• Athletics
Big Red Profile: Nicholas Clark ‘20

Ashley Duraiswamy ‘20

Ashley Duraiswamy: How did you start wrestling?

Nicholas Clark: I started wrestling in fifth grade. We were required to do a sport every term, and we had three terms. I just finished my soccer requirement, so in the winter, the options were wrestling or basketball or squash. I knew I could not hold a racket for the life of me, and I can’t shoot a ball, so I went with wrestling. After that year, I just got hooked on it. I did it up until the end of my middle school and then started doing it here at high school.

AD: What do you enjoy most about wrestling?

NC: The very physical aspect of it. I just like grappling in general, and to do that as a sport is really fun for me.

AD: When you’re wrestling, does technique matter more than physical strength?

NC: Totally. Yes. It’s funny, though, because I wrestle 195, and especially in high school, you find people there who are more football players or people that are put in to fill that weight class. My weight class shows me how important technique is because there’s a big difference between someone strong and someone who’s technically strong. And it’s very easy to win a match with technique versus strength just because it allows you to continue without getting tired. So technique is definitely more important than strength in the regard that technically overcoming someone is a lot more efficient that brute strength, and this shows itself especially when you are paired up against someone your weight.

AD: Are there any misconceptions that people have about wrestling?

NC: People think it’s a weird sport because you’re wrestling someone in a very tight outfit, and also it comes from the fact that it’s not really watched and understood by all the spectators. It’s a shame, though, because wrestling is the type of sport where, unless you’re initially interested, you can get turned off by the very physical aspect of it without really knowing what’s going on. With some basic idea of what people are doing, it makes it a lot more interesting. I guess that’s just a misconception that makes it not that much of a spectator sport and not really appreciated in the sports world compared to basketball or football or really any other sport in school.

AD: How do you and Coach [John] Clore work together to help the other wrestlers improve their technique?

NC: The way we usually do technique is he will show a move, and after I practice the move a bit with my partner, we split up. [I then] help our coach go over the move with everyone else in the room. That one-on-one attention is especially necessary when you’re doing a full-body technique move, where every little movement counts. I just go and basically help him just help other people individually.

AD: So is that what a typical practice looks like?

NC: Yeah, for the technique portion. For the athletic portion, where we focus on conditioning, we normally do intense exercises, general cardio.

AD: Do you have any personal goals for the season?

NC: This is the last year I’ll be able to wrestle at an interscholastic level because in college I’m planning to go into crew. I feel that a great goal for me – and something that I’ve been working towards - was becoming an All-American at the end of the year. Every year, we go to the National Prep for wrestling, and it’s a great, great tournament. A goal I feel like is achievable for me is to gain top eight eight,[for] which you’re recognized as All-American for that weight class.

AD: Do you also have any goals for your team?

NC: I feel that this year we’re a pretty strong team. The biggest match that we have this year is against Hill, our rival school, and last year we won it with a couple matches going all the way, so I’m hoping that this year we can once again bring back the trophy.

AD: Do you know when that match is going to be?

NC: That match should be next weekend [Saturday, February 2, during the MAPL tournament at the Peddie School].

AD: What is the great challenge that you’ve faced as a wrestler?

NC: Injuries. And not so much the physical injuries, but in wrestling, because it’s so physical, a lot of times you get hurt and you don’t know whether or not it’s serious. Because I’m doing multiple sports, I have the constant [concern that I won’t make] any injury I have worse. I have to realize when I actually have an injury that needs attention or when I have an injury that’s just muscular and I can wrestle through it. That’s basically the challenge I’ve been working with the entire season, where I’ve been trying to constantly push myself, but I don’t want to injure myself for the rest of the season then maybe go into the next sport season.

AD: Do you think that wrestling helps you with your other sports?

NC: Definitely. It’s kind of weird because a wrestling match in high school is six minutes long, and the average crew race for high school is also six minutes long, so it’s kind of comparable in that sense. I think it’s just kind of funny because it’s hard to find two sports that translate that similarly because in wrestling you have to wrestle the entire time as hard as you can, and in crew if you let up for a second, you’ve basically lost the race.

AD: Do you have any advice for people who might want to start wrestling?

NC: Wrestling is a great sport, and there definitely is a learning curve. When I first started out, I found it very difficult to win any matches. In high school, it just gets harder. So definitely do not be discouraged by the first month. It’s going to take a very long time for you to see yourself become good at wrestling; it took me eight years. You need to go over the learning curve, find the joy for the sport, and realize that it just takes a lot of hard work. In the end, I feel that it paid off for me.

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.