The name Nick Anthony is familiar to those in Southwest Florida wrestling circles as the Fort Myers 119-pound standout who placed third at 2011 Class 2A state meet.
That Nick Anthony graduated and has been replaced by Cape Coral’s Nick Anthony.
A senior who moved in this year from Blue Mountain, Penn., the new Anthony has been making his own name. The 132-pounder is ranked second in the state for his weight in Class 2A by scout.com.
Anthony made his Florida debut Sept. 8 at Osceola High in Kissimmee at 126 pounds, the same weight he wrestled in Pennsylvania, and won. He followed by taking a two-month hiatus from wrestling and returned at 132 pounds.
Anthony said 126 was 16 pounds lower than his natural weight and it was stressful to continue to keep that weight.
“As of right now I don’t plan on wrestling in college, at the Division I level,” Anthony said. “So I want to enjoy my last year of high school and not be miserable all the time.”
Besides his weight, Anthony opted to take a few months off to improve what he believed were sub-par grades. He had B’s in Honors Anatomy, AP World, and AP Calculus.
“I was proud of his decision,” said Anthony’s mother, Jennifer, who moved with him to Cape Coral in March to take a job as a nursing professor at Rasmussen College. “He knows what he wants to do to achieve his goals. For how much it killed him and knowing he had priorities straight, I’m very proud.”
Anthony should be a junior but will graduate in May because he took three online classes (US Government, Economics and English) along with his regular class load this year. With his grades restored Anthony raised his GPA to a 4.36 and he plans to attend Florida State in the fall to major in Psychology.
Cape Coral coach Trevor Elliot said you can see Anthony’s intellect when he wrestles.
“He thinks two to three moves ahead, most people think one or two,” Elliot said. “He knows there is a one, two and a possible third move so he’ll set you up for all three of them.”
If he gets the first one, he already has two in his back pocket. I think that’s what it is with him, he’s a good scrambler. When he gets in a situation he knows he can get out of it and look for other options.”
Back on the mat
Anthony wrestled in two small meets at the end of December to get his feet under him before the Buzz Hill Invitational at Gulf Coast High on Jan. 4-5.
Ranked sixth at 132 in the meet, Anthony cruised to the final where he faced Class 3A St. Thomas Aquinas’ Shiquan Hall. Hall is the defending Class 3A champion at 120.
Anthony was on the attack after falling behind by two but the shots he was taking weren’t good, leaving him open for counters. He admits that he could have wrestled a more tactical match.
“I was taking a lot of crazy shots that weren’t good shots just to keep moving and he would capitalize on them,” Anthony said. “I think I should wrestle slower but not cautious, more structured.”
Slowing down his wrestling has been the biggest adjustment for Anthony in moving from Pennsylvania. Wrestling has a faster pace up north while in Florida his up-tempo style allows opposing wrestlers to take advantage and score points on mistakes.
But Anthony has been adjusting well and went 7-1 at the Titan Duals Jan. 18-19 at Golden Gate High but chose to sit out last weekend’s LCAC meet. He is the favorite to win at 132 at Saturday’s District 2A-11 meet at Venice High.
“I’m happy my journey is coming to an end and excited to see how it ends,” Anthony said.
I’m super grateful for all my friends and family and coaches that have supported me, especially my mom. Without her I don’t know what I would do.”