Nahshon Garrett reflects on winning national wrestling title

Mar 21, 2016 2:55 AM by Ross Field

After four long years, four NCAA Championship trips and 22 national tournament bouts, Chico's Nahshon Garrett, a senior at Cornell University, has finally done it.

The four-time All-American won his first ever National Championship on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Garrett defeated Iowa's Cory Clark 7-6 in the 133-pound finals.

"I'm just happy that I was able to go out there and represent the people that I love the most, it's a pretty amazing thing," said Garrett.

An amazing thing that began years ago in the old Chico High wrestling room.

Panthers head coach Keith Rollins took Garrett, whose father passed away in prison while he was in high school, under his wing.

The two became family and with Keith's guidance and teaching Garrett, a natural on the mat, went on to win two California State Championships.

The latest achievement, the national title, is a pinnacle of both of their success. Garrett's hardwork and Keith's tutelage and compassion.

After Garrett secured the national title, he ran up in the stands to hug Rollins. It was a moment caught on camera by the ESPN broadcast.

"For me that's probably the best part. That's something I think we've been dreaming about for five years, that moment, and the fact that it became a reality is pretty unbelievable," said Garrett.

What's more unbelievable is the collegiate journey Nahshon took to get here.

As a freshman at Cornell, he placed third in the 125-pound division at the National Championships. As a sophomore, he was a runner-up. And as a junior he placed fifth!

This season he bumped up a weight class to 133-pounds. The move payed off big time as Garrett rolled to a 37-0 record and finally got his hands on that elusive national championship.

With the win, has a shot at competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as all National Champions earn an automatic bid to the U.S Team Trials held in April in Iowa City, Iowa.

"I am going to the trials and I believe that I will do what I need to do other in order to make it on the team," said Garrett.

For Garrett, the journey from Chico to wrestling on a national and possibly international level will continue. It's truly an inspirational story, the stuff movies are made of.


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