By Evan Grice
Piedmont senior football standout and two-time state wrestling placer Blane Culp recently sat down with the Surrey-Gazette following the Wildcats Senior Night dual victory over Deer Creek at Collett Fieldhouse. Culp discussed his goals for this wrestling season, and talked about the shoulder injury which nearly cost him his senior season of athletics.
PG: It’s no secret that you had to endure a severe shoulder injury before this season began. Take me back to when it happened, what was going through your mind? Were you focused on even competing in athletics?
BC: “I pretty much knew I was going to push through the injury. This was my second shoulder surgery this year, and I knew if I made it through before I could make it through again.”
PG: A huge part of your recovery and support system is your family, who is at every sporting event you participate in. What does it personally mean to you have the family foundation that you do?
BC: “I couldn’t be more proud of the family I have. They show up to every match, dual, football game that I have. They are the real deal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
PG: You made your season debut in football at the district opener on the road against Woodward. What was going through your mind that day waiting for the game to start?
BC: “The whole day I was excited. I was ready to get back out there with my teammates. I wasn’t nervous at all because I knew we had a solid foundation defensively that was going to help carry me throughout the game.”
PG: Another huge part of the reason you’ve been able to keep competing has been the support from Coach (Craig) Church in football and Coach (Erik) Ford in wrestling. How much of an impact do the coaching staffs play in the role of an athlete’s comeback?
BC: “Coach Ford and Coach Church have been nothing but supportive this whole time. They have been pushing me to what they want, and also what’s best for me as well. I’ve loved getting to work with both of them and I couldn’t ask for better coaches.”
PG: Is it really true what they say about Saturday night at the state wrestling tournament when they say “There’s no better spot then under those bright lights.”?
BC: “I’ve never been there, but I’ve had friends who have been there. They’ve always told me there’s nothing better than that at the state tournament.”
PG: You’ve been a two-time state placer at the state tournament, and you know what it takes to get to the top. Is this the year you become a state champion for Piedmont wrestling?
BC “This is my year. I will push myself to win the state tournament. I’m going to set myself up to win a state championship.”
PG: In your own words, describe Blane Culp away from athletics
BC: “I pride myself on being very laid back. I also like to look at myself as a leader and just showing everyone how to be a good example off the field.”
PG: When you don’t have to stick to a strict diet food wise, what is your favorite cheat food?
BC: “Pancakes with Nutella and peanut butter.”
PG: What are your plans for after you graduate?
BC: “I’m keeping my options open at this point. There’s been several colleges contacting me and I’ve kept in contact with them as well. I’m not sure what my major is going to be yet but I want to be a firefighter.”
PG: What originally drew you to the sport of wrestling to begin with?
BC: “I had a friend of mine in the second and third grade that asked me to go to one of his practice sessions, and the rest is history from then on.”
PG: What’s the best feeeling about being a wrestler overall? Is it when the match begins that the adrenaline kicks in?
BC: “Before the match and all the way until you step out on the mat, the nerves are going. I don’t know how everyone else feels but I know I’m nervous. Once the whistle goes though, then all the nerves go away and it’s natural from then on.”
PG: Do you remember winning your first match as a wrestler?
BC: “No unfortunately I don’t. I was in third grade when that happened.”