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NATE ULRICH: Petrov family keeps priorities straight

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By Nate Ulrich - Times Columnist | Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:00 am | No Comments Posted

 

Font Size:Default font sizeLarger font sizeIf there was ever a shiny, polished trophy designated for Northwest Indiana's greatest "wrestling family," it would go to the Petrov clan of Cedar Lake.

 

You simply can't miss them at wrestling functions in the Region. They're too visible, too intense and too good to blend in with the crowds. When it comes to local meets, they're as omnipresent as singlets and funky odors.

 

Hanover Central senior John Petrov, the middle child of Nick and Bessie's three boys, recently bolstered his family's wrestling legacy by signing a national letter of intent to continue his career at the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. He's expecting to start for the Cougars as a 125-pound freshman.

 

How is this different than any other college commitment, you might ask?

 

Well, George, the oldest Petrov boy, graduated from Hanover Central in 2007 and went on to wrestle for Purdue University. And Hanover Central sophomore Paul, the youngest Petrov boy, is the most talented of the bunch and certainly will attract several suitors from Division I programs in the near future.

 

But there's a twist to this tale: Nick, who's Hanover Central's wrestling coach, swears he doesn't send his boys to college for wrestling. He sends them for a more important reason, one that he and Bessie hammer home with the same passion they display during their boys' mat adventures.

 

"The most important thing is that my boys get a good college education," Nick said. "If wrestling is the tool that gives us the opportunity to get that education, to help us with that, that's awesome because after wrestling is over, there's probably not a lot of things they're gonna be able to do with wrestling, except to teach other kids about the sport. But the life lessons that come along with it should help them have good character and be better people."

 

Sounds too good to be true, huh? Like pure coach speak, right? With the Petrovs, though, it's a genuine answer.

 

For example, John wants to become an elementary school teacher, maybe even a principal one day. About 60 percent of his tuition at SIU-Edwardsville will be covered by his scholarship, but John said he would have declined the Cougars' offer and chosen another school if the academics were not a good fit. Fortunately for Cougars wrestling coach David Ray, John will be able to major in elementary education at SIU-Edwardsville, whose campus is about a 25-minute drive from downtown St. Louis.

 

"I'm going to school to become an elementary teacher," said John, who has a 3.4 grade-point average. "I'm not going to school to be a wrestler. (Elementary education is) what brought me there in the first place. If they didn't have that, then I wouldn't have gone there."

 

The Petrovs might be the area's greatest "wrestling family," but they're also just a great family, wrestling or no wrestling.

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at nate.ulrich@nwi.com.

 

Posted in Nate-ulrich on Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 7:00 am. | Tags: Commentary, Hanover Central High School, Hanover Central Wildcats, Prep Wrestling, College Sports, Prep Sports, Columnists

 

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The Petrovs might be the area's greatest "wrestling family," but they're also just a great family, wrestling or no wrestling.

 

 

I'll second that....  :)

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