Servite wrestling varsity team captain aspires to become a Navy Seal

By Jenelyn Russo     8/14/2019

When Tristen Wilson began wrestling in middle school, his initial thought was that the sport would help him in his conditioning for football. He never envisioned that he would grow to love being on the mat as much as the gridiron. 

“I did [wrestling] with all of my close friends through the football program,” says Wilson. “I kept with it and continued to get better and better. Eventually, I fell in love with it.” 

The senior and three-year varsity wrestler at Servite High School competes in the 195-pound weight class for the Friars, alongside playing defensive end for the school’s varsity football team. The individual effort required for a sport like wrestling is where Wilson has found his niche. 

“The amount of work that you put in, it shows, and the amount of work you don’t put in, that’s where you can falter,” says Wilson. “So seeing how much work you can put in when you go onto the mat and get your successes from that, that’s pretty cool.” 

The 16-year-old also serves as a captain and makes a point of pushing each of his teammates for the betterment of the team because he believes that, “in the long run, it’s all about the team.” 

“Tristen has taken on a valuable leadership role in our program, welcoming the younger wrestlers, providing them guidance and serving as a positive role model,” says Servite head wrestling coach, Alan Clinton. “His talent, work ethic and dedication to wrestling have made him a top college recruit.”   

Wilson and the Friars are coming off of a historic 2018 season that saw the team win the Trinity League title, the CIF-SS and Dual Meet titles and the school’s first Masters Championship. The La Habra Heights resident finished fourth in the state in his weight class, and he is proud to be able to represent Servite for such important milestones. 

“This past season, we were really close as a family, and I think that helped us,” says Wilson. “I think it’s pretty cool that I can wear the crest and be able to do the things that I’ve done as a Friar.” 

Wilson also serves in the school’s Admissions program, a place that has allowed him to express how he feels about Servite and, “pull in that next generation of Servite men.” His goals include attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and eventually becoming a Navy SEAL. 

Wilson’s faith was shaken last summer when he lost a close uncle unexpectedly. But friends surrounded him, brought him to church and helped guide him through his grief with faith and prayer. He credits his parents as his source of inspiration. 

“My dad is a huge role model of mine,” says Wilson, “and my mom is always there and is one of my best friends. She’s always been there to push me.”