Will to survive glows like ember inside Mtn. Ridge wrestler
Originally published: Jan 9, 2014 - 12:00 am
You don’t need to tell people, especially those in Arizona, how tough firefighters are.
Michael Suwyn wants to be one, just like his dad and his dad’s dad.
You also don’t need to tell them how tough wrestlers are.
Michael Suwyn is one, just like his dad, his dad’s dad, uncles and brother.
Simply put, toughness runs in the family.
Michael Suwyn is a senior at Glendale Mountain Ridge and won the Division I state championship at 145 pounds as a junior last year. His brother, Nick, was a state champion at the Ridge in 2010 and his father, also named Nick, grandfather Tom and uncles were state champs in Utah.
Now Michael is trying to work his way to a second straight title, this time at 152 pounds. His record, 29-0 entering the annual Peoria Invitational at Peoria High on Friday (Jan. 10) and Saturday (Jan. 11), is an indicator that another crown is a strong possibility.
He takes nothing for granted, however. He is well aware that opponents will be out to get him even more, knowing his championship pedigree.
“A lot of people you wouldn’t expect to be too much of a competition come at you harder because they have nothing to lose, compared to what you might have to lose,’’ Suwyn said. “So I have to be ready for them to come at me every time.’’
Mountain Ridge coach Corey Whitten said his team has a good group of seniors, including Suwyn, and they set the tone for the younger boys coming up through the program.
“The younger kids see what it takes, and in the case of Mike, that it works,’’ Whitten said.
When he wrestles in practice, Suwyn gives his competitors a true workout. And although it may not seem like it at the time, they will be better off by how hard he pushes them, Whitten said.
“He is more of a quiet leader,’’ Whitten said. “He leads more by example. He just goes out and does it.’’
Suwyn is more of a technician than a bull-type.
“I go into a match knowing what I want to do, not worrying so much about the other guy,’’ he said. “I try and perfect my moves if I can. I can make an adjustment if they are not working, but I just want to concentrate on my style and what I do best.’’
Suwyn’s father is an assistant coach and is intent on seeing his son succeed.
“He’s been coaching me, giving me advice for a long time,’’ Michael said. “During a match, there are a lot of people yelling, but I know his voice and I can pick it out.’’
He has a 3.8 grade-point average (out of 4) and enjoys history and social studies. He hopes to earn a college degree in environmental science and become a firefighter. He recently applied for a job up in Utah.
“My grandpa and my dad have done it. It put them in a good place and it would put me in a good place. It is a part of us,’’ he said.
When he won the championship last season, Suwyn recalled “feeling that it’s over, that all the work you put in had paid off. But I knew I eventually was going to have to do it again. Wrestling is one of the toughest sports anywhere, but it is enjoyable if you continue to work at it.’’
The embers continue to glow inside Suwyn. He remembers where he came from and where he wants to go.
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