Wrestling is one of the most physical-demanding sports, and it can also wear one down mentally. It’s also one of those sports that if you have not been doing it for a while, success can will be more difficult to achieve. For UVU heavyweight Adam Fager, wrestling has been central to his family.
It all started when Fager was just 4 years old. Like most little boys, sports were starting to come into the big picture of his life. Fortunately for Fager, that decision had been easier to make because his oldest brother had decided to go from the basketball court to the wrestling mat and wanted his brothers to be involved in his new-found love.
“It’s a place to bond and grow with my family,” Fager said. “Even my sister, in her spare time, watches wrestling. She may even know more college wrestlers than me.”
Fager knows that his brother’s influence helped him mature in the sport. From the first match to his latest, his family has been there every step of the way, including his brother being his high school coach and helping him win a state championship.
Success has been a good companion for Fager, even in the very early days of learning the sport. Fager remembers how he fell in love with the sport well.
“In my first match, I shook the kid’s hand and started growling,” Fager recalled. “He ran off the mat crying. It was awesome.”
Maybe the growling wasn’t the only reason the poor kid ran off crying. As Fager put it himself, he was a “short fat kid who got picked on,” and wrestling was an outlet where he could be the aggressor, because all he had to do was be mean. Being mean early on helped Fager develop a love for the sport, a love that has grown to help him be dominant against his opponents.
“I love that it’s a sport for everyone,” Fager said. “You don’t have to be a certain height or weight to be successful. All you need is a work ethic.”
Fager’s work ethic has kicked in the past few seasons as he has worked his way to a national ranking and placed in some key matches. Last season, he won the conference tournament and was named first team all-Western Wrestling Conference. His wins qualified Fager for a berth in the NCAA tournament.
This season, Fager has continued to dominate opponents, beating ranked opponents and placing at top-notch tournaments like fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational and seventh in the Midlands Championships. Both tournaments gave Fager a chance to see his competition for the upcoming NCAA National tournament.
His recent success is proof that he can meet his personal goals of becoming an All-American wrestler and a national champion. UVU assistant coach Justin Ruiz said great things about Fager’s recent finish in Las Vegas.
“He wrestled tough throughout every situation and stayed in good positions as well,” Ruiz said. “He was really focused in all of his matches and I was very pleased with his performance. He’s made a jump to another level and we’re going to do everything we can to help him be ready to place at nationals at the end of the season.”
Head coach Greg Williams is also confident that Fager can advance deep into the national tournament.
“Adam has proven that he’s ranked where he belongs,” Williams said. “The guys above him are guys he’s either lost to or hasn’t wrestled, and guys below him are guys he’s beaten. We’re pleased with how he’s wrestling, and we can tweak some things to get him to a higher level”
Fager will look to continue the success. Like he has done so many times in his career that began when he was just a little tyke scaring kid and presently by grinding out wins and wearing down opponents, he wants to be one of the very best wrestlers who’ve attended UVU.