Death in family brings about hard lesson in life for Ohio State wrestler

Pandemic Postcards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Chase Singletary, a former top high school prospect in the country, had the most important match of his career.

Singletary would have to wrestle off with his teammate in order to get into the Big Ten Championships.

“I was getting a kid who was really motivated, great leader, understood hard work, understood sacrifice,” OSU Head Wrestling Coach, Tom Ryan told me of his landing Singletary on the squad four years ago.

Locked in on becoming a title contender, and his little brother Colby was ready to follow in his footsteps.

“Super close,” Chase recalled his relationship with his younger brother. “He actually came up here a couple times and stayed with me, he was like my best friend,” his lips quivering as he choked back tears.

Then on July 6th, 2019. 18-year-old Colby pulled out of their Naples, Florida home, and lost control of his car.

“We hopped in a car and it was probably only five minutes down the road,” Chase painfully recalls. ”He had just left and when we got there we asked the officer, and yeah, he was dead.”

“Life’s hard,” coach Ryan insists. “I think it exposed him to the brutality of life far greater than any wrestling match did.”

Chase talked to coach about quitting, but came back in 2019, took down #7 in the country, and was back in form.

“And then he gets hurt?” I said to coach about Chase’s next hurdle. “And then he gets hurt,” Ryan confirmed.

A knee injury that ended his 2019-2020 season…then COVID hit.

“It was better to come back here and try to make something of myself,” Chase told me about his decision to return to Ohio State. “How’s that going?” I asked. “That’s also tough,” he told me with a smile.

He’ll graduate in May. So this match was to make what would be his final starting lineup for the Big 10 Championships. He lost.

“I know what I’m here for and it’s not to make lineups,” Chase told me even before the wrestle-off happened.

“The difference between difficult and tragic,” coach Ryan said knowingly. “Losing a wrestle-off is difficult, losing a brother is tragic.”

Coach knows. He lost his 5 year old son Teague to a sudden heart attack in 2004.

“No matter how hard life gets, there are ways that I will grow and improve,” Ryan says of the growth he’s seen in Chase. “And I think that’s what,” he paused looking for the right words. “Yeah, that’s what Chase is.”

“What’s success?” I asked Chase. “Umm, showing up everyday.” he said with certainty. “Being present, fighting the fight, and making sure you’re doing the right things.”

That’s a win. That, is a legacy.

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