Piedmont wrestling coach Todd Stokes said he wished others could see the Parker Von Egidy that he knew – not the Von Egidy on the mat but the version of the senior in the Panthers’ wrestling room, away from the bright lights of tournaments and medal stands.
“We called him ‘The Pot-Stirrer’ because he was always the kid trying to stir the pot and get everyone riled up,” Stokes said of Von Egidy. “When it hit the fan, he was the one on the side laughing at it.”
But really, that’s not too unlike how the rest of the state must’ve viewed Von Egidy. After all, Von Egidy’s mere presence at wrestling tournaments had a way of riling up his competitors. And, more often than not, he’d be standing on the side when it was all over, atop a podium, with a grin on his face.
Last month, Von Egidy concluded one of the best wrestling careers not only in Union County history, but state annals as well. Von Egidy won his third consecutive individual state championship by outscoring North Surry’s Levi Slate, 28-12, for the Class 2A 182-pound title. The win improved his season record to 59-0 with 28 pins. It was the 228th win of his career, giving him 40 more than any other Piedmont wrestler, according to Stokes.
Each year, the widely respected high school wrestling website RetroRankings.com solicits votes from media members to honor the best wrestlers in each of the state’s four classifications, regardless of weight class. Recently, Von Egidy was named the website’s Class 2A Wrestler of the Year after receiving a whopping 90 percent of the votes. No other boys wrestler received more than 84 percent.
Now, for the second consecutive season, Von Egidy is Union County Weekly’s Wrestler of the Year.
“He’s done unbelievable things,” said Stokes, who estimated that only “20 to 25” wrestlers in state history had won three state titles.
Next year, Von Egidy will continue to be a bit of a rarity, as he’ll continue his career with the University of Missouri Tigers. Generally, the college wrestling programs in the tradition-rich Midwest are filled with athletes from that region.
Von Egidy said he was constantly aware of just how rare his upcoming opportunity is and was determined to prove he was worth it, every time he stepped on the mat.
And it showed, as 17 of his pins came in two minutes or less.
“I had to go out and make sure I went out there and not just win, but win by a large margin so everybody would know I deserved (to be recruited by Missouri) and no one would question me,” Von Egidy said.
Von Egidy said the pressure to excel never really got to him, however. The toughest part of the season, he said, was helping a young team realize its potential. In 2012, the Panthers won the state dual-team title. And though Piedmont failed to repeat, Von Egidy said he benefitted from helping his teammates.
“We had a lot of freshmen on the team. Knowing you can’t just yell at people all the time – you have to sit them down and talk to them, too,” Von Egidy said. “People respond differently to different things.”
After all, Von Egidy never expected this kind of success when he was their age.
“I never thought it was going to end up like this,” Von Egidy said. “As a freshman, I never thought this would’ve happened.
“I’m glad it did.”