A day in the life of a high school wrestler


By Amanda Nickell, Staff Writer

When Fairmont senior Gavin Fogel wakes up in the morning, a five-course meal awaits him in his dreams, but in reality … he is faced with the misfortune of having a restricted diet.

“The dream breakfast would definitely start off with a cinnamon scone. After that I would have some waffles with butter, syrup and powdered sugar with a side of sausage as well as some orange juice. The second course would be a large bowl of captain crunch. The third course would be french toast with bacon and some chocolate milk. The fourth course would be eggs and 10-grain toast. Lastly, I would eat a cinnamon roll before getting on with my day, “ Fogel said.

Instead, Fogel makes himself two eggs over easy with a piece of toast and some sausage while he finishes any last minute homework before heading

“Usually for lunch I’ll have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I’ll also have an apple, carrots with hummus and some cheese. I also drink a lot of water throughout the day,” Fogel said.

Dinner varies a lot and depends on what his mom makes for the day. Fogel will usually have some form of protein and carbs like chicken wraps, chicken Alfredo or other similar dishes.

“Usually my diet is less strict when I’m out with friends, but this is usually reserved to one meal a week and is on the weekend after a competition. I really like Chipotle and going out with my family,” Fogel said.

Welcome to the life of a high school wrestler trying to manage his weight while also balancing athletics with academics. This doesn’t appear to be much of an issue for Fogel who is currently taking 6 AP/IB classes and is involved in class council.

“School and sleep are among the top of my priorities. I try to complete my assignments in advance so I never have to stay up late, that way I can always feel good throughout the day. Since my diet has restrictions, it’s important that I get enough water and sleep to feel good. Right now not much else is a priority besides wrestling itself,” Fogel said.

Fogel wrestled for one year in the fourth grade, but didn’t win any matches and hated it. He started wrestling again in the eighth grade winter season and has continued to wrestle year-round ever since.

“I was cut from the basketball team because I was terrible at the sport. I was also tiny, which didn’t contribute to my basketball skills. My brother was on the varsity team and convinced me to give wrestling another try. After my 8th grade season my brother convinced me to stick with it. From then I wrestled year round and the rest is history,” said Fogel.

Wrestling practices start with a warm up. This includes some jogging, tumbling, stretching and wrestling. After this he will move into drills where he will practice and learn different positions along with some conditioning and strength training.

“Towards the end of practice, there are usually ‘live goes’ which are like mock matches,” Fogel said.

According to Fogel, being mentally tough is the most important thing you need for wrestling. All of the technical skills can be learned. Physically, anyone can get in shape to wrestle, but in order to do either of these things, it takes a lot of discipline in all other aspects of life.

“I think being mentally tough extends outside of the mat because in order to succeed at practice you have to also manage school, your diet, and sleep extremely meticulously,” Fogel said.

Fogel said you shouldn’t get too caught up in what hurts, instead you should focus on learning and having fun.

“If you have fun with it, it’s a lot easier to get good at the sport rather than showing up like you don’t want to be there every day,” Fogel said.

It’s not a secret that practices can get intense.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a significant stretch of time without blood and injuries as a result of wrestling practice. It can be pretty hard to stay positive and focused on your goals for the season,” Fogel said.

To stay motivated, Fogel tries to focus on his goals and forget about any setbacks that may have occurred previously.

“Focusing on your goals helps you stay a lot more positive throughout the season,” Fogel said.

Fogel tries to make time to balance friends, schoolwork and other extracurricular activities by cutting out wasted time.

“When I do my schoolwork I try to complete it as quickly and early as possible. During wrestling season my extracurriculars are put back a bit and I try to finish requirements and such as quickly as possible,” Fogel said.

Fogel knows that if he manages school well, he’ll usually have a some time left over to catch up with friends or to kick back and relax.

While many high school athletes argue their sport is the most demanding or the most draining, Fogel contends there is no competition, no argument that wrestling holds that title.

“I don’t ‘consider’ wrestling to be one of the most demanding sports offered in high school; the fact of the matter is that wrestling is by far the most demanding high school sport offered. No other sport is nearly as physically or or mentally demanding. There is a reason other sports call their participants ‘players’, and their events ‘games’. Wrestling isn’t a game you can play; it is a battle requiring intelligence, strategy, and physicality,” Fogel said.