Truman Noble, an eighth-grader at Martinez Middle School, has qualified to competed at a national wrestling tournament next month.
The wrestler, the son of Steinbrenner High wrestling coach Paul Noble, will face off in the USA Wrestling Schoolboy National Duals in Indianapolis, from June 8 to June 12.
To take part in the prestigious tournament, the 136-pounder first had to make the Florida Schoolboy National Team roster.
He did that after winning his weight class (for his age group) at both the 2016 Father Devine National Qualifier, and the Freestyle and Greco Roman State Championships in Osceola.
“It felt good, it was shocking,” Noble said about making the roster. “I’m excited to see what I can do (at nationals).”
Despite Noble’s recent success, his father, Paul, noted that his son “struggled for years” at the sport until he began flourishing during the last 12 to 18 months.
“He’s started to really turn the corner,” said Paul, who’s been coaching wrestling at Steinbrenner High since the school’s opening in 2009.
“His skillset has always been pretty high as far as his technique, but getting things done on the mat hasn’t always translated from drills to being able to do it in a match situation. That’s just really kind of started to happen in the last year to year in a half,” he added.
The high school coach attributes his son’s recent triumphs on the mat to a heightened maturity and an increased commitment to becoming a more refined wrestler. He noted that the middle-schooler trains nearly every day.
The wrestler concurred. He said he has improved by “working hard and not giving up” when he loses.
Having a passion for the sport, combined with a competitor’s mentality, doesn’t hurt, either.
“It’s just fun,” said Truman, who’s been wrestling since third grade. “I like to compete at anything, just like if it’s backyard football or something.”
His son shows immense potential, but Paul noted that Truman will likely be facing older wrestlers when he enters Steinbrenner High because of his weight class.
Many gifted ninth-graders competed in the 106-pound or 113-pound weight class, but Truman is competing at a heavier weight.
That means there will be a steeper learning curve in order to be successful, the high school coach explained.
“He’s going to come in at 132 or 138 (pounds), and those kids are going to be juniors or seniors in high school. It’s going to take more of an effort to get to where he wants to be,” Paul said.
That work starts with hitting the weight room extensively this summer.
“I think his technique is fine, he’ll just have to continually get stronger and be ready for kids that are going to try to get him off of his game, get him out of his comfort zone — that’s what they’ll try to do to freshmen,” Truman’s father explained. “Some juniors and seniors don’t wrestle all year long, so they get kids that they know are probably more skilled than they are…and they try to beat them just with their physical prowess.
“If he gets stronger, he’ll be better,” he said.
Truman agrees, but said, “it definitely helps” to have a father that can continue to develop his wrestling skillset. He’s also excited to work with his dad more frequently once he joins the Steinbrenner High wrestling team.
Paul is “excited” too, but acknowledges that of the two, Truman is likely more enthusiastic about the future father-son wrestling scenario at Steinbrenner High.
“It’s nerve-wracking a little bit,” Paul acknowledged. “It’s a little different when it’s your kid, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Published May 25, 2016