Work, toughness and determination are the qualities that coaches have been preaching since the dawn of time; it is the ultimate formula for success. Those who watch UVU’s 133-pound wrestler Blake Mangum see those qualities in him.
Wrestling has always been in Mangum’s blood. His father wrestled at Utah State University and has been coaching the sport for years. It was being around the sport his whole life that naturally drew him to the sport.
“I think I started at three or four [years old],” Mangum said. “I went to practice with [my dad] at a young age, all through Jr. High and High school.”
Success was always there for Mangum. He wrestled for his dad at Lone Peak high school here in Utah for three years. He then transferred to Wasatch high school where he won a state championship and was an All-American in the 125-pound class.
Colleges took notice of this wrestling talent. Blake went out of high school to wrestle for Oklahoma University, in one of the best wrestling conferences in the nation, the Big 12.
At Oklahoma, Mangum redshirted, practicing and learning with the team to become a better wrestler. But like many young students from Utah, Blake put wrestling aside to serve an mission for the Mormon Church in Brazil.
After his mission, he had a few options to choose from: return to Oklahoma, go to Boise State or stay local and attend UVU.
Many would wonder why someone would leave such a nationally recognized program, but for Mangum the decision was quite simple.
“I felt like I wanted to stay closer to home,” Mangum said, “I hadn’t really been home for about four years, and wanted to be close to my family and friends, there’s a lot of kids that I know on the team here. I get along with team here really well.”
Mangum hopes his decision to stay close to home will pay off. He has big plans to accomplish while here at UVU.
“I’ve been wrestling up at 133-pound and right now,” Mangum said. “I’m trying to get better and win some more matches to get to nationals.”
He has shown his hard work already this year. He returned from his mission and went straight to wrestling and has worked his way up to the starting lineup. He normally is a 125-pound wrestler, but has been asked to wrestle up at 133 pounds and has logged some impressive wins.
“I want to be someone that is remembered as a hard worker, that didn’t complain about working and who never gave up,” Mangum said.
By Garrett Coleman