Battles on the mat define toughness

of the HeraldDecember 18, 2013 

Six minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s an eternity for grapplers when they step onto the wrestling mat.

I covered my first match of the high school wrestling season last week when Rogers met Puyallup in a rivalry South Puget Sound League matchup. Rogers came out on top with a six-point victory. While I throughly enjoy covering basketball games, there is nothing more exciting than a wrestling match during the winter months, especially when it’s between rival schools.

Throughout the years, I’ve written about my affinity for wrestling. It’s one of the only athletic endeavors out there where it’s strictly a one-on-one battle. I love the fact there is no escape route and nowhere to place blame on others. If someone wins it’s because of what they did, and if they lose it’s because of what they didn’t do. There is nobody else to point the finger at. Wrestling teaches discipline, commitment and perseverance.

One example during the Rogers-Puyallup match took place in the 285-pound contest between Puyallup’s Trent Nivala and Rogers’ Noah Howell. Nivala, who advanced to the Mat Classic state tournament last year, put Howell on his back in both the first and second rounds. Both times, Howell refused to be pinned. Even though Howell eventually lost the match, 11-1, he didn’t succumb to the imposing Nivala and went the distance.

Another example of guts and stamina came from Rogers’ Jovanis Rodriguez in his matchup against Ryan Espinoza in the 182-pound division. Rodriguez, who weighed in at about 170 pounds, gave up 12 pounds to Espinoza but still registered a 20-9 victory. Rodriguez was visibly fatigued but held on for the win. Those matches are great to watch, and it’s why I love to watch wrestling. The athletes push themselves to the brink to find out what they are made of.

The lessons they learn on the mat not only benefit them during the season, they last for the rest of their lives.

Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.

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