EYOTA, Minn. (KTTC) – There are certain things in life we’ve come to accept as fact — water is wet, fire is hot, and Mike Nelson was born to wrestle.
The Dover-Eyota senior finished his senior season Saturday by pinning 3rd-ranked Tyler VanLuik in the Class A 195 pound state championship match, capping off an unbelievable 4 match performance at the state tournament that included 3 pins and a tech fall.
“I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet,” he said of his state championship.
Saturday’s win was a long time coming.
“I was probably three or four when I was coming with my dad to practice,” he said. “Just watching, rolling around, and drawing on the floors over there.”
Wrestling is in Nelson’s blood, on both sides of the family tree. His father and head coach Chad Nelson was a 3-time state champion at Stewartville that became an All-American at Nebraska, while his maternal Grandfather, Mike Mazzitelli, was the Eagles’ Head Wrestling Coach for 34 years.
“What is it about your family and this sport of wrestling?” I asked him.
“I think maybe just fighting on the mat,” he answered. “Wanting to win.”
Nelson’s stiffest competition this weekend turned out to be from outside of the arena. He was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as it snowed in St. Paul.
“We almost missed the match,” his father and head coach said. “We literally got [in the arena] three matches before he was up, and he threw and had to go right to the mats and get ready to wrestle. That was by far our biggest scare.”
It was the state quarterfinal, where Mike pinned the 6th-ranked wrestler in the state, just one of his dominating performances en route to his state title. Nelson could not be stopped by anything.
“This is kind of what he’s been this season,” said Chad Nelson. “I think he’s had 45 wins this season, had 31 pins… when he wrestles like him, when he’s Michael, he’s tough to stop.”
Mike Nelson of the Dover-Eyota Wrestling team is this week’s KTTC NewsCenter Sports Athlete of the Week.