NORMAN — Nathan Marek was on top of the world last season. After winning his first state wrestling championship and dominating his weight class, the sophomore from Southmoore had every reason to be there.
However, it took only one trip over the summer to Fargo, N.D. to knock him back off. Competing in the USAW Cadet Freestyle Nationals, Marek didn’t experience the same success he had at state. And that may be bad news for his opponents this season.
“You are thinking, ‘I just won state and no one is going to beat me,’” Marek said. “That’s why it was good this summer to go to Fargo. It was good to get beat as much as it sucks knowing that I’m not the best. It just kicks in that I can win another title if I put my heart into it.”
In winning the 160-pound state title last year, Marek compiled a record of 42-2. His only losses came to a wrestler from Texas. As dominant as he was, SaberCats’ coach Greg George knows his prized pupil can be better.
“A lot of stuff that he did in the past, he still had a lot of sloppy stuff,” George said. “He made up for that by never stopping. We want to get to the point where we can beat the very best guys in the nation without being sloppy. Just clean things up.”
Marek said his biggest incentive coming into his junior campaign is knowing everyone he faces will be gunning for him.
“I’m definitely coming in with a target on my back,” Marek said. “No one will have anything to lose. I know if I was wrestling a state champ, I know it’s not going to hurt me if I lose to them. It makes me want to work harder.”