A Champion in the Making: Nico Megaludis

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By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It all started with a big yellow mat in his basement.

Nico Megaludis grew up in Murrysville, Pa., with a father who loved the sport of wrestling and shared it with him at a young age.

8398443.jpeg"My dad, believe it or not, after college when he was older he decided to do some old man's tournaments," said Megaludis. "We had a yellow mat and I was always playing on it when I was young and he would take me to tournaments and I guess that was how I got started."

Megaludis said that the first time he wrestled competitively was at the age of five as a part of the Franklin Regional elementary team. His father, Dan Megaludis, wrestled in high school and helped him keep at it day in and day out.

"He was pretty much my coach," said Megaludis. "He coached our elementary, then junior high and then high school teams a little bit, but he knows my style of wrestling. To be honest, he knows it more than anyone because he's been around me so long."

Megaludis ended his high school wrestling career with a 170-1 overall record and three Pennsylvania State championships. His success on the mats continued in his first year as a Nittany Lion as he finished as the 2012 National Runner-Up at 125 and earned All-American status.

The Lion said that as he's grown in the sport and as he continues to compete, much of his wrestling mentality comes from the ideas instilled in him by his father.

"He always just told me to never just focus on winning but focus on dominating your opponent and wrestling as hard as you can for the seven minutes and that definitely contributes a lot to my style," said Megaludis.

After just a season of collegiate wrestling Megaludis said that while State College is no Murrysville, he feels right at home in the Penn State community.

"Everyone was so welcoming," said Megaludis looking back to his freshman debut. "They knew everything about me and they probably knew more about me than I knew about me so, I guess that kind of made me feel at home."

Coming out of high school, Megaludis said that he was excited to become a Nittany Lion but didn't know exactly what to expect of the Division I level. After a strong finish in 2012 the 125-pounder said that he's worlds more confident in himself heading into his sophomore campaign.

"I have a lot more experience now," said Megaludis. "Last year, before the season and everything, I knew I could be up there but I actually didn't have a test yet and wasn't tested yet. Now I've already been tested, I know what to expect and I just feel like there's no reason why I shouldn't go out there and try and just dominate everyone."

The lightweight said that he's looking to set a high standard for himself this year with the help of his standout teammates, who have already won quite a few titles of their own. Megaludis said that the diversity of athletes on his squad make wrestling for the Penn State program a unique experience.

"It's so cool because we have so many different personalities on our team," said Megaludis. "It's not just that everyone is just one personality. [Ed Ruth], he's Ed. He's just always in such a calm mood. [David Taylor]'s always making jokes and there are just a lot of things going on so that keeps you fresh. We're never down on ourselves."

But the sophomore said that if you asked one of his teammates what his personality was like or how they would describe him, they probably wouldn't have a very definite answer.

"I think they would just say, "That's Nico," because a lot of things I do are different," said Megaludis. "I'm one of my own."

With the support of his family, teammates, coaches and community, Megaludis said that he's never thought twice about continuing to be the best wrestler that he can be. He said that getting excited for a big match or competing in a big dual is a habit that he can't seem to shake, and that he likes it that way.

And when it comes down to the Penn State tradition and the team that he represents, Megaludis said that one word can describe what he and his teammates value most.

Attitude.

"Honestly, the attitude's the most important part of wrestling," said Megaludis. "How you view things, if you view things positive or negative, I think we look at the positive side and we're always keeping it cool and whenever it's go time, it's go time."

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