From Undersized Eighth Grader to Three-Time State Champion: The Inspiring Transformation of Nolan Ambrose

By Brian Jerzak

Jackson County Central three-time state champion Nolan Ambrose didn’t walk into the JCC wrestling room and immediately dominate. He only got a handful of varsity matches in seventh grade and was an undersized 106-pounder as an eighth grader. Although the results weren’t there, Ambrose knew he was better than he was showing. For Minnesota high school wrestling fans, it was worth the wait.

“It was rough,” Ambrose said about his eighth-grade year. “I was 95 pounds. I think my record was around .500. I remember knowing I was better than most of the guys I was wrestling, but I was losing because I was lighter than them.”

“That off-season, I grew physically,” Ambrose continued. “I made big jumps in my technique and mentally. Something clicked. I found a new love for wrestling that summer. I knew I was right there – that pushed me.”

Ambrose focused on excelling in a different sport as a young kid.

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