Meet DeAndre Johnson, NCAA Division II Wrestling Champion

It is always inspiring for me to read about a young person who taps into his natural abilities and turns that into something great. DeAndre Johnson has done just that.

Johnson is an ECAC Division II Wrestling League Wrestler of the Year and the 2017 NCAA Division II Wrestling Champion at 157 pounds. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment but what makes it even more amazing is that Johnson did not start wrestling until his sophomore year of high school.

Kyle Kimrey, head wrestling coach at Dutch Fork High School and Johnson’s coach his sophomore year at Battery Creek High School, shares with the Island Packet News, that while Johnson may not have known the moves, he did know how to use his athleticism. According to Kimrey, “He had the instincts, strength, balance and coordination. You can’t coach that. He was physically gifted for wrestling and he had the temperament. He channeled his energy.”

Gilbert Sanchez, an assistant principal and assistant wrestling coach at Battery Creek, shared how Johnson, despite loving the big moves that pleased the crowd, worked diligently to learn the basics in order to become an even better wrestler. Nathan Day, head wrestling coach at Batter Creek, is not surprised at all at how far Johnson has gotten since he was never one to take shortcuts when it came to training.

And Johnson didn’t keep his love of the sport and work ethic just to himself. He talks to his teammates and checks on their focus as well. He not only worked to encourage himself but others as well.

Fast forward a few years and here we are. Given all that his coaches said about him in addition to his dedication to the sport and his teammates, it is not surprising that this young man is a national champion. But even that has an incredible story.

Johnson beat the best of the best to become the national champion. His opponent was undefeated heading into this match for the national title and, get this, last year’s national champion!

Johnson is a testament to the fact that if one has the ability to tap into one’s natural gifts, the sky is the limit!

Congratulations DeAndre Johnson!

To read more about DeAndre, click here

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