Nelson working toward second state title.


By Cody Easton | Reporter

Junior Thaddeus Nelson is a rising star in high school wrestling. After recently winning the Coast Classic in North Bend and taking state in 2012 as a sophomore, Nelson is the “real deal” according to head coach Travis Wittlake.

“I could see his talent right off the bat,” Wittlake said. “I just helped steer him in the right direction.”

Nelson’s success has also made him a role model to underclassmen. According to freshman Cole Smith, almost all of the younger wrestlers look up to Nelson and want to follow in his footsteps.

“I want to be be like him and be a state champ like him,” Smith said. “I watch what he does and try to do the same thing.”

According to Wittlake, Nelson, who typically wrestles at 120, is also a hard worker in the mat room and gives his fullest effort practicing day in and day out.

“I have put countless hours in the mat room,” Nelson said. “I make it a goal to outwork my opponents.”

According to Wittlake, Nelson’s state title was not just a big feat for him, but was also a huge accomplishment for his coaches.

“Thaddeus’ state title was big for me as well, knowing that I helped him go from an average middle school wrestler to a state champ,” Wittlake said.

Many people think Nelson could wrestle at the next level, including Wittlake, who wrestled at the collegiate level at Clackamas Community College. He even thinks Nelson could be an Olympic athlete.

“I believe Thaddeus could make it all the way to an Olympic athlete if that’s what he wants to do,” Wittlake said.

Nelson also tries very hard to be as good in the classroom as he is at wrestling. Nelson said he has a 3.6 GPA. Though Nelson hoped to attend a Division I school right out of high school he first has to complete his foreign language credits at SWOCC. He will also continue to wrestle in college.

“I plan on going to SWOCC for a couple of years then transferring to Oregon State University,” Nelson said.

Nelson is already looking to repeat as a state champion. His recent win at the Coast Classic, which features some of the best wrestlers in Oregon, makes that look possible this season as well.

“I really want to get another title,” Nelson said. “Winning the Coast Classic really helped my confidence to get another one.”