Nick Burg felt he had the wrestling résumé and talent necessary to compete at a Division I school when he finished his senior season in 2014.
The Richmond graduate did have those things. In fact, he was good enough that a year later, that opportunity was still there as he will wrestle this year for Eastern Michigan University.
But first, he needed to prove himself in the classroom.
“I planned on doing it right out of high school,” he said. “But I had to wait and get my grades up, then I got accepted.
“I was talking to (EMU coach Dave Bolyard) last year, but I didn’t get in. I didn’t pass the clearinghouse. So I kind of kept in contact with him. I got good grades at Macomb (Community College), so I got in with no problem.”
Burg, who finished third, second and third at the MHSAA state meet in his final three years, didn’t wrestle a competitive season this past year, as Macomb doesn’t have a wrestling team. He worked out with Richmond during the year, and wrestled in some offseason tournaments.
Still, it wasn’t the same.
“I hated not wrestling this year,” he said. “It was horrible.”
While he hated it, it was a decision he made. Burg definitely would have been welcomed with open arms at most any junior college wrestling program.
“(Macomb is) close to home, it was the cheapest, and I also did it because I would have an extra year of eligibility,” he said.
It wasn’t about being able to focus strictly on academics, either, as Burg said much of the trouble he ran into with grades stemmed from his freshman and sophomore years.
Burg took 27 credits this past school year at Macomb, so he’ll enter Eastern with some of his pre-requisite coursework out of the way. He expects to major in business.
He’s not worried about being out wrestling shape, either. Between working out and working construction through the summer — “I basically swing a sledgehammer all day,” he said — Burg believes he’s at a good starting point for the season.
He expects to wrestle at 141 pounds, which is likely what he would have come in at a year ago.
Burg is basically where he would have been a year ago, except perhaps a bit hungrier, and a bit more grateful for the opportunity.
“It feels really good,” he said. “Other schools were talking to me, but I wasn’t going to wrestle for someone else if it wasn’t DI – I just didn’t want to.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.