CEDAR RAPIDS — There is no place like home.
Just ask former Cedar Rapids Xavier wrestler Nick Drahozal.
A 2014 graduate, Drahozal has returned to the Xavier wrestling program as an assistant coach.
“I decided to become a coach to help out the program that helped me develop my skills during my time at Xavier,” Drahozal said.
While at Xavier, Drahozal had 129 career wins and set the school record of 48 wins in a single season. He has started to pass down his knowledge of the sport to his wrestlers.
“He has taught me how to better my stance and stay in a good position all the time,” senior team captain Patrick Chambers said. “He makes me go as hard as I can.”
The wrestlers not only like Drahozal as a coach, but off the mat as well.
“I like Coach Drahozal because he is young and gets where we are coming from,” senior team captain Isaac Ball said. “He likes to be around us and learn who we are as people.”
Although it is early in the season, Drahozal already has seen improvement from his wrestlers.
“I think the team has a lot to look forward to because everyone is getting better week by week,” he said. “Hopefully, the team will add a few more wins during dual meets, and we will start crowning individual champions.”
As a wrestler, and now a coach, the state tournament still is Drahozal’s favorite part of the season.
“It is the best time of the year as far as wrestling goes,” he said. “You get to see the reward from all the hard work the wrestlers have put in all season.”
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Although the wins and losses are important, they are not as important as the impact Drahozal wants to have on his wrestlers.
“I want to help the kids to really enjoy the sport and become inspired to stay involved with it,” Drahozal said.
The Saints return from break to host Waterloo East Thursday night at 7 p.m.