As early as his sophomore season at Line Mountain, Jon Fausey’s plan was to make his college decision before the start of his senior season.
Fausey made good on that plan this week when he signed a national letter of intent to continue his wrestling career at the University of Virginia. The Cavaliers won out over Cornell and Penn, but Fausey said the decision was a difficult one.
The Eagles’ two-time PIAA Class AA place-winner (second as a sophomore; third as a junior) said, “I had strong connections with the three coaches and it was a really tough decision. When I told the Penn and Cornell coaches that I chose Virginia, I kind of felt bad.”
Fausey began narrowing his college choices once he returned from Fargo, N.D., last summer, where he placed sixth at 189 pounds in the Junior and Cadet National Freestyle Tournament, earning All-America status.
“I got it down to 10 and it was still a little rough and then I finally got it down to five because I was only allowed five official visits,” he said, noting that, in addition to the final three, the others were Lehigh and Maryland.
He took visits only to Cornell, Penn and Virginia. Fausey, who will join former Line Mountain wrestler and two-time state champion Kellon Balum in Charlottesville, said the latter had no influence on his decision. He said he and Balum have talked about colleges since the latter was a high school sophomore, but when they talked during his visit to Virginia, they talked about things that friends would normally talk about.
“He never tried to influence me. I was always around his parents (Lon and Elaine Balum) and neither of them ever tried to influence me. They always said they wanted the decision to be up to me,” Fausey added.
Fausey said he had thought he would redshirt his first year, but the coaches have told him they would like him to wrestle off for a starting spot next season at 184 pounds.
“I thought maybe I would like a year to develop, but I think if I have a pretty good offseason and do the right things and start training and get a lot of tips from the coaches, that I will be ready to go. I guess that’s the plan right now,” he said.
Fausey said the early decision was typical of the way he handles his life.
“I’m the type of person that likes getting things taken care of and out of the way, and that’s what happened,” he said. “If I really wasn’t sure of a school or really wasn’t recruited hard and wanted to show myself my senior year, maybe I would have waited. But the opportunity came up and it happened,” said Fausey, son of Ray Fausey.
“It does take the pressure off for my senior year. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this during my senior year of wrestling, getting phone calls all the time. I had some nights when I’d been on the phone for a couple hours and it got to be 9:30 or 10 and I didn’t get my homework started. It was overwhelming at times, and really frustrating.”
Now he can concentrate on his goal of winning a state championship. “I’m focused on getting healthy, but I have the same mind set going into the season — getting into the practice room every day, improving and getting stronger and making myself a better wrestler, and going into the postseason looking to win states,” he said.
“And having fun,” he added. “That’s a big part of it, too.”
Fausey had surgery this week for a torn meniscus, which sidelined him from football, a sport in which he was an all-state linebacker. He will not play again during the regular season, but has not ruled out a return in the playoffs.
He returns to the doctor in two and a half weeks and, if he is cleared and told that he would not do further damage to the knee by playing football, then he would like to play for the Eagles if they make the District 4 Class A playoffs.
As for college, Fausey plans to major in pre-med and plans to either pursue a career as a physician or a physician’s assistant.
He becomes the second Fausey brother to wrestle in college. His older brother, Shawn, also a former state runner-up at Line Mountain, will be a sophomore at Drexel this season. He missed most of last season with a broken ankle sustained while wrestling in last year’s Penn State Open.
Jon said there is a slight chance that he and Shawn could meet on the mat sometime during their careers, but it would likely be in the NCAA Tournament, because Drexel and Virginia are not scheduled to meet in any duels or tournaments.