Since moving to the area about seven months ago, Payton VonHolten is showing his Trophy Club Nelson wrestling teammates what a freshman can do.
VonHolten has been in the sport for four years, starting in Independence, Mo., and that experience is translating to early success.
Currently sporting a 25-5 record for Nelson, the 106-pounder is confident and focused on the mat and is leading the Bobcats through the holiday break.
His presence on the mat demonstrates his passion for the sport.
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Having already placed in each tournament, VonHolten is looking ahead to the district tournament later in February.
He earned a second place at the Arlington Invitational and then three third-place finishes, including his most recent outing at the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw tournament.
“It’s gone better than I hoped it would be,” VonHolten said. “I didn’t think I could hang with the big dogs, but so far I’m doing pretty good.”
As a team, too, the season for Nelson has been above expectations.
The Bobcats nabbed the Northwest ISD trophy, designating them as tops over Haslet Eaton and Justin Northwest.
For VonHolten, though, the constant work to get better, along with helping the other wrestlers, continues.
VonHolten planned to go only a day or two without a workout over the holiday break.
“We just can’t take that much time off,” he said.
Fortunately, VonHolten said his steady weight is just under 106, so he doesn’t have to spend too much time keeping his weight in check.
After the New Year, wrestlers will gain a two-pound growth allowance, too.
What has been a strength for VonHolten is his ability to escape from the bottom.
“I use a chain of moves,” he said. “Some guys I wrestle have one move and that’s all they have. I can lose the person and get out.”
VonHolten is solid on his feet, too, having also wrestled freestyle in the off-season.
“I’m definitely better on takedowns from that,” he said of wrestling freestyle.
Once VonHolten got to Texas, he also worked out with a club team – Punisher.
He said he’s still focused on improving his conditioning.
“I want to improve my stamina and not getting tired,” he said. “We go really hard in practices, and then I’ll run some in the mornings on my own.”
The transition to wrestling in Texas hasn’t been much of a hurdle for VonHolten. The wrestling in Missouri is more mature, but VonHolten said he sees very much the same level of competition.
The team aspect has also helped with the move to a new school.
“I love our team,” he said. “It’s like a family. We’re 4-2 in duals and have only three seniors. And we have a new coach (Duncan Iannucci) but there doesn’t seem to be much of a change. I’m learning there is more than one way to do a move.”