Jared Woomer doesn't look or act like he'd be much of a wrestler. The Bellwood-Antis senior is quiet off the mat, and the small, square-rimmed glasses he wears makes him look like a modern-day version of Clark Kent.
We'll spare you the comparisons between Woomer and Kent, but Woomer certainly turned super one day in March at the Southwest Regional Tournament.
In his first bout at the tournament, Woomer had the Cambria County War Memorial buzzing when he beat Shady Side Academy's returning regional champion Philip Elias, 1-0.
"It wasn't a shocker to us because Jared wrestled very well last year," B-A coach Ron Wilson said. "He beat several state placewinner-type kids last year. He has the ability to do it."
Woomer doesn't share his coach's belief that it wasn't a surprise.
"That was a real big win," he said with a grin. "I came off the mat with a big ol' smile. I went in thinking he was beatable, and I just wrestled like I knew I could. I kept at him the whole time. I was one of the happiest guys you can be after that one. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting to come out of that match with my hand raised. I just wanted to put up a fight."
Woomer eventually reached the semifinals, and needed just one more win to advance to the PIAA Championships, but Claysburg-Kimmel's James Dodson pinned him, and Elias avenged the loss with a 4-2 win in the consolation semifinals. Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta then beat him, 3-2, in the fifth-place finals.
"I let him get in on my legs, and that was my downfall the whole tournament," Woomer said of his second bout with Elias. "I just left people get too deep on my legs, and they took me down. First-period takedowns killed me last year.
"I beat some good kids, but I just have to make sure I keep wrestling like I know how to wrestle. I have to make sure I don't make any dumb mistakes like I did last year. That took me out of the state run. I made a bunch of mistakes at regionals that I worked on over the summer."
He's off to a good start this season. Woomer is ranked second at 126 in the Mirror's first rankings with a 5-1 record. With a 76-33 career record, he should reach the 100-win plateau if he stays healthy.
Many likely never saw him being at this point when he was growing up. He began wrestling in the Tyrone school district in the first grade, but he quit in the fifth grade, and he didn't pick it up again until he was attending the B-A Junior High in the eighth grade.
"I didn't like dropping weight like I did when I was little," he said. "That kind if burned me out a little bit. When I moved here in the sixth grade, I started to come to more matches and got back into it. I love wrestling. If I could go back to fifth grade, I would have never quit wrestling."
Everybody knows about the Tyrone-B-A rivalry, but it's a little extra special for Woomer, who was part of the team that beat the Golden Eagles for the first time in the series history last year. They don't wrestle each other until Jan. 26.
"I always go out there and try to take the match to them," he said. "I have never wanted to lose to a Tyrone kid just because of the fact that I was there before. I just want to have that on them."
When he came up as a freshman 112-pounder, Woomer went 16-10. The next year, wrestling at 112 and 119, he went 22-13, qualifying for the regional tournament at 112 with a fifth-place finish at the District 6 Tournament.
"My 10th grade year, I considered myself average," Woomer said. "And then I went to regionals, and then I was like 'All right, I have potential.' I really didn't put as much effort into it. I did, but not as much as in my junior and senior years."
As a junior, Woomer went 33-9 with 11 pins at 119 and 125 and placed fourth at the district tournament. The improvement continued, and there's been more of that this season. He has three pins in his first six bouts.
"He's got to make up his mind that he's going to beat everybody this year," Wilson said. "If he does that, he'll take some major steps toward being on the podium at Hershey at the end of the year."
Woomer's success this season will be helped by the muscle he put on in the offseason. Woomer, who's max in the bench press is 200 pounds, appears to be stronger.
"When I wrestle, I can tell I'm stronger because last year I was never really a big pinner," he said. "This year, I've been sticking kids a lot easier."
With that increased strength and ever improving record, it might be hard for Woomer to surprise other wrestlers. If they don't know him, well, they'll find out that looks can be deceiving.
"I think it does help me because people might look at me and say I'm not the biggest kid, not the best," Woomer said. "They might consider me the underdog, but when I go out and wrestle, I wrestle like I know how. I just love seeing their faces at the end of the match. It's amazing."