Taylorsville wrestling standout wins double national titles
Winning a national championship in anything is wildly impressive. Winning two national titles in the same weekend sounds almost superhuman.
Wrestler Roy Nash accomplished the feat in mid-July at the wrestling national championships in Fargo, N.D. The 16-year-old from West Valley City took first place in the 220-pound division in the Greco-Roman style and in freestyle to clinch the double national championships.
"I didn't expect to win," Nash said. "In Greco, which is my best style, I thought I might place if I performed well. Then after I won that, I thought I would be really lucky just to place in freestyle. This was my highest achievement."
Nash's words only tell half the story. What he didn't mention was the fact that he won after being sidelined for a year. While preparing for last year's national championships, Nash badly injured his right knee.
For the next eight months, he could not do anything wrestling-related. After those long months of agony, both physical and mental, Nash had just four months to get back to an elite level.
After a solid year away from the mat, Nash made his return at the Western regionals in Pocatello, Idaho, at the end of June. He won every match of the tournament without surrendering a single point.
"I worked a lot on my mental preparation," he said. "After regionals, I had a lot more confidence. I was able to put nervousness behind me, and I picked up on the nervousness of my opponents at nationals."
Nash's coach, Brandon Ruiz, said his student won because he combined that mental edge with natural ability. Ruiz thinks Nash has the potential to do something extraordinary.
"Historically, guys who win double national titles go on to make national teams, and world teams and Olympic teams," Ruiz said. "They end up being college all-Americans and college national champions, historically."
When school starts later this month, Nash will be a junior walking the halls of Taylorsville High School. He has never participated in high-school wrestling, so he is looking forward to that opportunity this winter. Nash thinks it will be a "fun" few months. Odds are, the state's other 220-pound wrestlers won't be having very much fun.
About Roy Nash
16-year-old Roy Nash won the 220-pound Greco-Roman and freestyle national championships in Fargo, N.D., in mid-July.
Nash went undefeated at the Western regional tournament, and he did not have one point scored on him.
Nash claimed the dual national championships after taking one year off to nurse an injured knee.