After finishing a high school wrestling career that saw him become a four-time state qualifier and two-time state placer, Niko Christo will set his sights on national honors while competing for Lourdes University in Sylvania.
Christo, who placed fifth as a senior and eighth as a junior after going 1-2 as a freshman and losing the opportunity to compete at state as a sophomore due to the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the end of the winter sports season, found Lourdes to be an appealing place to continue his athletic and academic endeavors.
“It’s a nice campus and everyone there makes you feel like family,” he said. “It’s a small school and a little like Northmor.”
Christo, who will major in business, starting taking college vistas at the end of his junior year, but had goals of competing at a higher level long before then.
“In junior high or maybe before that,” he said.
Going to college, he has high hopes for his wrestling career, although he knows it will take a little while to adjust to the overall higher level of competition.
“Hopefully, by the end, I’ll be a national qualifier and placer,” he said. “It’s going to be rough for a while until I get used to it — the level of wrestling, the style and everything.”
Christo isn’t just looking forward to college wrestling, but also the entire collegiate experience.
“Meeting new people and making new friends and living the college lifestyle,” he said in listing off things he was looking forward to.
However, there is a lot that he’ll miss about Northmor — both people and a number of memorable experiences.
“I’ll miss all the friends I made, my family and coach (Scott) Carr,” he said.
And as far as experiences?
“Being Homecoming king and winning the (football) playoff game against Fredericktown and placing at state.”
When it comes to giving advice to younger athletes, Christo feels the most important thing is to always be willing to put in the work. He noted that wrestling wasn’t merely a winter sport for him, saying that he competed in many matches over the summer.
“Always put in extra work even if you don’t want to because it’ll be worth it,” he said.