BIDWELL, Ohio — Like always, the best is yet to come.
River Valley senior Eric Weber will be continuing his track and field career after agreeing to join the University of Rio Grande program during a signing ceremony held Wednesday, May 1, inside the lobby area at RVHS.
Weber has had a productive athletic career during his tenure with the Raiders, rather it be as a record-holding thrower in the spring or as a upper-level wrestler in the winter.
Weber was a four-year starter with the wrestling program and managed to qualify to districts in each of his four seasons as a grappler. Weber was a TVC champion and an individual state qualifier in Division III during his senior campaign … a season that also included a trip to the D-3 team dual tournament.
Weber, however, believes that his best days are ahead of him as a thrower, primarily in the discus and hammer events.
Weber currently holds the discus record at River Valley and is a two-time regional qualifier in the event, and also just secured his first TVC Ohio title in the event on Thursday.
Weber is also a two-time national placer in the discus and one-time national placer in the hammer during his summer performances in the USTAF.
In knowing that he has four more years to only get better in his best events, Weber was thrilled at what the future can be for him as he starts focusing on his time as a member of the RedStorm.
“It’s a pretty cool moment. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, to compete at a collegiate level. I had some choices to make between wrestling and throwing, but I’d much rather throw,” Weber said. “Rio Grande is closer to home and it’s a quality smaller school, plus I’m very familiar with the coaches. It’s just a good fit for me, both athletically and academically.”
Current RVHS throwing coach Chuck Wood had nothing but praise for his star pupil, although Wood notes that Weber is anything but a student at this point in his career.
Yet, for all of his accolades, Wood also mentions that Weber is still one of the most coachable athletes that he has had the pleasure of working with.
“Eric has progressively gotten better in each of his four years with the program. He’s been to regionals a few times, he holds the school record in the discus and he still takes to coaching when you try to improve his performance,” Chuck Wood said. “We have a lot of younger throwers on the team this year, but he’s been a great mentor to that group because he’s willing to pass along knowledge that makes the group better. That’s the type of competitor that Rio Grande is getting, someone who thinks of more than himself.”
Weber will be transitioning from one Wood to another, with Burt Wood waiting to receive Weber upon his graduation from River Valley.
As a former state champion at Gallia Academy, the current Rio Grande throwing coach was nothing more than giddy about adding someone with Eric’s talents — both athletically and academically.
“We’re very excited to add Eric to the program. He’s been around the other throwers on the team and he gets along with them really well. He’s just going to be another member of the family and another piece of the puzzle for us over the next four years of trying to win championships,” Burt Wood said. “The best thing about him is that he’s not going to be a distraction. He’ll come in ready to work and learn, and eventually become one of the leaders of our program. We know the quality is there, now we just have to bring it out of him.”
Weber admits that it’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but he also acknowledges that a lot of people have played vital roles in helping him reach this dream.
Weber just feels blessed to have this opportunity … and he knows that there are a lot of people to thank for this occasion.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some good coaches here at River Valley, people who have always worked to get the best out of me. I’ve progressed a long way during my four years here, but I do feel prepared to compete at the next level,” Weber said. “My coaches, my teammates, my friends, and especially my family, have always encouraged me to be better, so I owe a lot of this moment to them. I’m just really excited to see what the next four years holds for me at Rio Grande.”
Weber currently carries a 3.5 grade-point average and plans on majoring in Computer Science.
Eric is the son of Michael and Jessica Weber of Gallipolis.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.