By Jenelyn Russo
Photo Credit: Robert Zaleski
View video interview here.
Introduced to wrestling by a family friend, Troy Madrigal remembers his mom taking him and his brother to a youth wrestling program where they got their start in the sport. It took only one day for Madrigal to realize he wanted to be a wrestler.
"After the first day of practice, I kind of fell in love with the sport," says Madrigal.
The Servite High School senior competes in the 152-pound weight class for the Friars and has become captivated by the excitement and joy surrounding the sport as well as the energy that wrestlers put into their craft.
As a 2016 CIF-SS individual champion and eighth place finisher at last year's state competition, Madrigal is looking to defend his title this year and make it on the podium at the state level. The 17-year-old is also focused on leading his team back to a CIF championship this season after falling short in 2016. The Friars captain values the team bonding that occurs away from the gym as much as the hard work that happens within it.
"Troy brings to the table not only a high-level skill set but a sense humor and an attitude of enjoyment of the sport of wrestling," says Servite head wrestling coach, Alan Clinton. "Because of his success, it is very easy for young men to follow his lead. We are blessed to have such a well-rounded young man lead our program."
One of the challenges that many wrestlers face is cutting weight prior to competition, something Madrigal admits he's battled as well. But wrestling has also taught him plenty about respect.
"I've been growing up with a lot of coaches that teach me respect," says Madrigal. "From my youth coaches to my high school coaches, it's all respect for us. Respect for others, respect for the young kids, respect for everyone. It's a big thing for wrestling."
Since Madrigal had the opportunity to be exposed to the sport at a young age, the Anaheim resident is giving back by doing his part to introduce young kids to wrestling through Team Credo, Servite's after school youth wrestling program.
Madrigal's future goals include continuing his wrestling career at the collegiate level, as well as studying nursing. For several years he's drawn inspiration from American wrestler Jordan Burroughs, a world and Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling.
"I've studied him day in and day out," says Madrigal of Burroughs, "learning how he does it, adapting it into my wrestling style."
Madrigal's faith in God combined with diligent prayer time before each meet are a large part of how he prepares for competition. Regardless of how he performs, he feels that God is always on his side.
"Win or lose, I still love him. I don't blame him for anything," says Madrigal. "I just want to go out there and do my best."