One-two punch – NU’s wrestling combo has wreaked havoc on plenty of foes |

One-two punch – NU’s wrestling combo has wreaked havoc on plenty of foes

For two Nevada Union wrestlers, the question lingering in their minds is not if they will qualify for the state wrestling tournament, but how successful they be while wrestling in that very tournament.

Senior Drew Maraglia and junior Luke Manuel are the lone two returning state qualifiers to NU’s wrestling squad and neither is willing to accept anything less than a serious dent into the state tournament field.

“It would be a huge setback for me not to go to state again this year,” Manuel said. “There is no doubt in my mind that I will return to state this year.”

In last year’s state meet, Manuel went 0-2, but insists he came out of the meet a stronger wrestler. As a sophomore, Manuel faced a weight class primarily filled with seniors and juniors, who brought with them more experience than he possessed.

While Manuel did gain from the state experience, he also gained 20 pounds since last season- which moved him from the 119-pound weight class to 135 pounds. And while he won’t be as familiar with opponents in his new class, he points out that they won’t know as much about him either. Changing weight classes is also something which he has become accustomed to, as he reports he has gained nearly 20 pounds each of the past few years.

With Manuel wrestling at 135, Nevada Union has two of its strongest wrestlers back-to-back in the Miner lineup, with Maraglia competing at 140.

At the state meet last season, Maraglia finished with a 3-2 record, finishing as one of the top 12 wrestlers in his weight class.

While the road back to the state meet looks just as promising for Maraglia, the senior wrestler has had to overcome adversity already this season.

In the team’s first meet at the beginning of December, the Zinkin Classic in Fresno, Maraglia was injured during a match in which he separated two of his ribs from cartilage. He had to take an entire month off from wrestling to heal the injury.

So what did he do with his spare time?

Oh, nothing much … except run the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, in Folsom, with his dad – and won his age group, no less.

At the Nevada Union Mother Lode Tournament, one of his first meets back on the mat since the injury, Maraglia was named the most outstanding lightweight wrestler of the meet.

Taking a month off was extremely difficult, he said, especially considering that he views his weight class as the most difficult in high school wrestling and knows that six wrestlers, who placed in the 140 weight class at the state meet last season, are back on the mat this year.

Maraglia knows what he’s up against, but hopes that in the end it is his work ethic and endurance that will allow him to beat other wrestlers.

This past summer he spent a week at Nevada Union’s wrestling camp, two more weeks at a camp in Oregon and another two weeks at a camp in Fargo, ND, working to refine his skills.

Maraglia prepared all summer will nothing in mind but hitting the mat as a stronger wrestler this year – stronger especially at the most important meet of the year.

“I love watching them both wrestle – they are two of my favorite wrestlers in the program,” NU assistant coach Paul Gross said. “They both have a lot of heart and put everything they have into each match.

“If they don’t know already, I believe they each have a great shot at going all the way.”

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