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Max Nowry strives for gold and an eventual coaching career



Nowry competing at the 2012 Dave Schultz Memorial International. Larry Slater photo.

Greco-Roman star Max Nowry has big plans for his wrestling career and what will follow.

“I plan to wrestle as long as I possibly can,” Nowry said. “I’d like to make World and Olympic Teams and ultimately medal at them. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m the best in the country; I want to be the best in the world. That’s my mindset.”

After his wrestling career comes to an end, Nowry wants to take his knowledge and passion for wrestling and his degree in secondary physical education and put that toward a career in coaching.

Ultimately, he said, he would love to own his own youth wrestling club or coach at the high school level.

“I want to coach to make a difference in kids’ lives, to get them started and put them on the right path,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have great coaches throughout my whole life and with each one I’ve taken a little bit away from them, whether it’s working hard or doing the right things outside of the wrestling room and being a good person. Just being able to affect someone like that and have them take something away from you [would be great].”

Step one toward Nowry’s goals is to continue to improve in his wrestling, which he said he works on daily. The recent Pan American Championships in Panama City, Panama especially helped Nowry realize the improvements he wants to make for the upcoming U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Nev. and the rest of the season, as he pursues his goal of being the World champion at 55 kg/121 lbs.

“[Panama] was a good trip, good experience. I thought it was really good for me to go there and get that in right before U.S. Open, one last tournament to see where I’m at and make those last few adjustments,” Nowry said. “It opened my eyes to exactly what I need to do to prepare. I need to make sure that on the day of the tournament my body is where it should be to be able to compete and feel good.”

While Nowry took first place at the Pan American Championships, he said he noticed some sluggishness in his first matches. A remedy, he said, is to get in a workout before heading to bed the night before a competition, a strategy that has worked for him in the past.

Now he’s ready for Las Vegas, and then it’s on to the World Team Trials and the World University Championships this summer.

“I’m looking to have good show [in Las Vegas]. I’ve had a pretty good year, but along with that I’ve had some pretty bad results,” Nowry said. “I’m starting to put things together, really getting my body right to make sure I’m ready for Vegas. I’m excited for it. I’m hoping to go and do big things this year and see what I can come back with.”

Wrestling has given a lot to Nowry, including some of his most important relationships, like those with his teammates – his best friends – and girlfriend Jenna Burkert, a wrestler currently training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Nowry and Burkert both have been wrestlers for the USOEC at Northern Michigan, and both have Olympic goals.

“Pretty much all my friends are wrestlers; we have a really strong bond. We’re all on the same level with what we do and how hard it can be sometimes,” Nowry said. “My girlfriend [and I] do the same thing, so we know what kind of schedules we have, plus we love the same thing.”

Being the only one in his family to wrestle, it was by luck that Nowry even began in the sport. In second grade, his father went to sign him up for a different sport that ended up not having enough participation and was cancelled.

“I ended up wrestling instead, and from there I just stuck with it and ended up loving it,” he said. “I played baseball until about fifth grade and did a year of football, but everything came back to wrestling. I didn’t like anything like I did wrestling.”

With all that wrestling has given Nowry, it has taken its fair share of determination. It isn’t just about strength, either. Wrestling takes intense training in strength, cardio, mental skill and technique.

“Wrestling takes a lot. In my opinion, it’s the toughest sport. It takes away depending on or relying on other people – you have to depend and rely on yourself,” Nowry said. “Ultimately, that ends up building character and it turns you into the person you are. With everything I’ve put into it, putting in the time and the hard work, eventually it builds on you and you become a hardworking person and it makes you better off outside of the wrestling room. When you’re out in the real world, things don’t really seem as hard anymore.”
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