By Brian Jerzak
After moving to Wisconsin as a baby, Gavin Nelson put together a stellar youth record wrestling and training in Wisconsin. When he entered junior high, Gavin and his family decided to move back to Minnesota – in part – to try to further Gavin's wrestling career. When Nelson first stepped into the Simley wrestling room as a 7th grader, the coaching staff threw him right in with the varsity. The new Spartans' first practice did not go well.
"My first Simley practice in 7th grade," Nelson said, "I got right into it with all the varsity guys. In my first practice, I threw up so much because I was not ready for that level of practice. Coach (Will) Short got me into shape quickly. I was not ready for that grind, but once I got used to it, it was a huge game-changer for me."
The game changed to the tune of becoming a three-time state place winner, a one-time state champion, and a member of the 2021 U.S. Cadet World Championships team.
Long before entering the Spartans' wrestling room, Nelson was playing youth soccer.