The warmup attire of high school wrestlers from the early 2010s was on the minimal side. Just a T-shirt and singlet, no shorts.
Apparently David Reck never got the memo.
“Dave would have his shorts on, turned half to the side,” recalled Scott Reilly, his practice partner at Colonial Forge. “He was there to win matches. He was in the zone. He didn’t care about looking good or if his shoelaces were untied.”
Function over fashion defined Reck’s career with the Eagles. He didn’t need a bottomless repertoire of takedowns or a detailed scouting report on opponents. A Fireman’s Carry and 10 seconds were usually more than enough.
“He was the type of guy who never cared who he was wrestling against,” said Bill Swink, who coached Reck with the Eagles. “He wouldn’t even know who was going to show up on the mat.”
The Free Lance—Star’s wrestler of the decade compiled a four-year record of 168-24 at Colonial Forge. A key contributor to two team state championships, Reck was the Eagles’ lone state champion in 2012, when they returned to the sport’s pinnacle after a two-year drought. He twice won the prestigious Escape the Rock tournament and suffered his lone setback as a senior in the final at Beast of the East.
A Colonial Forge legacy—his older brother Matt won a state title in 2007—Reck often accompanied his sibling to practices and workouts. With no same-aged peers in the room, he made a habit of grappling with (much) older opponents.
“I got a really good taste of what wrestling would be like in high school,” Reck said. “I had to use a lot of different moves on those kids and I had to beat them with technique. I had to learn to beat them with technique. It taught me that I couldn’t just outmuscle kids.”
He could, though, at least at the high school level. As a junior, Reck came within a point of a state crown despite a torn labrum in his right shoulder suffered during football season (It should surprise no one that Reck moonlighted as a linebacker).
He once broke a couple of Reilly’s ribs practicing a move at half-speed.
“I was a very strong wrestler,” Reck said. “I wanted to be in your face the entire time. And I had a few moves that worked really well. And once kids got tired, those moves worked really, really well.”
After graduating from Colonial Forge, Reck enrolled in prep school with the intention of attending the Air Force Academy. Then, sensing his burgeoning potential as a college wrestler, he changed course and joined an on-the-rise program at Virginia Tech.
His 38 career victories with the Hokies would include a win against Penn State’s Anthony Cassar, an eventual NCAA champion.
Twice, Reck overcame back injuries to remain in the Hokies’ lineup. The third time, near the start of his redshirt sophomore season, he knew his career was over.
Relinquishing wrestling—and doing so voluntarily—hurt. The pain didn’t start to abate until he began working with the team at Spotsylvania High. For the past season and a half, he’s served as Knights head wrestling coach.
And he’s reunited with Swink, the school’s AD who never strays too far from a wrestling room.
“It always felt like there was some void to be filled,” Reck said. “And I believe coaching and helping kids is helping me get past that. In a sense, those kids are really helping me out, not just me helping them. They’re giving a lot back to me as well.”