Turek rises to No. 2 in nation

Turek+rises+to+No.+2+in+nation

Matt Turek has come a long way since his time on the mat at Madison High School in Ohio.

Gannon’s senior 125-pounder said he was one of the better wrestlers on his high school team, but added that he still wasn’t very good in comparison to the state’s other competitors. He explained that he never made the state tournament during his high school career despite earning more than 100 wins.

“I placed fifth at districts three years in a row and they took the top four,” Turek said.

Gannon coach Don Henry said that one of the team’s former volunteer coaches, Chris Sears, recommended that the Knights staff should take look at the Madison, Ohio, native.

Turek said that he planned on attending Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, when his mother received an email from Gannon assistant coach Tom Boyd.

Turek made the trip to Gannon, wrestled a member of the team and met with the coaches. He said he admired the coaching staff’s down to earth approach and fell in love with the university.

Henry said Turek fit the normal profile of a Gannon recruit and he liked that he had a chip on his shoulder.

“He did not accomplish what he wanted to at the high school level and had something to prove coming into college,” Henry said.

Turek said his initial goal was to start on Gannon’s team at 125 pounds. After he had accomplished that, he set his sights higher. He wanted to make it to the national tournament and place.

And Turek did just that in 2014 when he placed fourth at the nationals. He said he learned a lot from his loss in the semifinals a year ago and it has been the fuel he’s used to improve on his campaign to be the 2015 national champion.

He said that he needed put a greater emphasis on being a more well-rounded wrestler and maintaining his focus throughout matches.  He said that during the offseason, he worked on being stronger on his feet and working the top and bottom positions more efficiently.

Henry credits Turek’s practice habits and determination for his success with the Knights. Turek agreed, saying the work he’s put in outside the confines of regular practice sessions has made a big difference for him.

“Just practice isn’t enough,” he said. “I have to do cardio and drill with my drill partners. It’s all about the extra time.”

Turek’s work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, who named him a team captain along with seniors Zack Zelcs and Adam Greenman.

Greenman said that he had befriended Turek early in their freshman year when they lived down the hall from one another. He said that he had the pleasure of watching a scrappy freshman work his way into being an elite Division II wrestler.

“Every year he has just worked harder and convinced himself that he is going to be the best,” Greenman said. “And I’m sure he will be.”

Greenman said that Turek works out two to three times a day during the season and pushes his limits during each session. “I think the younger guys see how hard he works and how it pays off,” he said.

Henry said that Turek is right up there with the best wrestlers who’ve come through Gannon’s program and added that his journey has been impressive.

“The truth is it takes a lot of work and determination to be successful and success is measured by how far they come, not how well they do,” Henry said. “He does not stand out in a crowd, but put him in the spotlight, he shines.

“It takes all of these things plus a little luck to be the NCAA Division II Champion.”

CONNOR SONDEL

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