More than 400 wrestlers gathered in Macon today for a shot at a championship title. The National Collegiate Wrestling Championship runs today through Saturday at Mercer's University Center.
The sport of wrestling brings an intensity that stirs the competitive spirit. The Mercer Bears are clawing their way through this tournament in hopes of mauling the competition.
"This is why we do all of those hours of drilling and exercises and live wrestling. Since September my guys have been busting their backsides working really hard," said Mercer Head Wrestling Coach, Kevin Andres.
Andres can't hold in his excitement as the 2011 NCWA championships have finally arrived.
That energy spilled over to the team and especially for Freshman Nick Wright. The youngster had his doubts coming into the tournament, but started off on the right foot.
"It was surprising I was telling the guys at practice the other day I was like I don't think I'll get a pin this whole tournament, because it's going to be really tough and I'm a freshman. I'll probably have to scrap for everything. It was nice to get a pin in that first match to set it off right," said Wright.
Hours of practice and training culminate to this tournament where wrestlers have the opportunity to be crowned national champions
"There were 1500 wrestlers trying to become top 8 in the nation this year and this is the last little bit of them, all trying to vie for a national title," said Andres.
For Nick Wright, staying focused on wrestling and not the level of the competition is priority number one.
"I try to make it, try to play it down a little bit and make it not as big a deal as it really is because if you wrestle like you're scared or nervous other wrestlers will pick up on that and beat you," said Wright.
So far that mind set is paying off for Wright after securing a take down in his first match.
"The first match I was kind of nervous because the guy was really tall and obviously from you looking at me I'm not very tall. So I usually have trouble with guys like that but I was like if I can get the first take down I'll win the match. That's usually my mentality," said Wright.
If you would like to check out the wrestling action, tickets are $12 for adults and kids get in free. The tournament continues tomorrow and finishes up on Saturday.