POWHATAN – No matter how this season ultimately ends up going, A.J. Gaskin’s senior year on the mat is already one to remember.
He’s picked up individual victories against Cosby and Manchester in his 152-pound class as well as against Spotsylvania while wrestling up at 160 pounds.
He was able to have his Senior Night, as he and seven of his peers were honored for what they’ve contributed to Powhatan’s wrestling program and community over the years.
And as far as his future on the mat goes, last year’s Class 4, Region B champion knows where he’s going.
Gaskin has committed to taking both his academic and wrestling careers to Ferrum College, where he’ll compete alongside former Powhatan teammate and 2019 Class 4 state champion J.D. McMillin.
“I’m excited to see how much better I’ll get when I get there,” Gaskin said. “I’m excited to go down there and wrestle with them next year.”
He likes the environment at Ferrum, and he pointed to how McMillin has gotten a lot better since he started wrestling there.
“I just want to go down there in an environment like that,” Gaskin said, “where everyone’s like family.”
Gaskin enjoyed a breakout season as a junior, In addition to winning the region title and qualifying for states, he earned finalist honors at Powhatan’s Arrowhead Invitational and went 4-0 in his first action of the 2019-20 season when Powhatan wrestled in the Hawk Duals last January.
“When I work hard,” he said, “I get a lot better every day I go into practice.”
Last year for Gaskin was “awesome,” said his head coach Jonathan Tanaka said.
“It was one of those things where, as coaches, we knew what the talent was,” Tanaka said. “We saw the talent and it was just figuring out a way for him to put it all together, figuring out a way for him to just see what we see through our eyes.”
As Gaskin prepares for the collegiate step and continues his final high school season, he’s “looking to get better with my positions – be really good in every single position and score off of it.”