MIDDLETOWN — In February, Shenandoah junior Silas Allred proved his excellence in the state of Indiana by winning a state wrestling championship.
In June, he will be out to do so again, this time competing against half the world.
With his win Saturday in the freestyle wrestling competition at the FloNationals in Pennsylvania, Allred qualified to represent the United States at the 2019 Cadet Pan American Games in Morelia, Mexico.
The event will be held from June 28-30 and will include wrestlers from countries in the Western Hemisphere — including North America, Central America and South America.
Allred’s national ranking improved to second in his weight class prior to the event. There were some who said he just moved up because others had graduated, but his performance over the weekend further legitimized that ranking.
“It’s kind of validating for me and everyone who is watching me compete because some of those guys had their doubts about me, even though I am ranked second in the country,” he said. “What I was able to accomplish at this tournament really just solidified a lot of things, who I am as an athlete, a person and a wrestler.”
Allred competed against wrestlers from all over the country, including California and Virginia. He said it was a great event and will afford him an even greater opportunity.
“The tournament just met every expectation. There was awesome competition,” he said. “What I’m most excited about is throwing on that red-and-blue singlet that says ‘U.S.A.’ across the back with my name on it and be able to go out there and represent my country.”
Allred is wrestling at 92 kilograms, approximately 202.8 pounds, which is a heavier weight than the 195 pounds at which he won the state title. With the FloNationals competition taking place over three days, he had to be even more focused because, not only was he wrestling two different disciplines, Greco and freestyle, but he was required to make weight each day.
“It’s a completely different environment, really,” Allred said. “When I wrestle Greco, the nerves I feel are so different. When I wrestle folkstyle during the season, it’s easy for me. It’s something I’m used to. With Greco, I can’t take any shots. It’s all upper body. It shocks me. It takes a lot more focus. I can’t rely on muscle memory. I have to think a lot more. And having to make weight all three days, that’s another challenge. I had to make weight for Greco and then for freestyle both days.
“It’s not like I could weigh in one time and then go eat whatever I want, which is pretty typical for me.”
Thursday, Allred finished runner-up in the Greco competition, meaning he had to win the freestyle to accumulate the points needed to advance to Mexico.
“The guy who beat me in Greco finished third in freestyle,” Allred said. “Not just winning that (freestyle finals) match, but making a statement with a 35-second tech fall, it feels good to me as another goal accomplished, getting to travel to another country and wrestle. It’s just an incredible opportunity.”
The idea of competing with the best from all over the hemisphere is surreal to Allred.
“Just the thought of that is so cool,” he said. “Guys from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, all these countries. Who can say they got to wrestle against the best of the best from another country? That just feels unreal to me.”
It is just the latest accomplishment in what has already been an incredible year for Allred. In addition to his state championship and national No. 2 ranking, he has also verbally committed to wrestle against Big Ten competition at Nebraska after his days at Shenandoah are over.
And he has more goals to complete. He wants to wrestle for an NCAA championship at Nebraska, compete in other world championships and possibly make an Olympic team.
Despite his big 2019, Allred is just getting started.
“This is just the year where I’m starting to make a name for myself and show everybody how it started,” Allred said. “At the end of the day, the end dream for me is for Silas Allred to be a household name. Whether it’s as a wrestler, a great person, or whatever it is, I want to be a name that people know.
“I want to be somebody to everybody. That’s the dream for me.”