Athlete of the Week (Nov. 27-Dec. 2): Joey Nicholson

ROCKINGHAM — Joey Nicholson has been named the Daily Journal’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Monday, Nov. 27.

Nicholson is a sophomore for the Richmond wrestling team who won all four of his bouts, two by pinfall and two by forfeit, at the Raider Rumble 2 this past Saturday. Nicholson took down Douglas Byrd’s Royal Hamilton in the 113-pound weight class and then pinned Holly Springs’ Nathaniel Wright at 106 to close his day.

He boasts an 13-1 record so far this season — his only defeat being an 8-4 decision to Lumberton’s Sincere Johnson in the team’s season-opening meet. Since then he’s won nine consecutive bouts.

“It feels good because last year I didn’t get off to as good as a start as I have this year. So I know I’m improving and getting better,” Nicholson said.

Last season, Nicholson said he struggled with his cradles because he wasn’t as strong as he needed to be. This season, however, he’s gotten stronger and has made up for a lot of those missed cradles from his freshman campaign.

The sophomore has won three bouts in the 113-pound weight class, though his normal weight is at 106.

“I’ve just been training with my moves, practicing with top wrestlers and paying attention at practice,” he added.

Nicholson, a four-sport athlete, says he wants to make it to — and place in — the state competition. He hopes to do so under the direction of his father and head coach Earl Nicholson, who’s been coaching at Richmond for 24 years.

“It’s hard doing my own thing because he’s always screaming from the sideline,” the younger Nicholson said with a laugh. “Whenever I’m about to do something, he screams something else.”

Below are Nicholson’s answers to three of the questions presented by the Daily Journal:

Q: Who’s your favorite athlete?

A: Kevin Jack, he goes to N.C. State. He’s a three-time ACC (wrestling) champion and he should’ve won nationals but they keep putting his teammate in his place.

Q: What’s your favorite sport? Why?

A: Wrestling because it gives you a chance to challenge yourself and improve to get better against other people.

Q: Who’s your biggest influence?

A: My dad because in all my sports he’s usually my coach and he’s always training me.