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Del City's Josh McNaughton takes up wrestling, football after father's death

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS — When Josh McNaughton moved to Del City, he didn't have much experience playing sports. But with some encouragement from coaches Nick Warehime and Ronnie James, he's taken up football and wrestling, a sport his father once competed in.
BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer, Published: January 18, 2012

McNaughton was also in Del City wrestling coach Ronnie James' weightlifting class.

“You could see the work ethic that he had when he was in the weight room,” James said. “So I asked him if he'd ever wrestled.”

When McNaughton answered no, James said, “Let's give it a shot.”

Cathy was surprised when her son told her he was going to take up the two sports.

“I wasn't expecting this to happen, not at all,” she said. “It's been really cool watching him though.”

McNaughton was winless his first season, then came within a point of advancing to state as a junior. This year, he's a state-title contender at 220 in Class 5A.

“I'm the proudest parent that can be out there right now,” Cathy McNaughton said. “It was pretty rough on him losing his dad and then having to move away from his friends. He came through it really well.”

Josh is getting college looks in both sports but would rather wrestle if he had his pick.

“I feel like I'm going to get so much better with some more time,” he said. “I haven't been doing this very long and I still have a lot to learn.”

Cathy said she sees a lot of Jason in Josh now.

“His dad was our rock, and Josh had to step up and be the man of the house and he did it tenfold,” Cathy said. “He's tried to be strong for me.

“He's actually going to be something and do something with his life and he's making it happen for himself. He's not just sitting around. He got that from his dad.”

For Josh, his dad is never far from his thoughts.

“In big matches, I'll think about it. ‘You wanted me to wrestle and here I am. I'm out here,'” McNaughton said. “I know in my head that he's with me, I know he's watching over me and I'll be all right win or lose.”

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