Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 17, 2014

Young wrestler believes he must go hard or go home

VALDOSTA — Meeting an 11-year-old with the motto “Go hard, or go home” is a little unusual, but not all 11-year-olds have the winning drive that Noah Pettigrew has. Noah is like every other fifth-grade boy. He loves his family, his pets, his friends, and sports. But when it comes to sports, that is where Noah differs from other children his age.

The sports that Noah plays include baseball, football, soccer and wrestling; he is trying to get into dirt-bike racing, too. But Noah excels in wrestling.

He ranks in the top 12 percent of wrestlers in the nation on TrackWrestling.com. Noah has 27 wins, 16 of which are by pins, and three losses, according to the website.

The reason why Noah ranks so high among other wrestlers in the nation is because he won nationals at the intermediate level in 2011 when he wrestled in the 75-pound weight class; in 2013, Noah came in fifth place in nationals in the same division, in the 84-pound weight class.

Noah has wrestled in the Georgia state championship five years in a row. He won the state championship in 2010, weighing 65 pounds; in 2012, weighing 88 pounds; and in 2014, weighing 110 pounds. Noah came in second place in the state championship in 2011, weighing 75 pounds, and in 2013, weighing 84 pounds.

Because of his wins, at one point Noah rose to the top seventh percentile in the nation on TrackWrestling.com.

When asked what his favorite move is, Noah struggled to find one favorite, but instead came up with his top three.

“My favorite moves to get someone in is probably the head and arm, double chicken wing, or bulldog,” Noah said.

His mother, Heather Pettigrew, said that during the 2012 state championship, Noah won the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award because in that tournament he had five pins, which was the most pins of the day.

To stay in shape, Noah enjoys running and cross-fitness. He is very grateful to all of his coaches because they push him to work harder and he loves his grandparents because they help him with his homework, and drive him to practices, when needed.

For an 11-year-old, Noah has an outstanding work ethic, and when asked, “Why do you strive to win?” Noah answers, “Because I hate losing.”

Jay Pettigrew, Noah’s father, said they had to overcome Noah’s attitude when he lost.

“He doesn’t like to lose, but he’s come a long, long way with that,” Jay said. “I used to throw my headgear,” Noah added. Heather said, “But he’s not throwing his head gear anymore.” Jay said, “He has learned how to wrestle more maturely.”

Noah’s goal for wrestling is to win the Triple Crown, this is when a wrestler wins the state tournament in all three divisions: Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman. He is already one-third of the way towards completing his goal because he won state in the Folkstyle division.

His wrestling role model is Jordan Burroughs.

Even though Noah is such an amazing wrestler, he enjoys football more.

“Wrestling keeps me in shape for football,” Noah said. “I like football more because you can make more money playing football.”

Last year Noah played quarterback for his all-star team, but he also plays linebacker on his football team.

“I like football because I get to hit people really hard. And I like quarterback because I get to aim the ball and run. I am better at quarterback,” Noah said. “I want to be good at football because it is fun.”

Noah’s football idol is Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan.

During his spare time, Noah enjoys racing motorcycles with his friend and wrestling partner, Cade Powell. He also enjoys fishing.

“I also like to fish at my grandma’s. I caught a big 14-pound grass carp last summer,” Noah said.

Noah trains very hard to accomplish his goals, and he’s going to try winning the state tournament in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman this year.

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