ST. MARYS — Senior Garrett Hower, 17, likes to be different.
When his friends challenged him into getting a mohawk, he did it without hesitation. When he decided to join a winter sport, he chose wrestling. Surprisingly, even to him, wrestling became his life in eighth-grade.
Hower said he enjoys the fact that although he is a part of a team, people will remember his wins even if the team does not do well collectively.
“It’s just you against somebody else,” he said. “If you lose you can’t go over and blame so-and-so for doing this ... Like Mr. Gruber says, ‘It’s two bulls in a ring.’”
Hower’s goals for his last year as a wrestler at Memorial High School are to achieve his 100th win and to make it to the state tournament. He attends several intensive wrestling summer camps every year to prepare, and says it takes more mental preparedness to succeed at the sport than physical ability.
“Wrestling is like a puzzle,” he said. “You just have to solve it every time you go out there.”
Last year, Hower went to the district tournament, and his sophomore year his record was 30-10. He has a good balance of intensity and coolness about it.
He never gets nervous before a meet, or about anything, really. He describes himself as “not a troublemaker” and said he likes to sit back and enjoy life.
Hower looks up to his wrestling coach, who is the same way.
“He makes it fun,” Hower said. “He knows when it’s time to get serious and then have fun. He knows how to get a fire lit under my, you know. He’s just one of those people you can talk to any time. He’s like, 60-something and he’s still wrestling.”
Hower’s plans after high school may include wrestling, if his ACT scores are good enough to get him into ONU. He would plan to major in pharmacy there.
If not, his top choice is Wright State University Lake Campus, where he would plan to study criminal justice with the goal of being a homicide detective. Hower said he will miss being with his wrestling family the most after graduation.
“I’m not going to be with them every Saturday of my life for the next four months,” he said.