The Journey to Collegiate Athlete


Nathan Leko (on top) wrestling in a Solon duel meet.

Trevor Halley, Contributing Writer

Friday night lights. It’s one of the favorite moments of high school students and athletes, but what does it take to get to this level, and what does it take to get to the college level?

Nathan Leko, varsity wrestler and captain of the wrestling team at Solon High School, like most high school athletes, dreams of wrestling at the college level. Leko is no stranger to dramatic athletic changes, especially after making the jump from wrestling in middle school to high school. 

“This is my 11th year wrestling, so if I didn’t wrestle in college, I really don’t know what I’d do in college,” Leko said. “[Wrestling has] always been a huge part of my life.”

The love for his sport is Leko’s drive to continue.  Aaron Jeter, Former D1 collegiate athlete, felt the same way in his youth.

Jeter played football in his final three years of high school career and was offered several D1 scholarships. He chose Ohio University and played all 4 years.

The transition from a smaller high school to a D1 College team with “some of the best of the best” was a struggle, he said. One of his favorite parts of football was the network of friends he met.

“School doesn’t start until September, but you already have a group of friends who you connect with,” said Jeter.

However, even with all the love and support, Jeter still felt overwhelmed.

“It was definitely a full-time job,” Jeter said. 

He had to constantly strive for improvement and never give up. However, everything he learned he still uses today. 

Leko still has to make the decision of where he will wrestle, and he strives to make this final high school year a good one. He had one piece of advice for anyone seeking athletics in college.

Work hard and follow your passion. If you really want something, set your heart on it, put your mind on it, you can do it,” Leko said. “I really do believe you can do whatever you set yourself to do.”