Even with the amount of success Ethan Ducca has had on the mat, the 2020 St. John graduate and wrestler at Edinboro University has certainly come to understand the reality of coming up short of a goal. He also understands the effort required to battle back from disappointment.

He dropped his state title match in 2019, had the state tournament canceled a year later and finish one match shy of going to the NCAA nationals a year ago. Ducca has learned a thing or two about adversity.

With the college wrestling season underway, the Fighting Scots 184-pound grappler is ready to move forward with his mat career.

“I guess I still think about what could have been,” he said of the past few years. “But, I’m the type of dude that says ‘I got second in the state my junior year, the next day, I’m going to get in the room and start training harder so the next year, I’ll get first.’

Focusing on college has been a bit easier this year compared to his first year when the effects of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 were shaking the country.

A year ago, Ducca was living at home in Chardon, taking online classes and driving to campus only for workouts. This year has been a little more of what he expected.

“I’d say it’s probably about 80% better,” he said. “I have two in-person classes and two online classes. You still have to wear the mask here and there. Some of the duals and tournaments, you have to wear them.”

Masks or no masks, in-person or online classes, what Ducca is most excited about is the chance to experience a full wrestling season. Last year he got about 20 matches in, this season he should get more.

“It’s gonna be a full season this year,” he said. “It’s gonna be good even if we’re not completely there yet.”

An abbreviated season saw Ducca go 10-8 last season and place fourth at the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

This season he is off to a 6-1 start and is coming off a third-place finish at the Navy Classic in Annapolis, Maryland.

In high school, Ducca was known for carrying a water jug that had “state champ” written on it. It was his goal. He may not carry that jug around anymore, but he is certainly set another goal for the season.

“All-American or National Champion,” he replied when asked what might be scripted on his water jug today. “I was really close to being a national qualifier last year. This year, I’m expecting it. I’ve been working really hard over the summer and it’s just the same thing every year, keeping my head straight and working for my goals and working to get further.”

Ducca will next be in action on Dec. 3 when Edinboro hosts Gannon and Buffalo for a tri-meet.

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