NIC wrestler once overlooked, now center of attention

Garrett Cabeza, Sports Editor
March 5, 2013

When a wrestler graduates from high school and travels to Paraguay for a two-year Mormon mission, his return to the United States usually does not result in interest from college wrestling coaches.

This was the case for NIC sophomore All-American wrestler Jarrett Morrill. The 141-pounder from Logan, Utah, returned from Paraguay in March of 2011 hoping that college coaches would realize his wrestling skills are as pristine as his Spanish.

Since no college coaches recruited him as a result of him being out of the country for two years, Morrill decided to email coaches.

He looked up the NJCAA national results from 2011 and he noticed Clackamas Community College (Oregon City, Oregon) finished first and North Idaho College, one of its rivals in Region 18, finished second that year.

Morrill emailed both NIC coach Pat Whitcomb and the coach at Clackamas to see if they would be interested in letting him walk-on.

Morrill also emailed a Division II coach from Nebraska.

Whitcomb and assistant coach Keri Stanley emailed him back and invited him to come up north to try to walk-on.

“So after thinking about it a lot, I decided to come up here just because it seemed like it was a good program, and it was closer to home than Oregon was,” Morrill said. “So it was the best fit considering I wanted to go to a good program that was close.”

Whitcomb knew right away that he was going to be a hard worker and great addition to the team, but the immediate success he had surprised Whitcomb.

“I had no idea he would jump in and make an impact like he did his first year as an All-American,” Whitcomb said. “But after watching him in the first month of the season, you could tell he was going to be in the mix because of how hard he worked.”

Morrill finished eighth at nationals last year. After losing his first match in overtime, he won four consecutive matches to place.

“Going into nationals this year, I’ll be ready for every match and ready to wrestle the whole match and not let up because I don’t want to make those same mistakes,” Morrill said.

Morrill will have an opportunity at a national championship Feb. 22 and 23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The sky’s the limit for him, Whitcomb said. “I’m just really excited how it turns out for him.”

Because Morrill has suffered some losses this season, he has been motivated to work harder in practice and beyond. Morrill has been running every day on the treadmill for at least three miles.

“It’s lit a fire under me and it helped me work harder in a way that I probably wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t had those losses,” Morrill said.

Whitcomb said Morrill is “second to none” when it comes to work ethic.

“If we had everyone that worked as hard as Jarrett, then we would have no problems whatsoever here,” Whitcomb said.

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