Gaddis feels no pressure to follow his brother's lead

A legacy of his own

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Instead of trying to fill footsteps, Skyview senior Vance Gaddis has made some impressive footprints of his own.

Gaddis is the brother of Sam Carranza, who won two individual state titles at Skyview before graduating in 1998. Carranza also has the single-season and career takedown records at Skyview, and recorded an undefeated season his junior year.

So when Gaddis entered the Skyview wrestling room as a freshman the year after Carranza graduated, there was bound to be pressure to be like his brother, right?

"He left some big footsteps to walk in," Gaddis said of his brother. "He was always a great brother to me, though. There was never any pressure to be like him."

That's probably a good thing, because if Gaddis were to have put himself in the mold of Carranza, it would have been like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

"I don't think (Gaddis) ever felt pressure to be like his brother because they are so different," said Skyview coach Neldon Gardner, who coached both Gaddis and Carranza for four years.

"They're in such different weight classes, with Sam being at 119 or 125 and Vance being at the heavier weights. Sam's also quite a few years older than Vance. They also don't have the same last name, so many people probably don't make the connection that they're brothers."

George Gaddis, Vance's father, said the differences don't stop there.

"What stands out is Samuel was a very aggressive wrestler, while Vance is a methodical wrestler," George said. "Vance is a very patient wrestler, sometimes almost to a fault."

Dave Carey, a teacher at Skyview and an assistant wrestling coach who knows both Carranza and Gaddis, said the two also have very different personalities.

"Sam talked a lot about himself -- he was his own best promoter," Carey said. "Vance is the opposite. He's the last person that would call attention to himself.

"I think that makes Vance appealing. Humility is a good thing."

If Gaddis wanted to get into the game of self-promotion, he would have plenty of material. He broke Skyview's career record for pins in his junior year -- a year in which he also broke Skyview's single-season record for pins and placed third in the state tournament.

"(My brother) wrestles differently than I do," Gaddis said. "He's more speedy and he did more takedowns. I love the throws -- the head and arm."

Although Gaddis and Carranza turned out to be different wrestlers, Gaddis did say that it was his brother who originally got him interested in the sport.

Gaddis said he didn't win a match in his first year of freestyle wrestling in sixth grade, but he was good enough as a freshman in high school to miss qualifying for state when he lost a match by one point.

As a sophomore, Gaddis made it to state, setting up his third-place finish his junior year. This year, Gaddis has dropped down a weight class to 171, and was 9-3 heading into the ACS Invitational this weekend.

"I haven't wrestled as hard as I can this year, and I realized that when I lost my matches," Gaddis said. "Coach has been working with me on turning it up in the mat room."

Carey said Gaddis is not a physically gifted wrestler and that he must work hard for everything he gets. The same thing applies to Gaddis in the classroom, where he earns A's and B's.

"He's very serious in class and always gets his work in on time," Carey said. "He's one of those people who has to study. To some, it comes real easy. But he's a worker.

"He's also a good person. That sometimes sounds trivial, but it's a very important thing."

Dee Gaddis, Vance's mother, said her son's good nature comes out when he's spending time with the six children of his sister, Dinelle Penrod.

"(The children) really love their uncles," Dee said. "They wrestle all of the time with them."

Although Gaddis is still several months from graduating from high school, he already has a head start on his future. Gaddis went to basic training this summer and is in the Army Reserve.

Gaddis, who started at center his sophomore and junior years on Skyview's varsity football team, had to miss his senior year of football due to basic training.

"We were proud of him when he made a decision to go and start with his future," Dee said. "He knew it probably meant he would miss football.

"It was a tough decision, and he made it on his own."

Next year, Gaddis would like to attend Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, Pa. Eventually, Gaddis wants to have a career in finance and investment banking.

Not surprisingly, those career footsteps are totally different from Carranza's.

"Samuel's at the complete opposite side of the spectrum," Dee said. "He's majoring in child psychology."

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