SportsStudent Athlete of the Week


Comets' Russell gets set to take to the air after high school

Granby soccer and wrestler is the Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week
Posted at 11:51 PM, Feb 17, 2023

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Granby's Nolan Russell has his own interpretation of how he got started in sports as a kid.

"My mom put me in sports when I was younger to kind of keep me busy because she basically said I was really annoying when I was young," he laughed.

Whether or not his mother refutes that account, Nolan is making the most of it. For starters, he earned the Region 5B wrestling championship at 120 lbs. Not bad for a guy who's only been competing in the sport since his freshman year of high school.

"My good friend actually started wrestling and I was like 'you know, it's not soccer season. I have nothing else to do, so I might as well wrestle,'" Nolan recalled.

"He's come a really long way in two years," Granby head wrestling coach Caleb Richardson added. "If he would have been wrestling as his main sport since he was young, who knows how good he could have been."

Taking to the mat has only been part of Nolan's skillset for four years. His main focus has always been on the pitch as a soccer midfielder.

"Soccer is definitely my first love," he said. "Wrestling is kind of the side sport for me."

Whether its on the mat or the soccer field, sports has given the Comet senior plenty of skills he can apply outside of the arena.

"Learning key skills like discipline and perseverance, I think that can all be gained through sports," pointed out Nolan. "I think that's more important than winning or losing at the end of the day."

The senior's talents stretch far beyond athletics. He has a 4.8 GPA, plays two instruments in the band and performs community service. Russell also serves as treasurer for Future Business Leaders of America. Balancing school and all of his activities can be a challenge, but he says it all comes down to organization.

"For me, it's just time management, having a schedule and sticking to my schedule," he said. "That's what helps me personally."

"I just love how he's so driven in so many areas," Richardson said. "He exceeds in academics, athletics, socially. He's just all around excellence."

Nolan's job on the wrestling mat this winter is to take opponents down to the ground, but after high school, his goal is to take to the air. He'll be attending the United States Naval Academy.

"Over the summer I did a flight internship and that sparked my interest in aviation," Nolan told us. "I've also been around a lot of military pilots and just talking to them and getting a feel for what life in the military is really like, I decided I want to go to the Naval Academy to become a pilot."

Nolan fell in his first bout at the Class 5 state championships on Friday, but picked up two victories before eventually being eliminated. He'll now turn his attention to his senior soccer season.

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