Lima Central Catholic’s Chase Caprella qualified for the state wrestling tournament all four years of high school so he has a lot of highlights to look back on.
But two of the very best involve his family.
The boys Scholar Athlete of the Year on this year’s The Lima News scholar athlete team said, “I’ve been wrestling since I was five years old. It’s kind of a thing in my family. My older brother (Schuyler) wrestles at Ohio Northern University and I tried to follow in his footsteps. My younger brother Gavin also wrestles at LCC.
“Reaching the state tournament with my older brother when I was a freshman and he was a senior, that was a really cool experience for me. And this past year, even though we didn’t get to wrestle at state because it was canceled, my younger brother and I both won at the Thunderbird Invitational in our home gym in front of the home crowd and that was a really cool experience as well,” he said.
Caprella had a 4.3 grade point average and ranked third academically in the 2020 senior class at LCC. He was vice-president of the student senate and has participated in 4-H and community service events at LCC.
Caprella wrestled for Allen East his first two years of high school before transferring to LCC. He will attend the Naval Academy after graduation and wants to wrestle there.
Caprella was 34-3 in the 132-pound weight class this year and had hopes of doing big things at the state wrestling tournament. But the tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s a big part of me that will always be thinking what would have happened if it played out a little bit different and I did get to wrestle at state. That runs through my head every day,” he said. “But the world doesn’t stop, so you just have to take what you have and move forward with it and learn from it.”
Some of what he learned about wrestling over the years came from what might be called wrestling home schooling. He and his brothers often worked out on the wrestling mat they have in a room in their family’s home.
“We’re always trying new things and working out with each other. It gets intense. Sometimes it gets a little bit uncontrolled and even more intense than a real match. There are no rules up there,” Caprella said.
Caprella had a 132-22 record in four years of high school wrestling. He won three Allen County championship, two Northwest Conference championships and was a sectional champion twice.
A lot of the components of that success were mental, he said. “Just grittiness, that’s what it comes down to. Being really locked in between the ears and being focused, always having your head in the right direction. I think that’s where I really stayed strong throughout my four years,” he said.
A family connection might have been a factor in his decision to go to the Naval Academy. His grandfather, Andy Caprella Sr., spent 22 years in the Navy, where he became a senior chief petty officer radio man.
“He’s got a lot of stories and he has been all over the world. I love sitting down and talking to him about it,” Caprella said.
“The Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy were pretty much in my sights, they’ve been in my sights for a long time. After a lot of thinking and decision making it just felt right to decide on the Naval Academy.
“I’m always up for a challenge. It takes a lot of hard work — militarily, academically and athletically — and I feel like I’m ready to take on a big challenge like that in my life,” he said.
The other scholar athletes on The Lima News Scholar Athlete team are: Brenton Brock (Bath), Ezra Deitering (Miller City), Luke Denecker (Bluffton), Caleb Dugan (Lima Senior), Luke Fackler (Kenton), Jon Frueh (Elida), Baylor Garmatter (Bluffton), Quentin Potempa (Lima Central Catholic), Clayton Recker (Ottawa-Glandorf), Evan Roebke (Kalida), Parker Schomaeker (Ottawa-Glandorf), Isaac Spar (Ada), Ethan Truex (Lima Central Catholic), Cole Williamson (Leipsic).
McKenna Bockrath (Kalida), Lauren Cisco (St. Marys), Nora Dellifield (Ada), Claire Eiden (Ottawa-Glandorf), Alyssa Ellerbrock (Columbus Grove), Kelsey Fischbach (Shawnee), Alexis Hoeffel (Continental), Hannah Holland (Kenton), Kristen Luersman (Fort Jennings), Ainsley Miller (Bath), Mary Kelly Mulcahy (Lima Central Catholic), Libby Schaadt (Bluffton), Brianna Schimmoeller (Ottawa-Glandorf), Paige Schneider (Wapakoneta), Kelsey Shaffer (Spencerville).
The Ohio State University-Lima will offer scholarship money, which can be used on the Lima campus, to the top 30 scholar athletes.