Marisol Nugent ’20 placed third in the Junior Division 127 pound weight class at the U.S.A. Wrestling Girls Folkstyle National Championships. Nugent’s only defeat was in the semifinals to the eventual champion of the tournament.
Nugent is widely known as one of the best wrestlers in New England. She was able to pin her three opponents at Andover’s annual tournament in under a minute, and pinned both her opponents at the Wonder Woman Classic to win the tournament. At Nationals, Nugent faced competition unlike that in New England. Nugent also moved up both in weight class — from 122 pounds to 127 pounds — and age divisions in order to compete in the 1998-2001 age range, adding to the challenge.
Coach Kassie Archambault said, “[Nugent] doesn’t see the type of competition in our area that she sees at Nationals, so sometimes it’s hard to prepare to face the best opponents. Marisol has proved that she is the best of the best not only in New England but nationwide, as well.”
Nugent said, “It was just a higher level of competition. When you go into a national tournament, you see a lot better competition because it is girls competing from all over the country. I moved up a weight class and an age group, too, so that was a little challenge.”
Technique-wise, Nugent uses much of her upper body and goes for throws. While her coaches have been encouraging her to go for more takedowns, Nugent prefers to put her opponent into a headlock.
Archambault said, “She is a very technically sound wrestler and does very well in scramble situations. She has very good hip sense and knows how to react to her opponent without panicking. However, by moving up a weight class, she isn’t as physically strong as her opponents. While her technique helped her to defeat stronger opponents, she’ll need to do some strength training in order to be on par with wrestlers who are as technically sound and stronger than she is.”
Nugent said, “I ride pretty well on top but don’t do very much on bottom. I ride legs a lot which is exciting. That basically means that I’m really good at staying on top of people. When they’re moving underneath me I can keep my hips in… I have good hips so I am really good at scrambling with people which is basically when you’re in 50/50 tossups and you’re able to come up on top usually the higher hips wins there.”
Additionally, Nugent describes her wrestling style as aggressive. She believes she is good on her feet and at scoring points. Her skill on her feet extends to takedowns, throws, and any other standing-up skill. Nugent, however, looks to improve being on the bottom, as she often gets stalled out.
Nugent said, “It’s never really been a problem before. This is the first tournament I’ve had a problem getting up from the bottom. This was my first time moving up a weight class so being on bottom was definitely harder because a lot of the girls were a lot bigger than me.”
Nugent began wrestling at a young age. In her family, children who wrestled were able to stay up two hours later than those who didn’t, and Nugent also found the opportunity to spend more time with her father, a wrestling coach, appealing. Despite her early passion for the sport, her father did not allow her to participate because not many girls at the time wrestled. Although she was not allowed to formally train, Nugent practiced in her basement with her brother.
Nugent said, “I would go take him down and do things I saw while I was watching from the sideline, because I would still go to practices and watch — I just wasn’t allowed on the mat. For a while it was kind of weird because it was something that I really wanted to do but I wasn’t able to pursue.”
Nugent’s family pushed her to try other sports and activities until one day Nugent went to a tournament with her father and twin brother. According to Nugent, she saw another girl wrestling and then immediately turned around and punched her father in the stomach.
Nugent’s dedication to wrestling has continued into the present day, where she has an unparalleled work ethic and devotion to the sport.
Archambault said, “Marisol is a hard worker. She trains a lot, so she is prepared for challenging situations… She is now a three-time All-American. She took fifth place this summer at Fargo Nationals in both the Cadet and Junior divisions. This is her highest placing in a national tournament. She’s only a Lower, and I’m so excited to see where the next two years take her. She has the potential to be a National Champion.”
Nugent’s sister was slated to wrestle alongside her but was unable to compete due to injury. Though wrestling is not her sister’s main sport, she and Nugent frequently train together, as they provide a challenging matchup for one another.
Nugent said, “She’s really flexible, and she’s long. She’s pretty much the exact opposite body type of me, so our matchups are really weird. We scramble a lot, which is really fun. It’s good to go into practice with someone who is really evenly matched and just be able to roll around for hours at a time.”
Nugent cites Coach Archambault as one of her main influences and support systems as a wrestler.
Nugent said, “[Coach Archambault] had a really big role because it was my first time really being coached by a girl. She kind of knew what I was going through with weight cuts and mood swings and regards to everything like that that normally a guy coach wouldn’t understand.”
The coaching system at Andover has also helped her become a more confident wrestler.
Nugent said, “They’ve brought up my self esteem a lot. I came into the season a little bit self conscious and unsure of my abilities, and they’ve really helped me solidify my role on the team and my role as a wrestler.”