Nick Boykin (Murfreesboro, TN) is a name you may have heard of. Boykin has put together a stellar Greco Roman resume at the Cadet level, achieving national recognition thanks to his aggressive M.O. Plus, he’s got a taste for big throws against big opponents. Most recently, the 17-year old jumped up an age division to take second at last month’s Junior World Team Trials. Simply put, this is one seriously talented individual. In addition, Nick has just broken the news that he will be forgoing his senior year of high school wrestling to head out west to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It’s a big step but when you have the kind of potential Boykin does, it all seems natural.
We wanted to get Nick’s insights on his decision along with other bulletpoints people should know about. Also: Nick is a monster on the gridiron. Just check out this clip of his creative approach to tackling.
5PM: What motivated this decision of yours to forgo your senior year of wrestling and to instead head out to Colorado Springs to train at the OTC?
Nick Boykin: Just to know that Coach Lindland sees a lot of potential in me becoming an Olympic champion. That he sees a lot in me and sees a special talent in me. And I need to start training to become that Olympic champion. That’s everybody’s dream, to achieve one, and now it’s time to go and be it.
5PM: You’ve been out to the OTC before. What was your favorite part about training out there?
NB: Hanging out with my friends, learning what everybody’s technique was to hit certain moves. Because I learned after that week a whole bunch of stuff working with two to three people, and that’s what I like about it. You can learn off of their stuff and still be winning. It’s pretty cool.
5PM: At the World Team Trials a couple of weeks ago, you bumped up as a Cadet and had a great tournament. Did your performance at the Trials increase your confidence and play a factor in this decision?
NB: It did. It helped me see where I’m at and once I got second I was like, “Oh gosh, I’m not that far behind from everybody.” So once I get some training in I could be on the next World Team. It made me feel pretty good about it, getting second this year being a Cadet wrestling college guys, it felt pretty good. I felt really good after pinning a college guy in like, 30 seconds (laughs). And I wasn’t that far from the other two matches that I lost in the finals. It was just little things I could fix at the OTC.
5PM: When did you realize that Greco was something very serious for you to pursue, something you could be successful at?
NB: Well, I just started Greco three years ago, so I was mostly a freestyle guy until I went to some of these tournaments winning Greco matches. I just went to Fargo as one of those competitions you have to compete in and I ended up winning it. Coach Lindland says he sees something in me in Greco that’s really good, so I started working really hard in Greco. I started kicking in all my Greco stuff this year. It’s been my first real year of just mainly Greco. I never thought I’d be doing it after high school.
5PM: You figured you were just going to wind up wrestling in a regular college situation?
Nick Boykin: Yeah. I knew there was Michigan but I didn’t know the OTC could grab people out of high school. So I was just figuring I’ll go to college and wrestle probably with my brother or somewhere up north. But I figure I’ll do this for a couple of years and see how it goes. Then if it doesn’t work out too good I could still go to college and wrestle.
5PM: Are there any aspects to “regular” high school life that you think you might miss come wrestling season next year by going out to the OTC?
NB: Yeah, our school is probably one of the best, at least in the state of Tennessee. We have a lot of fun activities because our principal is all about sports. He does pep rallies and one of the things I’ll probably miss is the in-school match where I get to wrestle in front of the whole school. That is probably one of the real things I’ll miss. And I guess just hanging around with the people there. There’s a lot of really good people. Friday nights are always fun at the football games but I’ll be able to play this year, so it’ll be fun.
But yeah, of course everybody misses high school. But I guess I’ll have to leave early and enjoy it later (laughs).
5PM: What are your plans as far wrestling goes for the rest of the summer?
Nick Boykin: I don’t plan to go to Fargo. This next week I have a freestyle tournament and it’ll be my last one probably so I’m going to enjoy that. I don’t know if I’m going to go to Michigan or not to train. Other than that I’ll probably go to Chattanooga Junior Camp and train with my brother. I think there is a Junior duals in Oklahoma and I’ll probably just be competing in Greco for that. And then my last one will be a training camp at the OTC in July. After that I’ll be starting up football. So that’s my summer schedule.
5PM: Well, it’s a very unique proposition to be 17 and to have the kind of ability you do and to know that this is a different kind of thing you’re trying to achieve.
NB: It is. It’s a once in a lifetime thing you can’t pass up. Not many people get a chance to do it so you’ve got to take that opportunity.