Four wrestlers advance to state meet, senior places third

The referee slams his hand down on the mat as he declares the winner sealing their ticket to the state meet. 

Four wrestlers qualified for state: seniors Nicholas Gorman, Maddie Trejo, and Karol Vargas, and freshman Nadiyah Elizondo. Nick placed 3rd at state with only one loss during the season with an overall record of 56-2 in the 132 lb. weight class.

Nick plans to attend Long Island University in New York to wrestle next year.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to hit the next level and wrestle at a D1 school,” Nick said. “My ultimate goal is to be an All-American at the NCA level.”

Maddie and the other team members have appreciated the knowledge and guidance Nick has provided to them through the years.

“I see him as a very independent leader,” Maddie said. “He’s always helping us learn new techniques and whenever we lose, he doesn’t let us make excuses; he tells us what we did wrong and tells us how to fix it in the next match.”

This year was Maddie’s first year to advance to the state meet, and although she did not place at state, she posted a 40-12 record on the season and helped build a legacy at Bryan High.

“Maddie’s really strong,” Nick said. “She’s had a long career and dealt with injuries, so to be able to battle back this year, to come back all the way, and wrestle at state is really cool.”

Because of wrestlers like Maddie, Karol, and Nadiyah, the sport has expanded exponentially among women athletes over the last decade.

“I’ve seen the inclusion of women’s wrestling,” Nick said. “When I was younger, it was definitely something that was looked down upon, but as I’ve gotten into high school, especially moving to Texas, I’ve seen the growth in it. I think it’s a really cool sport, and I think it will really help wrestling overall if women’s wrestling can grow.”

The lessons athletes have learned through the sport are things they believe will help them in life outside the competition mat.

“I enjoy the mental strength wrestling teaches me because I feel like nothing else would be able to teach me to push this hard,” Maddie said. “I think I’ve grown as an athlete because nothing will ever be this hard. So, I think I’m invincible.”

Wrestling coach Michael Zito has watched both Nick and Maddie grow and develop their skills over the last few years and said he is proud of what they have accomplished.

“They have grown as athletes by learning to take initiatives and control things that they have the ability to change,” Zito said. “One thing I’ll say to them is lead by example, not by force.”

Though coaches and trainers work with students to make sure they maintain their weight in a healthy and positive way, many of the athletes still struggle with it during the season. 

“The biggest thing for me when it comes to making weight is not overeating,” Nick said. “Keeping my water intake down and not blowing back up to a heavier weight is the most difficult thing to maintain, because it just makes the cut miserable.”

Maddie agrees that sacrifices have to be made during the season, but it is mostly about making good choices which will help her later in life.

“I love to eat everything, so not being able to eat Chick-fil-A every day during the season was horrible,” Maddie said. “Instead, I eat a lot of grilled chicken, fruit, and salads.”

After putting in a lot of work throughout the season, Nick appreciates what he has been able to take away from the program.

“I just enjoy the grind,” Nick said. “Getting to be with a bunch of other people all working towards the same goal, and everybody in there putting their head to the grindstone; it’s just a blast.”

Nick said he has learned lessons that will impact his life far into the future from the sport of wrestling and encourages others to get involved.

“I used to be more of a little wimpy kid, but now I have a mental toughness about me that’s comparable to none,” Nick said. “It’s all just from wrestling throughout my career, and I’m very grateful for it.”