Against all odds

SANDUSKY How you practice is how you play. Delonne Baker has battled the odds -- and some fier
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



How you practice is how you play.  Delonne Baker has battled the odds -- and some fierce opponents -- to compete in the state high school wrestling tournament.

Baker, 17, is one of two Sandusky High wrestlers whoqualified for this year's state tournament in Columbus.

In the 285-pound weight class, Baker wrestles some of the biggest guys on the mat, but the high school junior is soft-spoken.

Sandusky high wrestling coach Conor Whelan has known Delonne Baker since Baker's eighth-grade year.

"Inside I think he's a really good kid," Whelan said. "He's had some troubles in the past ... but he is really trying to turn things around and do the right thing."

Baker's grandmother, Deborah Williams, said since Baker's father isn't in the picture, his coaches have definitely been part of her grandson's success.

Dr. Jack J. Lesyk, director of the Ohio Center for Sport Psychology in Beachwood, said coaches play an extremely important role in a student's athletic experience.

Lesyk said it's important for student athletes to keep perspective to really learn the life skills that sports can teach. The same skills players use to succeed in sports can translate directly to success later in life.

Baker said his family and his athletic coaches have been a source of support.

"They're always on me to do good," he said.

Baker said that after graduating from high school, it's his dream to play football for Ohio State.

Keeping him motivated are the words his coaches have instilled in him.

"If you work hard, it will all come back to you."

To learn more about sport psychology, visit