Final beatdown: Teacher wins world championship in wrestling

Grant Myatt, Features Editor

Experience is key for Rob Porter, math teacher and head wrestling coach, who doesn’t just concentrate on wrestling while coaching. For Porter, wrestling is part of his life.

Porter is an active wrestler in the veterans division, a league for athletes after the Olympic level, and competed in the world championships in Switzerland this summer, winning first place.

“I competed in early April and early May in the national tournament in the U.S. and won in all three styles of wrestling,” Porter said.

Porter previously wrestled in the world championships in 2001, and also in Switzerland, taking third place.

After Porter learned that the world championships would be in Switzerland again this year at a convenient date, he couldn’t say no.

“I always wanted to try [the world championships] again, and because it was in Switzerland where I have great memories, I decided to go and try it again,” he said.

At the world championships Porter wrestled in division B and won all three matches, making him the world champion for his weight and age group.

“It was the best feeling; I felt like my head was in the clouds,” Porter said. “It was truly a tremendous experience.”

His victory came with a lot of hard work and discipline. Porter’s workout consists of running, weightlifting, wrestling and controlling his diet.

“I try to be very disciplined about all the different aspects of training: from conditioning, strength, diet and sleep,” Porter said. “I tried to take some of the lessons I’ve learned from the past and the things that I ask my wrestlers to do [and do them myself].”

Another aspect is staying injury-free, he said. One week before the tournament Porter injured his knee, which he said was a challenge to overcome, but it ended up working out okay.

Besides the exercise, Porter focused his time and energy on the mental aspects of training.

“I read a few book on mental toughness,” Porter said. “[It] ended up being a tremendous aspect of the effort; because of [my] injury I had to work hard to get my frame of mind in the right place to be successful.”

Being in the right mindset helped him keep his priorities straight and focus on his training.

“I really focused on what was important and the things that I could control and couldn’t control,” Porter said.

After this experience, Porter said he looks forward to this year’s wrestling season and being able to “share some things that I learned and help some of our athletes at Central and their efforts to be successful.”

Being an active wrestler also benefits his abilities as a coach and the knowledge of the wrestlers on Central’s team. Porter demonstrates and can relate to his athletes at a different level, from having experienced the things he asks them to do.

“The teaching aspect is great because I can draw upon my own experiences, and I think our kids benefit from that,” Porter said. “I can show the techniques that I was successful with, helping them to do their best.”

Throughout his career, Porter was a high school state champion, two-time NCAA qualifier, wrestled in the open (Olympic) division and won the veteran division national championship title eight times.

Even after a successful summer, Porter sees this victory as good closure in his career.

“I kind of saw this effort as a grand finale and retiring now would kind of be a neat thing because I’m coming out on top,” Porter said. “So at this point, I’m retired [from wrestling].”

Porter said later on if he feels good he may give wrestling another shot, but he needs to take care of himself and have time for his family first.