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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Competing against the world’s best

Wrestling coach recently comes back with silver medal
James Ferguson
Girls wrestling assistant coach James Ferguson came back from Greece competing in the Veterans World Championships back in October. In his division, he placed second in the greco-roman style of wrestling. He trained his mind and body for months leading up to the competition, and it paid off. “It’s an amazing feeling being invited,” James Fergsuon said. “I’m 44, I was invited to this competition in high school as a junior as well. Looking back, it’s nostalgic, it feels like a dream.”

On Oct. 17-22, the Veterans World Championships took place in Greece. Wrestlers from all over the world came to compete for the title of champion. 

While the United States didn’t come back with a gold medal, Girls Wrestling Assistant Coach James Ferguson came back with a silver medal. While he wasn’t satisfied with a second place finish, he still represented the United States well. Ferguson has been wrestling since the age of 6, but his career took off during his time at UNL from 1998-2001. After graduating, he stopped competing, but recently came back when his father also returned to wrestling. Fergsuon had agreed to just be his father’s coach, but was eventually roped back into competition. In his short time coming back to wrestling, he was given a direct invitation to Greece for this year’s competition.

“The overall experience was wonderful, it gave me a pause for reflection,” Fergsuon said. “I felt gratitude for having the opportunity to compete, encompassing facilities, having resources, having a body that still works, and being grateful to represent the US. When I met people, everybody there represented their country, and they’re all very friendly and kind, but on the mats they’re brutes. Though, there was still a sense of comradery.”

Ferguson and his father aren’t the only ones in the family to be wrestlers. His daughter, son, brothers and nephews all wrestle, but not to the level of him or his father. For his kids, Fergsuon is a great inspiration to them. He shows his kids that even at his age, he can still achieve greatness.

“My dad has inspired me in countless ways,” sophomore Kaitlyn Ferguson said. “Not only through wrestling, but by being one of my best friends. My dad has inspired me to stay disciplined, focus on my goals, believe in myself, work hard, and serve others. On and off the mat, he’s improving himself in some way or another, and that to me is very inspirational. He’s always encouraging me to never give up on my goals. As a World Silver Medalist, at 44, it’s clear that he’s an amazing example of that. I grew up in a wrestling family, but ultimately I was the one who decided wrestling was something I wanted to do.”

For James Fergsuon, it wasn’t easy adjusting back into a diet that would help him lose weight and adjusting to his older body. He wasn’t only competing against other wrestlers when the time came for competition, but even more so his own body to be prepared for the big day.

“I hired a nutritionist, and I learned how to eat every three hours,” James Ferguson said. “I hydrated better, drank 10 bottles of water a day. I went from 185, to wrestling at 154. I ate 4 times a day while losing weight. It’s not just about rejecting food from your body, that’s unhealthy. I wrestled the defending champion and beat him 12-1 with a broken hand. Wrestling is a game of toughness and challenging yourself to get better. Even if you win or lose, there’s room to improve. My flexibility came back for Greece, I did a backflip when I couldn’t for 20 years.”

James Ferguson does all this training while still helping with coaching for the girl’s wrestling team. He hopes one of the athletes he trains can become the first state champion. He also hopes to inspire not just his athletes, but everyone that wrestling is an amazing opportunity to test yourself.

“This has been a huge way to help promote girls wrestling,” girls wrestling head coach Lynn Sorich said. “Last year, Fergsuon went to LA for a senior division and got 1st in folk style, which is what we do here. After that, he went and did freestyle greco and got 1st in that as well.”

James Ferguson’s career is far from over, as the cutoff for the veterans division is 70 and he plans on continuing in his wrestling career until his body tells him to stop. Next year’s competition will be in Croatia, while it hasn’t been decided on if he’ll be invited or not, it’s possible that James Fergsuon will once again represent the United States and potentially take the gold in 2024.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Hargens
Jacob Hargens, Staff Reporter
Jacob is a senior at Millard West and is in his third year on the CATalyst staff. One of his favorite things to write involves stories about different students around the school. He also likes writing about recent releases in entertainment as well as big topics around the world. Outside of school, he likes playing games & competing with friends.

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