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SSU signs Wentz

PROCTORVILLE — There’s no place like home.

Is it The Wizard of Oz? No, more like the wizard of Terrible Terrains.

Fairland senior Chuckie Wentz is a wizard among cross country runners and he’ll take his running magic to Portsmouth next fall after signing a letter-of-intent to run for the Shawnee State Bears.

Wentz picked SSU over Marshall, Morehead State (Ky.), Akron, Robert Morris and Campbell, N.C.

“It is close to home and I know a lot of guys on the team. I’ve run with them since the seventh grade,” Wentz said.

Wentz, who also wrestles and runs track, is looking forward to college and being able to focus on one area.

“It’ll be tough, but I’m equal to the challenge. I’ll do a lot more running than high school. I’ll be able to concentrate more on running and whatever coach Putnam wants,” Wentz said.

Shawnee State head coach Eric Putnam said the Bears lose four seniors this year. He said the team shouldn’t miss a beat with the incoming class of recruits that include Wentz.

“We’ve got a number of good runners. It’s a wonderful class. All of them are within a couple of minutes of each other,” Putnam said.

“Chuck is as good as any of the ones I’m bringing in. I think we’ll be competitive next year.”

Wentz ran in the state cross country meet each of the least two seasons which caught Putnam’s attention. He has been the Ohio Valley Conference individual meet champion each of the last two seasons..

Putnam first discovered Wentz after running in a 5K race on the school’s campus a year ago.

“He ran so well that he beat a number of guys on my college team. I sent him a letter and started to recruit him,” Putnam said.

Wentz said he plans to major in education or sports management.

“I’d like to coach at the high school or college level,” he said.

Chuckie is the son of Chuck and Terry Wentz of Proctorville.