Wrestler Talon Niimi sets standard high

Wrestling powerhouse continues his successful 2019 winter season

Sophomore+Talon+Niimi+wrestles+against+an+opponent+during+his+2019+winter+season.+

Bradyn Kesti

Sophomore Talon Niimi wrestles against an opponent during his 2019 winter season.

Although the Granite Bay High School Wrestling program is not as popular as other sports played in the winter, sophomore Talon Niimi has made a mark in his career.

“I wrestled varsity as a freshmen,” Niimi said. “I made it to sections (or masters) and if I placed top six I would’ve gone to state.”

Talon’s older brother, Kai Niimi, is a graduate from GBHS and recalled Talon’s sections tournament.

“(Talon) ended up winning two matches and losing two matches at the masters tournament,” Kai said.

As a freshman, Niimi stood out as he wrestled varsity and went to sections.

“Talon did very well his freshman year from my point of view and exceeded the average wrestler,” Kai said. “Especially since he did better than myself when I was his age.”

In comparison, as a freshman Kai only went to divisions, which is the tournament before masters. 

In Talon’s freshman year, he was able to wrestle alongside Kai, a senior at the time. 

Alex Reuter, a sophomore wrestler at GBHS, frequently partners with Niimi during wrestling practice.

“I’ve known Talon since eighth grade when I met him at wrestling practice (for Olympus Junior High School); we have been homies ever since,” Reuter said.

Niimi’s superior wrestling skill does not go unnoticed, as Reuter notes his impression with Niimi’s wrestling skills, he also supports Niimi’s moral and physical effort.  

“Talon puts forth effort towards becoming a better wrestler and person everyday,” Reuter said. “I can vouch for the whole (wrestling) team when I say Talon is extremely skilled, fast, and strong.”

I can vouch for the whole (wrestling) team when I say Talon is extremely skilled, fast, and strong.”

— Alex Reuter

As is evident by his wildly successful freshman wrestling season, Niimi has long practiced in the physical contact genre.

“I have been wrestling for four years, but (I’ve done) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for all of my life,” Niimi said.

But there’s more to his success than years of practice – support is a crucial ingredient to his success.

“My brother and my dad especially, but my coaches also did support me a lot last year,” Niimi said.

Although Niimi has been an athlete almost his entire life, behind the scenes these sports are “extremely difficult,” Niimi said.

“Talon has not always been super positive when it comes to physical sports. I don’t blame him either,” Kai said. “When it’s just you out there and all you can depend on is your training and skill, all the consequences of your efforts fall on you.”

Despite his occasional struggles, Niimi continues to discover ways to motivate his fellow wrestlers.

“Wrestling with (Talon) is difficult for sure, but I find it fun and worth it because I get much better from him every time,” Reuter said.

“Don’t give up,” Niimi said. “When you give up you just screw yourself from an opportunity to be great at something.”

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