MASSENA - Nolan Terrance first stepped onto the wrestling mat in eighth grade because he was bored in the winter and needed something to do.
Even when he entered his sophomore year of high school, Mr. Terrance was possibly more focused on the gridiron than his wrestling season. Now, the soon to be junior is in Fargo, N.D., along with 285 of the top young wrestlers in the country to compete in the ASICS/Vaughan Junior & Cadet National Championships.
Mr. Terrance lives with his mother, Alexandra David, and his step-father, Jason David in Snye, Que. Ms. David owns her own home decoration business named Better Your Home Design and HomeStaging, while Mr. David works at Mohawk Council Akwesasne.
The teenager will be competing for the New York state wrestling team as a heavyweight in the 285 pound weight class. This cross country trek will be hardly the first big time competition for the wrestler.
I just hope I do good; I hope I dont embarrass myself or something. I won the New York State Wrestling Championships the last two years. This year they took place in Albany in Pine Union Square, Mr. Terrance explained modestly.
He has traveled to Peru, near Plattsburgh, several times since March, practicing and entering tournaments. Those tournaments were qualifiers for the wrestlers after their victories, and Mr. Terrance kept on winning. In May, he placed second, qualifying him for nationals.
At state tournament this year, he drew the number one seed. As soon as that match was over, the head coach of the New York Freestyle club (a prestigious group) found me and said, Who is that kid? For the New York team at Nationals they only take two kids from the state in each weight class. (Nolan) took second in the tournament. Through practicing and attending a couple more tournaments, Nolan made Nationals. Nolan has beat the number one kid in two tournaments and was chosen for Nationals, Massena Central wrestling assistant coach Frank Perry said.
Mr. Terrance also plays offensive lineman for the schools football team in the fall, and has been in that sport since he was six years old. In the spring, he plays in a league called the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL.) He hopes to continue with either football or wrestling after high school, whichever gives him a better opportunity for education.
When winter season comes around for Mr. Terrance, he typically checks in at 305 pounds. However, through incredible hard work and dedication, he has been able to get down to 285 pounds, and help his already strong agility and surprising quickness. During high school practices, he usually works with Mr. Perry, who despite not matching up to Mr. Terrances stature, still has the wrestling experience to work well with him.
Coach (Scott) Perrine and I coach to the ability of what the wrestler has got. We have to coach each kid individually. (Nolan) works extremely hard at what he does. He was kind of focused more on football, but then he got bit by the wrestling bug. For a kid like Nolan, hes got a better chance of getting noticed by a big time school for wrestling than football. Hes really understanding that now. Hes definitely one of the leaders of this team. Even though Scott Perrines the head coach, I do a lot of the offseason tournaments and work with freestyle, Mr. Perry said.
Mr. Terrance has had a handful of terrific experiences beefing up his already impressive wrestling resume. In fact, two weeks after the conclusion of nationals, he will be going to Sherbrooke, Quebec to compete with the Quebec National team in the Canada Games. It has been some non-competitive wrestling though that he has found particularly valuable.
I wrestled with Phil and Tom Barrierro. They wrestled at a Division one school. One of their cousins, I used to hang out with him. He told them about me and told me about them. They just graduated from American University. I realized how much different college wrestling is from high school wrestling, Mr. Terrance said.
Mr. Terrance is scheduled to arrive in Fargo in the upcoming days, and coupled with the week long practice sessions in New York City this week, the entire journey costs around $3,000. This includes all of the transportation, food, etc. The state of New York provides the wrestlers with uniforms and warm-ups, but fundraising and numerous donations were certainly needed to make the trip possible.
The high school wrestling program, we give money to kids going to camps or stuff like that. We give $150 to any kid going to better himself in the sport. I personally gave him a couple hundred bucks, a lot of old wrestlers from Massena, old wrestling coaches were giving him money and support, Mr. Perry said.
Wrestling, unlike football and many other sports, depends on individual work ethic, and success or failure largely is based on what the athlete puts into their practices and competitions.
The practices, the cutting weight, thats really hard. You get out of it what you put into it. Thats something unique in wrestling. You can tell the kids who are serious in practice, thats Nolan, Mr. Perry said.
Whats making him successful is, being a 285 pound wrestler, hes got extreme agility for his size. Hes not a big, intimidating size. Its a different world wrestling as a middleweight than a heavyweight. The average high school wrestler is 165 pounds. The middleweight is the toughest class to fit into. Hes not the best wrestler, but hes the best at his weight. The reason hes finding so much success in wrestling now is because of his agility and working in the middleweight class. He has a great idea of where his body is in space and where his opponents body is in space. He knows when his opponent is off-balance. When you throw a kid down from his back, its very important. Nolan is a heavyweight but he moves like a 160 pounder, like a middleweight wrestler.
Back when Mr. Terrance was in eighth grade and beginning his still young wrestling journey, Mr. Perry and Mr. Perrine could see how the young man moved on the mat. They figured that a heavyweight with that movement and agility could be great. So far, it seems they have been right.
On top of the athleticism, everything with going to Nationals, hes such a good kid; well-liked. Hes just a good ambassador, a great worker for our sport. He has represented Massena wrestling well. Im glad hes having so much success because hes not just great on the mat, hes a great ambassador and very well respected, Mr. Perry said. If he continues on the path hes on, theres no chance he doesnt wrestle division one. If he continues on this path, he could be Massenas first state champion.