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Off the Mat with Wrestler Bo Nickal

Sept. 25, 2015

By Logan Mayo, Strategic Communications Student Assistant

University Park, PA. — Red-shirt freshman Bo Nickal, a native of Allen, Texas, is ready to bring his ample wrestling talents to the Nittany Lion lineup this upcoming season. Besides the lengthy list of goals he has set for himself on the mat, he has just as many goals set once he hangs up his singlet. Studying Kinesiology, Nickal is ready to make a name for himself in whatever he pursues.

In 2014, Nickal embarked on his journey to the east coast. Growing up knowing about wrestling and the NCAA, he knew there was no better match for him than Penn State. “It really was a no brainer for me,” said Nickal. “It is the best place overall to be in the country regardless of location.”

Even though Penn State had one of the best wrestling programs in the country during his application process, academics was a prime and driving factor in his choosing to come to Happy Valley. Originally coming into University with a different major, Nickal realized after taking his first course load during the summer of 2014 that he wanted to pursue a different career path than he originally thought.

“Once I took my first seminar, I immediately realized that I was not interested in what I thought I was,” said Nickal. “After that, it made me think, ‘what could I do to stay active and also be able to help people in the process?’ After some research and thought, I decided Kinesiology was the right fit for me.”

In studying Kinesiology, Nickal plans on taking his career to the next level by attending professional schooling in order to become a chiropractor once his wrestling career winds down.

The Kinesiology department at Penn State is ranked one of the top programs in the entire the country. The program allows students to engage in comprehensive courses, studying human movement to better prepare them for a profession involving various forms of physical activity.

Being from Texas and 24 hours from his hometown, the Penn State community has made a home away from home for Nickal right here in University Park. Having to adjust to college and life as a student-athlete, the transition was made easy because of all of the people here at the University.

“My coaches, teammates, and the people I have been surrounded with since I got here, they are just incredible. All of these guys have such high goals and have accomplished so much already, it really just makes it a lot easier for me by being surrounded by those kinds of people and being in an environment of wanting to pursue excellence in the same way,” said Nickal.

Though he has some of the most acclaimed coaches in the world by his side, they are just as disciplined in the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex as they are in study hall. Entering his freshman year, he is required to complete a certain amount of study hours each week until earning an appropriate grade point average, along with every first-semester athlete.

When it comes to studying, Nickal does not like to procrastinate. “I like to space out my work over a longer period of time, rather than saving it all and cramming at the last minute,” said Nickal.

Both of Nickal’s parents were teachers growing up, which instilled good habits in him as far academics and athletics. “When it comes to studying and staying on top of it, if I was ever to slack, they would have me cut that out really quick. It was never accepted to do poorly in school; it was something that was necessary for me to be able to pursue athletics.” He has used this mindset at Penn State not only excel in the classroom but also benefitting him when it comes to balancing his busy schedule.

Outside of his work on the mat and in the classroom, Nickal is heavily involved in Penn State Christian Athletics (PSCA). This is a student-run organization designed to help students grow in their Christian faith. This organization collaborates with other local Christian organizations and churches whom all share the same desire to reach college students and athletes to renew, discuss and flourish in their faith.

Speaking very highly of this organization, Nickal said that the people involved and what he has learned has inspired him. The organization meets twice a week, once for Bible Study and once for a Sunday night dinner. Many athletes are involved and those that are have used the passion for their faith to strive here at Penn State.

Counting down the days until the season begins, Bo Nickal is ready to make the Penn State community proud.