Florida A&M’s nationally ranked wrestling team began practicing this week under strict guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This means that Jaden Vilvert, a third-year sociology major at FAMU, is ready to get back on the mat. Vivert has been wrestling since the age of 14. He is now nationally ranked heavyweight.
Vilvert, like many other nationally ranked wrestlers, took up the sport in high school in Tampa. He sometimes wishes he had gotten involved in wrestling ever earlier.
“I decided to start wrestling because I was tired of getting pushed around by my older brother,” Vilvert said.
Vilvert’s record in his first year of wrestling his record was three wins and nine losses. That was a low winning percentage at his high school, but he continued the next year. Pushing past his defeats, during Vilvert’s second year of wrestling his record improved to 27 wins and 12 losses.
His personal progress was a win in his eyes.
“I became much more confident not only as a wrestler but in my daily life as well,” Vilvert said.
His record continued to improve throughout his high school career. In his junior year his record was 38 wins and 7 losses, and in Vilvert’s senior year his record was 37 wins and 5 losses.
Devon Smith, a wrestler for FAMU, vouches for Vilvert’s work ethic. “Jaden attends practice faithfully, shows up on time and is always ready to work.
Vilvert’s growth was impressive and universities took note of that as well. He received offers from Bacone College in Oklahoma, and Simpson University in Ohio.
These universities were investing in his future as a wrestler, but he knew the distance from his family would take a toll on him. So he turned them down.
Fredrick Simmons, FAMU’s assistant wrestling coach, reached out to Vilvert. Simmons helped Vivert get into FAMU and also helped him become acquainted with the university.
Simmons said he “fell in love with aiding the students not only in academics but a sport that both parties enjoyed.”
Simmons enjoys interacting with the wrestlers and the volunteers who help the club sport, seeing them graduate and go on in life.
“I knew FAMU was where I wanted to be after a few short days of research,” Vilvert said.
Vivert has become a well-known wrestler throughout the NCWA. He is now ranked No. 8 nationwide under NCWA. He continues to strive for greatness not only as a wrestler but as a student too.