Brahma battles in the Big Apple

Having started wrestling as a sophomore, DBHS’ alumnus Nathan Pike now stands as a NCAA champion.

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Brahma battles in the Big Apple

Nathan Pike was a three time league champion during his time at DBHS. He was Rookie of the Year in 2013 at Mt. SAC.

Nathan Pike was a three time league champion during his time at DBHS. He was Rookie of the Year in 2013 at Mt. SAC.

Photo Courtesy of UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Nathan Pike was a three time league champion during his time at DBHS. He was Rookie of the Year in 2013 at Mt. SAC.

Photo Courtesy of UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Photo Courtesy of UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Nathan Pike was a three time league champion during his time at DBHS. He was Rookie of the Year in 2013 at Mt. SAC.

Ingrid Chan, Staff Writer

With no prior experience, Diamond Bar High School alumnus Nathan Kenji Pike first stepped foot on the wrestling mat as a high school sophomore and made it onto the varsity lineup in his first year.  Now, after only eight years, Pike has become New York University’s first ever NCAA Wrestling Champion.

Pike had more achievements during his time at NYU than just becoming the 2017 NCAA champion.  In his three years there, he was a three time NCAA All-American, two time NCAA finalist, team MVP, and recipient of the 2016 Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Though no one else in Pike’s family wrestles, it was his father who first encouraged him to try out for the high school team. To this day, Pike’s dad is his biggest supporter and fan.

“My high school semi-finals match at Masters was the best because I beat a very high ranked guy and my dad ended up storming the mat and jumping over a railing while star-fishing in the air,” Pike said. “I have a video of that somewhere and it’s absolutely comical.”

But his dad isn’t the only one who encouraged Pike. DBHS coaches Scott Usher, Marcus Johnson and Jack Cooprider have had an impact on his success, teaching moves that Pike used in the NCAA Championship.

During his time at DBHS, Pike was one of the school’s most successful wrestlers, becoming a three-time league champion, placing second in both CIF and Masters and qualifying for state.  He was also Rookie of the Year, team MVP, and Lower Weight MVP.

“I loved everyone on my team at DBHS and I’d say the guy who pushed me in the room the most was Raymond Sierra. He and I were co-captains and we were always training partners in the room,” Pike said.

After graduating DBHS in 2012, Pike attended Mt. SAC, taking a redshirt year to allow himself to get acclimated to the new environment. Although he only attended for a year, Pike won the 2013 CCCAA Individual State Championship title and was named Rookie of the Year. Pike’s shining memory at Mt. SAC was his match at the State Finals.  

Pike had never been in the State finals before and almost lost, but a last second takedown secured his victory.  The win led to NYU’s recruitment.  

Pike lost his first NCAA Finals match by four points in 2016, but it only motivated him to win it the next year.  In the 2017 NCAA Finals, he ended his collegiate career with a pin and became the first NCAA champion in NYU history.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. My friends and family all came out to watch me and everyone was so happy with the outcome,” Pike said. “My teammates hopped a fence about 10 feet high and stormed the match to congratulate me and everything was perfect.”

Pike has been involved in sports his entire life.  Prior to wrestling, he played golf, tennis, soccer and basketball, practiced mixed martial arts and swam.  Having experience in mixed martial arts gave him an edge over other high school wrestlers, explaining his rapid rise to varsity, according to Pike.                

“The most enjoyable part about the sport is how competitive it is and how anyone can beat anyone. The feeling you get from winning in this sport is unparalleled,” Pike said. “The bonds you make in the room are unbreakable bonds that last a lifetime.”

He plans to coach in the future, but doesn’t expect to be a full time coach.  Pike also hopes to visit California often to see old friends and coaches, though he plans to remain in New York.