Nick Rehfuss has become a great wrestler.
And the Archbishop Ryan High School senior owes it all to mom.
“When I was in fourth grade, I was playing different sports and my mom suggested I try wrestling,” Rehfuss said. “I liked it at first, I had fun because it was so competitive, that’s what kept me doing it. I was wrestling for the Ryan junior program, so I’ve been around the team for a long time. I liked it right away.”
He’s liking it even more these days.
Rehfuss helped the Raiders qualify for the Catholic League playoffs, then he helped them knock off Father Judge in the first round of the playoffs.
The next match was special, too. Ryan came up short against the defending champs, Conwell-Egan, who went on to win its second Catholic League championship in as many seasons. But in the loss, a 55-18 loss to the Eagles, Rehfuss scored a pinfall victory to earn his 100th career victory. He became the eighth Raider to reach the century mark, and he did it despite missing time during his sophomore year because of the pandemic.
He would have much rather the win come in a team victory, which he values way more than individual wins, but he still recognizes it’s a great achievement.
“It was big, it was really big, it proved to myself and other people, that all of my hard work paid off,” said Rehfuss, who now has 101 wins heading into postseason tournaments. “From my team, my family, my coaches, everyone who helped me, it showed me that it was all worth it.
“It was really nice. After, we had a little pizza party. It was nice. I didn’t have to worry about making weight, so I was able to eat.”
Rehfuss started his high school career wrestling at 138 pounds. This year, he mostly wrestled at 160 pounds, but occasionally bumped up to 172. The bigger his opponents got, the harder it was, but he enjoyed a great season. He sits at 28-5 this year with 21 pins and one major decision to his credit. He also accepted one forfeit. He’s only two wins shy of his best season, his junior campaign, when he finished 30-10. His career record is 101-41.
“I think I handled moving up pretty well,” Rehfuss said. “My coach always said if you keep working hard, you can help the team. I was focusing on that. The coaches taught me everything I know, so I always listen to them.”
This year was a good one for the Raiders, considering their inexperience. They didn’t reach the ultimate goal, a Catholic League championship, but it was still a great year for Rehfuss and his teammates.
“I’m so proud, we’re a really young team, we did a lot better than anyone thought we would,” Rehfuss said. “I think we won 16 dual matches, that’s pretty impressive, almost half of the team is guys starting out or second year wrestling. I think we did pretty well. The experienced guys always try to help out the younger guys. And the younger guys got a lot better. It’s hard. It’s hard to get better, but they worked really hard. I thought we had a great season.”
Rehfuss also credits his teammates for making him better.
For a wrestler to get better, he needs a good partner in the wrestling room. Rehfuss named Alex Pfeffer as someone who pushes him every day in practice. It showed in Pfeffer’s record, too. The 145-pounder is 31-3 on the season.
“We always practice together every single day,” Rehfuss said of Pfeffer. “He’s a senior, too. He had a lot to do with this, definitely, we both challenge each other to do our best. It really helps wrestling someone who can test you, and I think we both help each other.”
Rehfuss also puts time in during the offseason to get better, and not just by working out with other wrestlers.
The past two seasons he’s competed on Ryan’s crosscountry team. Prior to that, he was a football player. Since his sophomore year, he’s been on the track team, mostly competing in the hurdles.
“I guess I do it more to stay in shape for wrestling, but I really like it a lot,” Rehfuss said. “Once I did it, I started liking it. Those coaches bring a good surrounding along with the team. It’s always fun to be around them. I’m looking forward to track season. I have had some great coaches in all sports.”
He’s starting to look ahead to next year. He hopes to continue wrestling, and is deciding on a major. He’s interested in both physical therapy and sports management.
Whatever he does, he’ll leave Ryan with an impressive resume. His grade point average is 4.65.
And while he works hard in both the wrestling room and the classroom, he is quick to point out he didn’t do this alone. He has 100 wins, but he’s happy to share the glory.
“I’m lucky to have great people around,” said Rehfuss, who is also a member of Athletes Helping Athletes. “My parents are very supportive. Besides my parents, my coaches, they’ve always been there the same as my parents. They push me to be the best I can.”