The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 24, 2013

A Don McCormack column: This David a true Goliath on the mat

Lateral moves pave way to climb up ladder for David Cumberledge

By DON McCORMACK - donmac@suite224.net
Sports Editor

— For most of us, lateral moves are anything but significant, pretty much a waste of valuable time and effort, in fact.

For David Cumberledge, though, lateral moves are where it’s at, and certainly, time well spent.

In fact, for the 11-year-old son of Jack and Jodi Dubsky, it paved the road to a state championship, which the fifth-grader at Geneva Spencer Elementary School recently earned at the Ohio Youth Wrestling Championships.

Wrestling in the 105-pound weight classification for Lake Catholic, he came home with the state crown — his second such triumph — with a 4-1 victory in the title match.

“The lateral throw,” the well-spoken young man answered when asked about his trademark move. “I like to get into (his opponents) and take them down.”

He did just that in the championship match.

“It worked twice for me in that match,” he said. “I got him once in the first period and again in the third period.”

Which made his opponent’s late escape pretty much a non-factor.

“He got away with like 15 seconds left,” Cumberledge said. “I knew I had him at that point.”

It’s ironic the young man, who also plays quarterback and running back in football and pitches in catches in baseball, has the term “throw” as part of his best move.

Because the night before the championship match — and all through the day of the contest and during the actual competition — he was “throwing”... as in up.

“About 11 the night before, I got really sick,” Cumberledge said. “I had a fever and I was throwing up.

“It really made me very weak.”

Apparently, though, not to weak to give even an inch on the mat.

“No way!” he said. “I knew I had to fight through it and win.”

Cumberledge comes by his prowess on the mat naturally. His father was a district-qualifying wrestler at 155 pounds during his high school days at Mantua Crestwood.

“I was more of a football player, whom they recruited to the wrestling team,” Jack said with a laugh. “But I was nowhere near where David is with wrestling. It’s like night and day, in fact.”

Asked to describe his son’s style on the mat, Jack didn’t hesitate.

“He’s all go, all the time... totally aggressive,” he said of his son. “He’s always on the attack, from the first whistle to the last whistle.”

Cumberledge got his start on the mats early in life.

“We used to live next to Mark Meyer, who was coach of the Jefferson Youth Wrestling Club,” Dubsky said. “He kept asking me to sign David up for wrestling and I kept saying, ‘Mark, he’s only 4 1/2.’

“Mark’s answer was always the same — ‘If he’s old enough to walk, he’s old enough to wrestle.’ And he was right. He was like a fish to water.

“That lit the fuse for David.”

And the fuse ignited some dynamite results for the youngster.

At the Grade School State Championships, he was third two years ago and won the state championship last year at 80 pounds.

Previous to his state championship in the Ohio Youth Wrestling Championships a couple weeks ago, Cumberledge was third at 67 pounds two years ago and runner-up at 79 pounds last year.

Moving up to 105 pounds this year proved to be no problem for him.

“He’s hit (his growth spurt),” his dad said. “David’s really growing up.”

David, who also has older sisters Amanda (21), Rachel (20) and Elizabeth (13) and younger brother Frankie (5) also in his corner in addition to his mom and dad, has three heroes in terms of wrestling.

“(Former Penn State standouts) David Taylor, Quentin Wright and definitely Ken Chertow,” he said. “I want to be like them. I want to wrestle at Penn State.”

His dad said his affinity for the former Nittany Lion greats and Penn State, in general, stems from Chertow, an Olympian and All-American who coached at Penn State and Ohio State and runs what is regarded my many as the best wrestling camp system in the country.

“He went to one of Ken’s camps year ago and he was absolutely hooked,” Dubsky said. “He’s been back several times.

“It’s become his life’s dream.”

While David listed three accomplished wrestlers as his heroes in the sport, he’s wise enough to know his true main man.

“Without my dad, I’d be nothing,” he said. “He’s the reason I’ve been able to anything. Without him, I wouldn’t.”

David’s no dumb jock, either, being a merit-roll student at Spencer Elementary. And he’s certainly not a wallflower.

“Me and my friends love being outside whenever we can,” he said. “We do pretty much anything, but we really like playing backyard football.”

That would be of the tackle-type, right?

“Of course!” David said without a moment’s hesitation. “Is there any other kind?”

Like father, like son... a wrestler recruited to play football.

A lateral move, indeed.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.