Tigers’ Sharron grappling with future

  • Josh Sharron, of Newport High School, runs down the field with the ball as Kevin McDonough, of Concord High School, chases him during a New Hampshire team practice for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University in Castleton, Vt., on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report for America — Alex Driehaus

  • From left, head coach Paul Landry, of Kingswood Regional High School, Josh Sharron, of Newport High School, and Owen Taylor, of Stevens High School, have a laugh after a New Hampshire team practice for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University in Castleton, Vt., on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report for America — Alex Driehaus

  • Newport’s Josh Sharron (38) participates in a drill during a New Hampshire team practice for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University in Castleton, Vt., on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2021 9:54:16 PM
Modified: 8/10/2021 12:12:03 AM

CASTLETON, Vt. — After an accomplished wrestling career at Newport High, Josh Sharron will wrestle for Wheeling University in West Virginia starting this year. But before that, he has one last piece of business to tend to away from the mat.

Sharron, a running back and linebacker for the Newport football team, will play one final high school gridiron game before he takes off for West Virginia: the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

Sharron knows what lies ahead but isn’t worrying about it yet. He’s trying to soak in the Shrine Bowl experience as much as he can this week.

“I’m just trying to live in the moment right now and not worry about the future,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “Just trying to live in the moment before it’s gone. That’s where my focus is right now.”

Sharron has adopted a similar mentality for wrestling. When he was younger, he tended to overthink. He’d fret over the other wrestlers in his bracket and let those concerns impact his mindset. But as he matured, he realized he performed better when he was not overthinking and tried to be more relaxed going into tournaments and matches.

There wasn’t a specific moment or epiphany that made him realize that. He just came to understand it as he grew up.

It was evident for him when he wrestled at the NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., in April, where he placed fifth in the 138-pound weight class with four wins. He surprised himself with his attitude going into that competition.

“I thought I would be more nervous, but I just went out there, wrestled and did my own thing,” Sharron said. “I think the older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing (the importance of) trying to live in the moment and not overthinking everything, because one day it’s all gonna be gone.”

Sharron said he picked Wheeling because he thought its coaches were the best for him compared with other schools he considered. He added that the school just felt like the right fit when he visited the campus.

At Newport, Sharron won an individual state title in NHIAA Division III as a freshman in the 126-pound weight class. He finished second in the New Hampshire Meet of Champions as a sophomore and placed third as a junior. He didn’t have a senior wrestling season at Newport because of COVID-19.

He displayed similar prowess on the football field. As a senior in 2020, Sharron logged 61 carries for 460 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He also caught six passes for 195 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 66 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss, and one sack. He also blocked three punts on special teams. The Tigers won a state title, and Sharron was named NHIAA Division IV player of the year.

Newport head football coach John Proper said Sharron’s natural ability and high football IQ are what make him such a prolific player. He called Sharron an extra coach out on the field.

And even with Sharron drawing interest from college wrestling programs later in his high school career, Proper never questioned his dedication to football.

“He was all in. He was 100% committed,” Proper said. “When it was football time, when the football preseason started, it was all football. He was focused on that, and wrestling was a second thought during the season.”

Sharron spent the months leading up to this week training with wrestling in mind. But he said a lot of his preparation for wrestling correlates well with football. Both sports require quickness and agility on your feet, and he said some wrestling techniques are similar to tackling in football.

When he arrived at Castleton University for the Shrine Bowl week, the bigger adjustment from wrestling training to football practice was the extra running. He said he needed a day or two to get his legs used to running for football.

At one point during his junior year, Sharron debated between pursuing wrestling or football in college. He decided that even though he loves football, wrestling was his bigger passion.

So Sharron will step on the gridiron for the final time Saturday afternoon. It’s bittersweet for him, but he’s not overthinking it. He’s just going out there to play ball again.

“Mixed emotions, but I think it’s a perfect way to end my football career with a bunch of other stellar players,” Sharron said. “I’m definitely looking forward to going out there one last time, giving it my all, and saying goodbye to a game that I’ve worked so hard for over the years.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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