By David Kurker
Vic Avery is a man devoted to wrestling and God. With these two things in his life, he has already found success on and off the mat at the state and national level. Now, his sights are set on the international level. Vic is from Foxboro, MA where he was a three time state placewinner, state champion, and New England champion. After high school Vic went to Edinboro, PA to wrestle. There be became an NCAA Division One All-American placing 3rd, and helping Edinboro secure the highest finish in school history. Vic is currently training alongside the likes of NCAA champions, and Olympic gold medalists at the Ohio State RTC with his sights set on winning World and Olympic gold medals. Between training Vic gave some of his time to Wrestling Stories own David Kurker to answer the following questions:
David Kurker: How did you first get involved in wrestling?
Vic Avery: My family wrestled so it was a thing they wanted me to try when I was young.
DK: When you decided to make wrestling your focus? What was your first major setback or moment when you faced adversity?
VA: Wrestling became a main focus for me going into my sophomore year in high school. Going 0–2 at almost every big tournament I wrestled in leading up to that year was tough mentally, and it took a lot of belief to think you could one day be the best when you’re that far away.
DK: What did you learn from that experience?
VA: I learned that a genuine love for the sport overrides a desire to win, even in the face of constant failure.
DK: What was your favorite memory from your time wrestling?
VA: So many memories. One that sticks out of a million amazing memories is after really hard practices at Edinboro, Coach Flynn would do two groups to do sprints and bear crawls down and back in the room for X amount of minutes and being so tired and looking to the left and right and seeing other studs just as tired digging deep to beat each other on the next task was a moment I love. We would slide across the mat head first just to touch the wall first
DK: Did you feel any pressure following your brother in high school after all the success he had?
VA: No pressure, I saw opportunity.
DK: Did you feel any pressure coming out of high school knowing your older brother Nick wrestled at a Big10 school?
VA: No felt competitive to show everyone in New England I was the best ever from there and still have that same motivation today
DK: What nerves/emotions were you dealing with leading up to your NCAA run your junior year?
VA: There is always nerves no matter what you’re competing in. I had been healthy the whole season (minus shooting up my shoulder 4 times with cortisone) so I knew I was in better condition than everyone else, I had wrestled all the best guys and beaten some of them in the past, just wanted to make it a dog fight.
DK: How did you motivate yourself to come back to take third after such a close semi-finals match with the eventual national champion Gabe Dean?
VA: Team needed me, had the chance to make school history and bring my coach home a NCAA team trophy that he deserved.
DK: What emotions were going through your head after beating Blake Stauffer in the consolation finals at NCAA’s?
VA: That was the last match of the tourney so a bit of relief set in as well as “I can’t lift my shoulder” as well as “I should be the champ tonight”
DK: What role does wrestling play in your life today?
VA: It’s how I make my living currently training to make a world team and accomplish my international goals but it’s a sport I am addicted to because of the puzzles it presents and I feel I have not shown 100% of me or anywhere close to it so until then or until the doc rolls me off the mat I won’t be done with it. It’s also an amazing blessing and opportunity from God to be able to do what I love everyday.
DK: Who did you look up to when you were younger? Who do you look up to now?
VA: When I was in middle school my brother. When I was in high school the best guys like Brent Metcalf and others. Now I respect every elite athlete and take as much as I can from everyone and look up to God more importantly.
DK: How does it feel knowing kids from MA look up to you and want to replicate the success you’ve experienced in the local/national level?
VA: Feels like I want to keep pushing and becoming the best athlete I can to give those kids things to strive to beat. To be an example of the guy everyone always tells to give it up I can’t get to that level then congratulate me when I do. Don’t ever let people tell you how good you can be.
DK: How has wrestling made you a better person off the mat?
VA: Teaches discipline, builds relationships, makes you accepting of people of all different backgrounds, builds character, humbles you, makes you
DK: What is the most important thing you learned from wrestling?
VA: That god is bigger than winning
DK: Where do you think you would be today without wrestling?
VA: Regular student with no discipline and probably chubby.
DK: How did you settle on Ohio State to continue your training?
VA: It was the best training situation for me. Best partners, best coaches, a program with a lot of faith based leadership and opportunities.
DK: What are your short and long term goals with international wrestling?
VA: Goals are to become the best athlete I can become and give 100% of myself every time I compete.
DK: Once you decide to hang up your shoes what do you see yourself doing with all the folkstyle and freestyle experience you’ve gathered?
VA: Hopefully find a way to give back to the community or teach elite level wrestlers what I know.
DK: What advice would you give to a wrestler who is just their first youth program (say a 6th grader)?
VA: Don’t cut weight, compete as much as possible and enjoy the sport take in all the memories and learn as much as you can. The fun is learning not winning.
DK: What advice would you give to a wrestler who is entering high school?
VA: Be the hardest worker in the room every day, doing the right things off the mat is just as important as wrestling hard (i.e. Nutrition). Remember those things don’t promise victory but they put you in a better position to master the sport of wrestling which is the goal. Wrestling isn’t your identity. It’s a blessing and a gift from god. It doesn’t last forever either.