YORK - As Nicholas Meck (JR/Topeka, Kan) heads to the NAIA Wrestling National Championships this weekend York College Athletics sat down with him to get a preview of what it took to get where he is today.
YC Athletics: When did you first start wrestling?
Nick: Maybe at the age of three, probably in the 40 pound weight class in Ottawa, Kan
YC Athletics: Why did you choose wrestling as a sport?
Nick: Because of the work you have to put in; it's very difficult and I believe that not everybody can do it because it requires so much toughness and in that way - it prepares you for life.
YC Athletics: What drew you to York College?
Nick: My old high school coach, Jeff Albers (SR/Topeka, Kan), is a wrestler/assistant here. He came to me and told me that York College would be good for me if I wanted to be a champion. He knew that I needed structure and discipline in my life. Things on campus like chapel and curfew have helped me to make better decisions and become a better wrestler and student.
YC Atheltics: Who has been an influence on you other than Coach Diaz?
Nick: Coach Albers has been great for me, teammates and former wrestlers who are sticking around to assist like Jason Arreola. Also Coach Justin Carver (YC Track coach) has helped to motivate me.
YC Athletics: What are your York College goals?
Nick: Improve everyday, graduate with either a degree in Sports Management or General Studies; eventually I would like to coach.
YC Athletics: What's your mental focus going into this weekend?
Nick: Just to compete to the best of my ability, redeem myself from last year. (Last year at nationals Nick went 2-2 and fell short of All-American status).
YC Athletics: Ok Coach, your turn, what improvements have you seen in Nick this year?
Coach Diaz: Right now he is very determined. I have seen him make significant strides in his education. He has been diligent in seeking help from mentors and teachers and teammates. He has shown tenacity in wanting to achieve his goals this year. As a result his character has improved, he's making better decisions and the results are obvious with him being undefeated.
YC Athletics: What are your hopes for Nick this weekend?
Coach Diaz: For him to just be himself and wrestle to the best of his ability. I believe he has the capability to be national champion. I believe pound for pound he's one of the best in the nation. He's one of the best 174 pounders I've ever seen, strong and athletic with good technique. He's in a tough weight class for sure but he can compete really well. He's already beaten numerous ranked wrestlers this year including the #2 ranked wrestler in the nation. Nick himself is currently ranked #4. I believe with his God-given ability and the way he's grown in character that he has the ability to win it all. I visualize his hand being raised this weekend and I hope he does too.
Season Recap and Championship Preview
On the season Meck is a perfect 17-0 with two tournament championships. In his 17 matches he pinned five of his opponents and won another three matches via tech fall (match ends after 15 point differential).
He won the conference championship as well as the NAIA South National Qualifier. Meck, ranked fifth in the last poll at 174 pounds, beat the No. 2 wrestler in the nation at the NAIA qualifying event to earn the championship as well as being named outstanding wrestler of the meet.
Meck is looking to become the seventh Panther wrestler to become an All-American. In order to be named an All-American a wrestler must finish in the top eight of their weight class.
For the NAIA preview click here.
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