ALLIANCE  Although his sophomore season took a detour just three matches in, former Lake wrestling standout Grant Martin is determined to get it headed back in a positive direction.

The Mount Union sophomore spent the offseason focused on improving and applying the lessons he learned in his first season of college wrestling, but an early injury pushed the pause button on his campaign.

"I feel like I’ve highly improved and I worked really hard all summer, but an injury at the beginning of the year put me out for a while," Martin said. "It was a high ankle sprain … I did it in first tournament of the year, in the third match."

The injury took place in November and while the term ankle sprain can conjure images of slight swelling and having to use crutches for a short amount of time, a high ankle sprain is a different matter entirely.

It’s a more serious injury that can put an athlete out of action for four to six weeks, so when Martin went down, he knew it would take a while before he was able to train normally and compete again.

He won his first two matches at the invitational, but dropped his third match - in which the injury occurred - and had to wait for the ankle to heal before he could get back to competing.

"It was very frustrating that something so small could take it away," Martin said. "It was very tough … I tried to go out on wrestling match, but I realized I would have to stay out for a while."

Wrestling at 197 pounds - the same weight he wrestled at in high school - Martin has found that while the size of his competition may have remained largely the same, college wrestling is an entirely different endeavor.

College rivals are strong and more aggressive, Martin noted, and a large part of getting better and improving his results at this level has been matching that aggression and doing the work he needs to do in the weight room and on the practice mat.

As he tries to get his season rolling again, he does so with plenty of support from those who have been a part of his wrestling journey along the way.

"It’s really nice, the coaches from my high school ask me how i’m doing, how the season is going and things like that," Martin said. "I give all credit to my high school and middle school coaches and even my elementary school coaches who helped me along the way."

The lessons he learned from those coaches along the way continue to be part of his approach on the mat and that approach is predicated in large part on the concept of endurance and being able to be strong in the third period.

Martin believes that if he’s at his best in the final period, he can continue pushing should his opponent fade. Staying strong through the finish is a technique he will also have to apply to his academic career if he wants to realize his goals off the mat.

Martin plans to get his undergraduate degree in marketing and management and go on to graduate school, possibly at Ohio State, where he can continue working toward his goal of owning his own business.

"I want to be my own boss, to be the owner of some kind of company," Martin said. "I thought about that because of my parents, because my mom and dad both own their own businesses."

While he may not have his own law firm as his father does, Martin likes the idea of being able to run his own business and have a big hand in his professional success. In the short term, his goals include a high GPA for the current semester and earning a spot on the podium at the NCAA Division III championships at the end of the season.

Reaching those marks after an inauspicious beginning to the year would be an impressive turnaround and one that Martin traces back to those who have been a part of his wrestling journey since its early days.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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