Keller’s passion to wrestle helps him lead way for North Tonawanda
Keller, a freshman who is in year three of his varsity career with the North Tonawanda wrestling team, has already made a name for himself on the mat.
But the most exciting part about Keller’s career is that the dedicated wrestle is just starting to scratch the surface of what he is capable of accomplishing.
“I wrestle over the summer and I’ve been doing a lot of extra (training),” he said. Over the summer, I went to a couple of different tournaments.”
Lumberjacks coach Dan Fire said that Keller is a true gem on the mat, one of those competitors that not only has devotion to the sport but also is an all-around student-athlete.
An “A” student in the class room and mature far beyond his 14-years of age, Keller is the kind of young man that only comes along once or twice in a coach’s career.
“You coach for 30 years and you only see a handful of guys like this,” Fire said.
One doesn’t have to search far to find the heart of what has kept Keller a humble and grounded young man — his parents Ray and Cheryl Keller.
Both heavily involved with the NT wrestling booster club, Ray and Cheryl have instilled strong values in Troy. They’ve taught him to always carry himself with class and dignity and know that nothing worth having comes easy.
“They just tell me no matter what happens just act like it’s fine,” Keller said. “Even if I lose, just act like you won and be happy because I’m still a good wrestler.”
Earning an honorable mention at 99 pounds in the most recent WNY Wrestling Poll, Keller fell to Garret Baugher of St. Joe’s in the finals of the Lockport Booster Club Tournament on Jan.12.
Keller is part of the Super Six wrestling club and has been training religiously at Victory MMA at Sportsplex in North Tonawanda.
“I have coach Dave Hockenberry from Lew-Port, who helped me a lot over the summer,” Keller said. “And I learned a lot of different moves at Super Six.”
Fire said the most impressive aspect of the extra work and training Keller does is that it’s all his idea. The passion comes from within Troy. Nobody is forcing him to go to camps or work on perfecting his craft. It’s all his doing.
Ever the thinking man’s grappler, Keller is the first to admit that he isn’t the strongest wrestler on the mat. So, he plays to his strong suit of speed and being technically sound.
“I definitely like wrestling on the mat more and in neutral,” Keller said. “I’ve learned technique and I just like using my technique because I’m not very strong yet.”
With dreams of wrestling at the Division I level — Cornell already in his thoughts, you can’t help but think Keller will achieve that feat. In fact, you can’t help but think Keller will achieve anything he sets his mind to.