When Coach Nick Mayer arrived at the 2017 Vermont State Wrestling Championships he was unaware of the history that was about to be made. At around 6:30 PM on Saturday February 25, 2017, Mike Baker took to the microphone. As their names were called, The coaches jogged up, shook hands with their fellow Vermont coaches, in their finals “finery”, and took their place to the applause of fans and family. The coaches lined up encircling the raised platform, poised for the upcoming finals matches. Moments later Coach Nick Mayer of Mount Abraham High School was named 2017 Coach of the Year!
Wrestling as a young man in the Rhode Island Prep School league, he achieved runner up at Southern New England Sectionals, along with placing 5th Kelsey Prep School New England’s. In 2016 the National Wrestling Coaches Association awarded him VT Assistant Coach of the Year. Mayer told me, that in his experience the level of sportsmanship in Vermont is outstanding, whereas in other parts of New England the focus in wrestling takes a different direction. Wrestling in Vermont, coaching in Vermont is like working with a band of brothers, other coaches with the same direction and mindset helping to grow the sport.
I asked him about the 2017 Award and he told me “It was pretty surreal, to be honest”. He said that he was truly honored to be voted by his coaching peers, to receive the award. It was a complete surprise. Although Mayer has been coaching wrestling in Vermont for over ten years, and been involved in fostering the youth wrestling program in northern Vermont, he has only been Head Coach at Mt. Abe, for a year. The High School program for many years was, as Coach Mayer described, “hanging by a thread”. He has succeed in bringing up the numbers and feeding wrestlers into the High School Wrestling program. This is a great achievement, worthy of high praise.
This year’s honor is especially poignant since Coach Mayer’s son Roman, a sophomore at Mt. Abraham High School won his title match by fall, over MAU’s Keenan Taylor to become State Champion in the 120 LB weight class. Roman also received the Outstanding Wrestler Award, to add to his hardware. There hasn’t been a State Champion at Mt. Abe since 1997 nor has there been an Outstanding Wrestler Award for a Mt. Abe Wrestler in 42 Years! Additionally the last Coach of the Year for Mt. Abe was in 1981. Those are mind-boggling statistics since this year they sent three qualifiers to the New England Championships.
I am sure that in the future we will see great things from Mt. Abraham High School Wrestling. Congratulations Coach Mayer on a great season and the Coach of the Year 2017 award. We will be sure to watch for great things for you in the future.