Student Athlete Watch

Malcolm Wiley overcomes adversity to win state wrestling title.

Malcolm Wiley is a junior wrestler who didn’t know if he’d even be able to compete this year due to an early season knee injury — but then went on to win a state title. He talked with us about the experience and his future plans.

War Eagle Watch: What did it feel like to win your first state championship this year?

Malcolm Wiley: It felt great. I worked really hard all season and I even overcame an injury and to see the work pay off was amazing. I made a goal my freshman year to be the first black state champion in Woodward history and I was so happy that I achieved it.

WEW: What kind of adversity did you have to overcome this season? We heard that you had knee surgery — what was the injury and what was your recovery process like?

Wiley: I had to get knee surgery at the start of the season because I popped my kneecap out of place and it caused two bone fragments to break off and float in my knee. I had them both removed and was told I might miss the entire season, but I worked with Woodward’s awesome training staff and the doctors at Piedmont hospital to get healthy.

WEW: What has being a part of the wrestling team at Woodward taught you? What have you learned from Coach Ragan in particular?

Wiley: Being a part of the wrestling team has taught me that hard work always pays off in the end and that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve any of your goals. Coach Ragan, specifically, has taught me that some obstacles need to be approached differently than others and not every problem can be solved with brute force.

WEW: What made you want to start wrestling in the first place? What age did you start?

Wiley: My dad signed my brother and me up for wrestling when I was in the fourth grade because we were wrestling each other around the house and breaking things. So he decided we might as well try the actual sport and we both loved it immediately. I didn’t start on varsity until halfway through my sophomore year. I was primarily on JV, but I ended up finishing fourth in the state last year. I wrestled on Georgia’s national team during the summer and almost placed at Cadet Nationals, which took my skills to another level.

WEW: What are your goals for next season? Down the road (college, national competitions, etc.)?

Wiley: Next season I want to be undefeated in Georgia and place at least top three at every national tournament I attend. I also plan on winning a team title and another individual state title. I am planning on wrestling in college.

WEW: Have you started the college application process? What schools interest you at this point?

Wiley: I am just starting the applications process and I’m in talks with a couple different schools and coaches. A lot of the nearby ACC schools are interesting to me.