By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
Wrestling is a family sport and it is common for younger brothers of successful wrestlers to carry on tradition on the mat. Growing up around wrestling often gives the little brother an edge in their own athletic career.
On the flip side, there is often additional pressure on young athletes who are trying to follow in their brother’s footsteps.
Competing in his first Cadet National Championships in Fargo this weekend is Mark Grey of New Jersey. If you remember the name, it is because his older brother Mike has been in the wrestling news for many years.
Mike Grey became the first wrestler to win four New Jersey state high school titles. He was a Junior National freestyle champion after his junior year. Last year as a freshman, Mike was an All-American for Cornell.
In his own right, Mark has won numerous USA Wrestling Kids national titles, and made a big step this spring by winning a title at the FILA Cadet Nationals in Akron. In spite of having come to Fargo to watch his brother, this is Mark’s first time competing in the FargoDome as a first-year Cadet. His debut came today in Greco-Roman.
John Grey, Jr., who is a brother older than both Mike and Mark, is one of New Jersey’s coaches and state leaders. He has helped Mark throughout his career, and will be in his corner as he seeks to make his name here in Fargo. Mark’s career began at the age of four as he followed his brother Mike to wrestling events.
“He has always enjoyed the sport, and is eager to learn new stuff,” said John Grey, Jr. “He likes this kind of wrestling more, even at a young age. He likes doing freestyle and Greco-Roman.”
Older brother John understands that it isn’t easy being the kid brother in a wrestling family, but is proud of how well Mark has done handling the pressures.
“He is different from Mike. He has different goals within wrestling. Mike wanted to be the first four-time state champion. Mark wants to win Fargo in both styles and wants to win the Olympics. His goals are more with the international styles,” said John Grey.
Mark admitted to his parents today that he was a little nervous, even though he had been to Fargo to see Mike wrestle in the past. John said his brother had some butterflies as he went to his first day competing at Cadet Nationals.
Mark won his first two matches by technical fall, beating Bronson Ashijan of Nevada, 6-0, 7-0 and Zack Vesta of Kansas, 6-0, 8-0 then stopped Nathan Kraisser of Maryland, 7-0, 5-0.
“He doesn’t want to follow in Mike’s footsteps. He wants to make a name for himself. The way he sees it, he is doing his own thing. He wants to be himself,” said John Grey, Jr.