Newcomer of the Year


Photographs by Anthony Reyes

Obi Smith

Newcomer of the Year

Obi Smith

SCHOOL Bentonville

CLASS Freshman



THE SCOOP The 15-year-old competed well as a freshman even against out-of-state competition, placing among the top five in five of his six tournaments. Won the Big West Conference tournament, took third at the Class 6A-7A state tournament, came in fourth at Seneca, Mo. and Bixby, Okla. and finished fifth in Branson, Mo. Finished with a record of 57-20, but only two losses came to in-state competition.

DID YOU KNOW Started wrestling when he was six years old. Also ran cross country in seventh, eighth and ninth-grade. His name is Obadiah from the Bible, but goes by Obi.

QUOTABLE “I was a good youth wrestlers, but coach (James) Rappe’s told me I still needed to learn how to be a good high school wrestler,” Smith said. “I learned what that meant this year. It’s like a mentality when you go out there. I’ve always been the oldest kid, the biggest kid and the strongest but this year at times I was not. I wasn’t used to that.

“I’ve always been an offensive wrestler and I’ve never had people attack my legs and shoot on me. This year when people would do that, I wasn’t used to it. That’s something I have to improve on. Something I’ll definitely remember is when I won at conference in the finals. That was a big thing for me, also when I lost in the semifinals at state. That was huge. It’s something I’ll learn from and something that will push me next year to do better so I don’t want to feel those things again.”

— Paul Boyd • @NWAPaulb

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