Asked into wrestling, Gunby excels
Collingswood wrestling coach Dechlin Moody has heard it all before.
Because Collingswood is a smaller, Group 1 school that struggles to find wrestlers, Moody patrols school grounds in search of kids who look like they could wrestle.
Students often say they will show up, then don't.
Senior Forrley Gunby is different from most students.
Gunby, a natural athlete who started at running back and linebacker in football, did not have much wrestling experience when Moody approached him. Gunby tried the sport when he was eight and did not like it.
But, with some friends on the team, Gunby told Moody he would give wrestling a shot as a junior. And he actually showed up.
"Have to give Forrley credit that he's a man of his word," Moody said.
More importantly, Gunby is 21-9 with 13 pins at 160 pounds on Collingswood's 22-7 team.
"He's not the most technically sound wrestler," Moody said. "But he has a lot of heart and determination. He hates to lose."
Gunby's quick ascension on the team was not easy. He appeared in only 10 varsity matches as a junior and considered leaving the team because of stiff competition at his weight class entering this season.
But he could not leave. While he did not take to wrestling as a child, he fell in love with the sport as a young man.
"Going out there by myself, knowing that I'm going to do this for the team, that really pushes me," Gunby said. "Nobody can pull me down except myself, and I'm not going to let that happen."
His teammates once teased him for wrestling on the junior varsity after his success on the football field. He playfully warned them he would take their spots.
While his coaches never even expected him to have so much success this quickly, he is a standout on the team.
"As he got better, you could see some fear in their [his teammates'] eyes," Moody said. "It says something about his confidence and how hard he works."
From Day 1 of his senior season, he knew that he could do something special.
An injury gave Gunby a chance to start, and he immediately capitalized on the opportunity. He earned a pair of pins in a season-opening tournament at The College of New Jersey.
"I was like, 'All right, I can get some confidence,' " Gunby said. "I knew that I could do it. I just didn't know if I could get that opportunity."
Gunby's success on the mat has him thinking about trying another sport before leaving Collingswood. He has looked into joining track and field in the spring, and based on his history, he probably will follow through on it.
"He's going to be good at track because that's the kind of kid he is," Moody said. "He doesn't just do something to do it."
Contact Nick Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.