January 30, 2013 - Out of the top 15 wrestlers in the 152-pound weight class in Michigan, Clarkston High School senior Nick Vandermeer is holding onto the top position at number one.
Nick Vandermeer takes on Oxford. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
"It feels good to say it," he smiled. "But at the same time it's a huge target. I just have to wrestle good all of the time now. I have to win no matter what. It doesn't matter if I pin or not I just have to win."
He added his team has helped him get to the top spot, especially wrestling teammate senior Chris Calvano.
"I just keep going all of the time not putting my head down," said Vandermeer.
His two most recent wins came from last Wednesday's home meet against Rochester and Oxford - both ranked in the Power 15 in the state.
He defeated Wesley Maskill from Oxford, 16-2, and Aaron Morgan from Rochester with a pin three minutes into the match, both in the 160-pound weight class.
He continues to aim for more wins as the boys head into the MHSAA Wrestling District matches next week.
His goal is to make his third visit to the MHSAA Wrestling Individual Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills at the end of February.
During his previous two visits he was named All-State with a seventh place finish last year and eighth place his sophomore year. For his senior year he would like to win the state championship.
He began wrestling when he was 4-years-old.
"I was forced into it by my parents," Vandermeer grinned. "My dad ran the Clarkston Wrestling Club so I was pretty much put into it. I wrestled with everybody. It's really cool because if you look up at the wall I have wrestled with most of them. It feels proud to be part of that."
Wrestling became funner as he became older and found himself the kid who enjoyed going onto the mat.
"I was the kid who went out there with a smile, got pinned and came off of the mat with a smile on his face," he said. "Then as soon as I started becoming aware of winning and losing I won more. When I lost I got really upset. The driving factor was winning."
He added his older brother, Matt, has helped him out by wrestling with him when he is home from college. Plus, through Matt he has gotten to know the wrestling coach at Lake Erie College and will be wrestling with his brother next fall. Nick said he is undecided about what he will study because a lot of topics interest him.
Vandermeer wrestles year round and took first place in the 155-pound weight class at the MYWAY State Wrestling Championships last March and competed with the Michigan USA Junior National Wrestling team.
His advice for aspiring grapplers is to go year round and go to a lot of camps.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.