By Brian Bateman
For Dallas Jesuit’s Shane Ross, victory was so close.
Ross, then a junior, was one match away from a state wrestling title, but his Katy Morton Ranch opponent was too tough.
That was a year ago. Today, he’s got his sights set on a bigger prize: a college national championship.
“I am looking to become the best wrestler I can be,” Ross said. “Top-6 seed at the Division-III tournament.”
Ross will begin that quest next year at Wesleyan, which has five all-Americans in its history. The Connecticut school went 8-11 last year as a team.
Ross, who attends Shearith Israel, has made the UIL state tournament each of the last three years. His best showing was second place in 2014, when he lost in the finals to Katy Morton Ranch’s William Homalon in the 126-pound division. He also finished fifth as a sophomore in then-Class 5A.
Ross’ athletic achievements were matched by his academic success at Jesuit. He earned the Thomas Wunderlick scholar athlete award — the same accolade professional golf star Jordan Spieth earned just a few years ago.
So, how did he find his way to the East Coast?
“At the beginning of this year, I got a letter from Wesleyan. I fell in love with the campus, the people were friendly and it was a different environment than Texas,” he said. “The coach really reminded me of my high school coach.”
“I got to meet the kids on the wrestling team. I really was able to relate to them — in the sport and in academics.”
This year, he competed in the 132-pound classification, and hopes to build upon that in a heavier class in college. He’ll get help from coach Drew Black, who has 17 years experience coaching at Wesleyan.
“He’s also in charge of the (all university sports’) strength and conditioning. He could elevate my level as a wrestler and as a person.”
Ross doesn’t expect to attempt any other varsity sports, although he’ll probably be active in the intramural scene.
Planning an economics major, Ross hopes to continue working on community service projects like he did in high school. He doesn’t have a set career in mind, but hopes to figure that out in college.
He chose Wesleyan over Columbia, Stanford, Chicago, Washington & Lee and Texas — where he would have wrestled for a club team.
“The team really made sure I had a fun time on my visit.”
Shane Ross is the son of Jon and Kimberly Ross. He has a twin brother Sterling and another brother Stratton, 14.