Athlete of the Week: Nationally Ranked Wrestler Marisol Nugent ’20 Inspires Female Wrestlers of All Ages

Marisol Nugent ’20 brings grit, discipline, and years of high-level experience to Andover Wrestling, according to her teammates. Nugent is now ranked eighth in the country for her wrestling weight class. Her skill and dedication have earned her this week’s title of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.

Co-Captain Pierce Bausano ’18 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “To start the season, Marisol was immediately thrown into a situation where she had to adjust to a foreign weight class while simultaneously facing a string of incredibly competitive opponents. An 0-3 start coupled with a nagging elbow injury Marisol faced would be enough of a shock to send many wrestlers away from the sport, or, at the very least, negatively impact their dedication in the sport.”

“Marisol opted for a different path. She toughed out weeks of hard practice and stayed focused, and her effort showed when, in one weekend she not only beat, but pinned four consecutive opponents,” continued Bausano.

How did you get into the sport of wrestling?

Everyone in my family wrestles, [and] that is how I got into it. I have been wrestling since third grade, [but] I didn’t start competing until I was in fourth grade. I didn’t really take it seriously until maybe sixth grade, but I had won a couple tournaments at the youth level. Wrestling was not really a big part of my life at all, and then all of a sudden, it was my entire life. It took over all my weekends, but I really liked it. Before I came to Andover, I wrestled for eight years with my dad and then at this club called Mercury. Last year was my biggest year in wrestling. It was my first year where I really fully committed myself to wrestling and decided, “This is what I want to do; this is going to be my thing.”

How has your experience with Andover Wrestling been?

It’s definitely different. Every wrestling team functions a little differently. Each practice is set up a little differently. At my old school it was more of a free-for-all. Here, we focus a lot more on drilling and technique, which is nice because that is what I need to work on as a wrestler: my positions in neutral and taking shots when I am supposed to. The little things. The coaches here are awesome.

What is your pregame ritual?

I walk out, I do over-under high fives with my dad or whatever coach is in the corner at the moment, I slap my thighs, slap my calves, slap my biceps, then slap my forearms, then I kneel down and pray really quick, and then I check myself in and go shake hands. Then the match starts. I do that before every match.

Who are your wrestling role models?

The people I look up to in wrestling… aren’t necessarily famous wrestlers, but more my coaches and drill partners. Wrestling is an individual sport, but not one you can be successful in alone — it takes an army. My twin Trevor pushes me in practice everyday, always encouraging me to get the extra workout in, pushing me harder during drilling, and just helps me out a ton. I love watching him wrestle at tournaments. I could watch him wrestle forever, it’s crazy. He works so hard.

My dad is my muse. He inspires me. Wrestling is something that is a really big part of his life and helped him get through high school and to college, and I think it’s really awesome that if you work that hard at something it can bring you so far.

What does wrestling mean to you?

Wrestling has become one of the biggest parts of my life, and I’m so grateful for it. It’s taught me a lot and helped make me who I am today. It’s given me a work ethic and a drive. It’s my life — it’s what I live for. It’s something I can look forward to at the end of the day, and even on days when I’m tired and defeated, I can still walk onto the mat and throw some bodies.

What motivates you to work as hard as you do?

I have four younger siblings. My youngest is Daniella, and she’s in fifth grade, and she is the reason I want to do well. She comes to all my meets. When I travel to far tournaments she always watches me online and is the first to call me after my matches. When I came back from Fargo [for the Asics Nationals], she met me at the airport with posters. I just really want to do well for her to show her that [even though] she’s a girl, she can still grapple with the boys, and I love getting to go watch her wrestle too. Wrestling is a growing sport, and I am in a position  — in New England at least  — where I get to meet a lot of young girls and help to grow the sport. I [have] had a lot of moms come up to me over the years saying that I inspired their daughters to wrestle, and if that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what does. I really want to grow the sport, and if that means working hard and showing good leadership, then that motivates me.