By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Hunter Nixon savors the challenge of being in what Enid coach Jory Dick calls “one of the toughest weights in the state” (160 pounds) at the regional wrestling tournament which begins Friday at Bixby.
“That motivates me more to do better,’’ Nixon said.
If Nixon fails to place in the top four, his six-year wrestling career is over. The Plainsmen senior will attend Oklahoma State University this fall.
That gives him a sense of urgency.
“I’m going to go out there and leave nothing behind,’’ he said. “It’s on my mind constantly. I definitely want to go to state this year.’’
Nixon is accustomed to overcoming odds.
He has epilepsy, which he controls with medicine.
“There was a lot of stress dealing with it until I figured out what was going wrong,’’ Nixon said. “The medicine controls it now. Once they put me on it, it was pretty easy.’’
Dick said Nixon had trouble dealing with defeat as a younger wrestler. Dick, who also served as Nixon’s junior high coach, said he spent a year with Nixon about controlling his emotions.
“I realized when you lose, I got to keep my composure in front of others,’’ Nixon said. “It’s about character.’’
“I’m extremely proud of him,’’ Dick said. “He’s grown as a person. Over the years, it’s great to see him overcome some obstacles.’’
Nixon and 220-pounder Jake Scott are the lone two seniors who have struck with the sport for six years. That alone is an accomplishment.
“Only a select few can do it,’’ Nixon said. “I feel like I was able to overcome some things. Some of the others weren’t man enough to stick it out. I just kept going, trying to be more successful in the sport.’’
He was introduced to wrestling by former Enid assistant Cody Roberts, who was his seventh-grade football coach.
“I’ve loved doing it ever since,’’ Nixon said.
Nixon can love it a little more as a senior after moving up from 145 to 160. He doesn’t have to struggle cutting weight.
“It’s been a big change to be able to eat a lot,’’ Nixon said. “I’m more energized and more hydrated. That’s huge because (worrying about weight) puts tons of stress on you, and your body.’’
Nixon has had the advantage of having Dick as his coach for his entire career.
“It’s a huge advantage for me,’’ he said. “He knows what I’m good at and he can coach me through that.’’
Dick said the workouts the past two weeks are with the intent of getting the individual as prepared as possible for regionals.
“Hunter just needs to pull the trigger,’’ Dick said. “He is one of the most athletic guys on the team. He can go with anybody. He’s strong and fast and believes in himself. He has to let it all hang out.’’
That’s exactly Nixon’s strategy for regionals.
“I wouldn’t say I have a particular style,’’ he said. “I go out there and whatever I feel, I just hit. I’m just going to go out there and do my own thing.’’
Nixon wants to leave a legacy. If he can make state, his name will appear on the wall with other EHS state qualifiers.
“That would be an awesome accomplishment, seeing my name on the wall,’’ he said. “Somehow, if I could place at state ... that would be really awesome.’’
Dick said Nixon is athletic enough to wrestle somewhere in college if he wanted to do. Giving up wrestling will be difficult on him as he goes to OSU.
“It’s going to be a huge change, not thinking about the wrestling season and knowing I’m not going to get a workout every day,’’ he said. “It’s going to be different not seeing coach Dick every day.’’
Nixon is interested in becoming a veterinarian. He became interested in animals through a cousin who deals with livestock.
“I’ve been interested in that since I was little,’’ Nixon said.
Nixon’s life currently revolves around his studies and wrestling.
“It’s pretty much between those two right now,’’ he said. “I like to hang out with my friends and go out. The practices have been more intense and harder, but they don’t last as long and you can get plenty of rest.’’
Three have good
shot to qualify
The Plainsmen enter regionals with three wrestlers ranked by Oklahoma Wrestling website — Billy Grothe, 126, seventh; Zack Overbeck, 10th, 195; and Scott, fourth, 220.
Scott is trying to qualify for the second time. All three, Dick said, should have a good chance to make the state field.
Keegan Clayton, at 152, “is in a real tough weight class but is in the mix,’’ Dick said.
Grothe leads Enid in wins with 21, followed by Clayton with 19 and Scott and Overbeck with 16. Overbeck leads in pins with 14, followed by Scott with 10 and 170-pounder Hank Schulz with six. Clayton leads in takedowns with 34, followed by Scott with 27 and Grothe with 26.
The rest of the EHS lineup will consist of Joe D’Auteuil at 106, Troy Gray at 113, Gabe Farias at 120, John Glasgow at 132, Clay Jacks at 138, Anthony Gonzales at 145, Anthony Reyes at 182 and Mason Dillard at heavyweight.
The rest of the field will be host Bixby Bartlesville, Tulsa Washington, Broken Arrow, Choctaw, Edmond Memorial, Jenks, Tulsa Hale, Owasso, Ponca City, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Stillwater and Union.