Broad Run wrestling coach Ed Steele does not consider his practices easy. Pushups, wrestle-offs and jumping rope are part of the required regimen, all in a small, cramped, warm room near the school gym.
That work apparently is not enough for junior Harrison Shipp. He often goes home and runs two miles, then does drills in the basement for at least an hour each night. These workouts were so common that his family installed wrestling mats in the basement for him.
"His father says sometimes he's down there doing drills for two hours," Steele said. "The kid's not a slacker. He just drills and drills and drills, just to get something right."
Shipp usually does get things right during matches. He won the 130-pound class in the Sterling Lions Invitational last weekend with an 11-0 major decision over Dan Clark of Potomac Falls. He also finished second in the prestigious Big M tournament in Montgomery County on Dec. 7, losing the final to Peter North of Landon, 5-4.
Shipp was an All-Extra last year at 119 pounds, after winning the AA Dulles District title and finishing fourth in Region II. His record was 27-6.
Steele and Shipp are expecting even more this year. Shipp ran cross-country in the fall to get in shape for wrestling and attended two two-week sessions of a wrestling camp in Minnesota over the summer.
The typical camp day began with a 6:30 a.m. wakeup and 45 minutes of running, sometimes while carrying another wrestler, and then about 500 pushups before breakfast.
Throughout the day, Shipp endured two hours of technique work, two hours of "hard wrestling" and another 90 minutes of weight training and/or running before going to bed at 11 p.m.
"It was pretty much a hell camp," Shipp said. "But it extended my breaking point. It taught me I could go farther than I thought I could."
Senior Tim Schluderberg, the defending district heavyweight champion, said he understands why Shipp is such a difficult opponent.
"His technique is almost perfect," he said. "He works at it every night. Every time I see him, he's working hard."
All the extra work especially comes in handy on days when Steele has his team members wrestle against each other. He said no one on the team within 20 pounds of Shipp can train with him, and that is exactly where Shipp wants Steele to be.
"Harrison's the star of the wrestling room," Steele said. "If he doesn't wrestle a kid 20 pounds heavier, then he's not wrestling. There's nobody his size in our room who can stay with him.
"Sometimes, we have to get Schluderberg to sit on him for a little bit to calm him down. . . . But you can see why he got so much better this year from last year, and why he got so much better from his sophomore year to his freshman year.
"I've coached four state champions, and three of them had that attitude where they thought they were unbeatable. It wasn't so much what they said. It was their body language. Harrison has that."