburgh. IN PHOTO 3: From left: former assistant coach (and uncle) Brandon MacWhinnie, head coach Kris Harrington, David MacWhinnie, assistant coach Ryan MacWhinnie, and assistant coach Jason Bellis. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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