Coach, Wrestlers Hustling to form wrestling program
By: Tyler Killian - When Mickey Nunez was looking for options after graduating from high school, he found Phoenix College. The community college gave him the chance to pursue an associate degree, but more important, it allowed him to continue his passion: wrestling.
He earned his degree in 1991 and went on to Arizona State, where he wrestled and then graduated from in 1994. He’s been involved with the sport in one way or another ever since, and he credits Phoenix College for providing him with that initial opportunity.
“If junior-college wrestling hadn’t have been there,” Nunez said, “I don’t know if I could’ve gone straight to a Division I school.”
Now, with neither Phoenix College nor any other community college in Arizona offering a wrestling program, Nunez has decided to give other wrestlers the same opportunity he once had by establishing the Glendale Community College Wrestling Club.
It’s his second attempt at the endeavor, after the first fizzled out five years ago. This time, he has more support and a more dedicated group of wrestlers and is looking to come out of the gate strong.
Still, the team needs help. As a club, it does not receive resources from GCC and is forced to rely on fundraising and word of mouth to build the program virtually from scratch.
“It is literally from the ground up,” first-year 174-pounder Quentin Grill said. “It’s not like we’re pulling money from a corporation or we have somebody that has \$20,000 to give. We have to do it penny and dime here and there, whatever we can get. And it takes a lot of work when you do it that way.”
The efforts so far have been mighty. A website has been set up — juniorcollegewrestling.com — where supporters can donate to the program and buy T-shirts and other merchandise. Nunez has worked tirelessly to secure transportation and other necessary resources for the club, as it must travel out of state to find tournaments and junior college to compete against.
Whatever it takes, Nunez is determined to make it work.
“This is a much-needed program to keep wrestling alive in Arizona,” he said. “It’ll give kids in high school something to look forward to if they can’t get to the Division I level right away. It will give them hope of getting picked up by a university and continuing their education.
“And when I’m not here, I want this to continue. I want to be able to hand it down to somebody to keep it going, and that way there will always be a junior-college wrestling program in Arizona.”