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(SB) – He once was a skinny kid who seemingly swam in his football uniform, and in wrestling he looked as if he was destined to be a little guy. Today, as a senior, you’d never know Tristan Navrkal is the same boy.
No, let me correct myself. At 6-3 and 182-pounds, a boy he is not. He’s a young man.
Tristan, the son of Brian and Angela Navrkal, had just finished up a tough team dual match versus a really rough opponent, Caleb Dekam of Central Lyon GLR. The SBL grappler won by one. He had trailed early in the match but pulled off a spectacular reversal in the first period and a take-down in the second that started him on his way to a 5-3 hard-fought win. Later, Navrkal went on to defeat Bishop Heelan’s Colin Hubbel, 6-1.
“It’s training year around,” he said about his big-time muscle growth, tremendous endurance, and wrestling skill. “Here at Sergeant Bluff, we just work harder than everybody else. That in itself gives us more energy and extra endurance, a factor that came into play the last seconds in my match again Dekam.”
What is amazing about Tristan is the fact that he’s in the bigger weights. When you watch two of these giants going at it on the mat you have to marvel at their dexterity, flexibility, movement, strength and power. That’s a lot of size going up against equal size… Kind of like days of old when men pulled out tree stumps by hand and ropes. Seriously.
The lighter guys, he said, “When it comes down to it, obviously, they’re wrestling at a higher tempo. Once you move up into the heavier weights, it becomes more of a strength battle. Like tonight against Dekam. I’d say he was equal to me in strength; so, yea, that makes it tough.”
Followers of SBL football remember Navrkal as the Warriors’ fullback. Whether he was called to plow through defenses for short-yardage, must-make first downs, or touchdown plunges, this young man made his body do the work. More often, he was called on to block. It didn’t matter if he squared off against a down lineman or a linebacker, Tristan not only was dead on target, but left a number of opponents on their backs.
He took his physical transition solely on his own shoulders.
“I lifted weights on a regular schedule, and I also learned about nutrition – how much protein I took in. It’s a science, really. You can work out and train, but you have to learn about what you are doing, why you’re doing it, and doing it correctly. You also have to consider muscle recovery. Much of this takes place during the off-season when you can concentrate on development. Once you’re into a particular season, your workout regimen changes to one of maintenance.”
Tristan said at SBL it’s all about re-loading. To do that, one class of athletes passes on their knowledge and experience to the next class.
“My freshman year we came in and had hard workers like Matt George, Jacob Shultz, Drew Girres, Sean Kellogg, and others who turned us into the leaders we are today. They led us through those summer workouts in football and set the stage for all of our programs at SB-L.”
No, he didn’t make it to the State tournament. Tristan lost out in the Districts, coming in a tough 3rd. Nevertheless, his contribution was about being a part of the team and learning. Tristan did both, and that’s something he will take with him the rest of his life.
Favorite academic subjects for Navrkal is both business and math. Upon graduation, he plans on attending the University of Iowa and enroll in the Business School. He wants to be a full-time student and takes the latter seriously, so as far as athletics go, his sports career will come to an end once he’s in college.
Tristan is a self-made young man, and there’s no reason to doubt he’ll go after life the same way he did in high school. You gotta admire his determination.