By Alan Samson
Redshirt Sophomore Nate Galloway came to Shorter University as a walk-on wrestler from Pebblebrook High School in 2010. Since then, Galloway has become one of the nation’s top wrestlers in NAIA after his All-American performance in his sophomore year. He plans to continue his dominance in the NCAA Division II.
Galloway started wrestling in high school when his new head football coach asked him to join the wrestling team. He was new to the sport and knew nothing about getting on the mat.
“My high school coach asked me after the season to try out for his wrestling team so I tried out,” said Galloway.
Galloway performed best in his junior year in high school. He qualified for the state tournament and placed fifth overall. His senior year he did not place at all in the state tournament. Galloway believes this hurt his chances of being recruited for wrestling out of high school.
“By not placing at state, colleges didn’t get to see me perform on the biggest stage and I think that is why I wasn’t highly recruited,” said Galloway.
Galloway signed with Shorter as a preferred walk-on and came in his freshman year and didn’t know what to expect. Shorter had signed a few state champions at the 133 pounds, and Galloway felt like the year was a toss-up.
“When I came in, I didn’t really have a whole lot of pressure on me. I didn’t get a lot of coaching in high school, since the coach was the football coach, but because I was so athletic, when I came in and got some actual coaching I was able to progress really well,” Galloway said.
Based on his performance and progress through his freshman year, Galloway earned a scholarship and set high goals for his sophomore season. He finished in the top 12 at the national tournament his freshman year.
Going into his sophomore year, the wrestling team began to go to bigger and better tournaments. Galloway said that is what helped him most during his run to the national tournament in his second year.
“Bigger tournaments meant better competition so I was able to train better throughout the year,” Galloway said.
The region Galloway had to wrestle in at the regional tournament was packed with competitive opponents. Galloway finished sixth overall in regions and qualified for the national tournament. In the national tournament Galloway won his first two matches before facing what he said was his toughest opponent.
“My third match was against a guy I had never beaten before. I had lost to him five times before. Twice earlier during my sophomore year and three times my freshman year. My coach told me I just had to go out there and wrestle so I did and I ended up winning in a big upset,” Galloway recalled.
This was a huge win for Galloway. This put him through to the semi-finals and gave him the All-American status.
“That was my biggest win. Not only did it advance me in the tournament, but I also beat one of my biggest rivals to become an All-American,” he explained.
Following his big win, Galloway fell short in the semi-finals and ended his run in the national tournament. The transition to NCAA Division II gave Galloway a chance to redshirt and take a year to practice and be prepared for the years when Shorter is no longer on probation. Galloway plans to wrestle in the club championship and bring home a ring for Shorter.
His final year at Shorter, he will be wrestling in Division II. Galloway is confident that his abilities will transfer nicely to the next level of competition.
“I plan to be a NCAA Division II All-American. In fact, I guarantee a national championship my senior year,” said Galloway.