Most gritty wrestling tales don’t start with a love story. This one does.
Mike Funk met Colleen Senich at Northwestern within the late 1980s, the place he was a four-time All-American wrestler whereas she was a three-time All-American area hockey participant who additionally starred in lacrosse. The 2 have been inducted into Northwestern’s Corridor of Fame in 2004.
It was that romance and subsequent marriage which might go on to have main results on the Colorado highschool wrestling scene some three a long time later, with the third of the Funk’s 5 wrestling sons making his title well-known this winter.
Following within the footsteps of older brothers Nolan and Aidan, each of whom now wrestle on the Colorado College of Mines, junior Grady Funk was ranked No. 1 by On The Mat in Class 5A at 160 kilos coming into regionals, the place he took runner-up. And as his dad defined, Grady’s grappling abilities have progressed much more quickly than these of his older brothers.
“Nolan didn’t actually begin to blossom till about midway via his junior season, Aidan appeared to be a few 12 months forward of that, after which Grady a little bit sooner than that,” Mike Funk stated. “They’ve every began to blossom earlier, and I believe that’s from having an older brother undergo the method and with the ability to watch all the things they’ve been via.”
Grady watched Nolan and Aidan each develop into captains at Legacy, the place the duo racked up a mixed 200 varsity wins and three podium appearances at state. He additionally witnessed the anguish every of them endured after dropping state title matches, Nolan at 195 in 2016 and Aidan at 170 final season.
“Each of them sort of received caught within the finals,” Grady Funk recalled. “I bear in mind Nolan tried to throw his man and received caught (within the transfer), and Aiden received caught in a cradle a little bit bit. Each of them gave up pointless again factors, which is actually what misplaced them the matches. If I’m lucky to get there, I’m going to attempt to hold good place.”
Contemplating the Funks wrestle to a “gradual peak,” as Lightning coach Mike Thompson defined, what Grady accomplishes in the course of the state match on the Pepsi Heart this Thursday via Saturday will solely be the beginning of a profession with loads of extra ceiling to achieve. Grady has hopes of incomes a Division I scholarship, though he acknowledged becoming a member of his brothers at Division II College of Mines can also be a chance.
“He’s a tactical wrestler who’s very related in model to his brothers,” Thompson stated. “He has stable approach and he wins with the foundations of wrestling. He wins with fundamental strikes and he simply does it higher than the subsequent man.”
The 5-foot-10 Grady (30-12 this season) acknowledged he “doesn’t attempt to drive photographs,” however quite his effectiveness is underscored by his potential to learn the opponent.
“I look ahead to openings the opposite man offers me, and rating off these,” he stated.
The older brothers consider Grady’s able to elevate his efficiency from his sixth-place end in the identical weight at state final 12 months.
“It’s one factor wrestling at state, and it’s one other factor wrestling on the market with just a few different matches occurring, below the lights, in entrance of that many individuals,” Aidan Funk stated, “it’s a whole lot of strain, however he’s seen me and Nolan do it, and we’ve talked to him. He’s received a very good deal with on what to anticipate from that.”
The Funk household can be available Thursday as preliminaries get underway downtown. Nolan and Aidan can be there, as will the dad and mom who gifted Grady his uber-athletic genes. Additionally in attendance all through the weekend can be youthful brothers Gavin, a freshman at Legacy, and Quinn, a seventh grader.
There can be loads of watching and studying taking place — with the 2 youngest brothers envisioning their very own function on Colorado wrestling’s largest stage briefly time.