Godeski wrestles with a lot on his shoulders
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
DENVER, Colorado – Devon Godeski is wrestling for more than just himself.
Earlier this month, the Coal Ridge High School senior lost a good friend in Summit High’s Tristan White, a fellow wrestler he’d become close with throughout the years. White died on Feb. 3 after collapsing at a practice a couple of days earlier.
Then, roughly 10 minutes before his first match at last weekend’s 3A Region 1 tournament, Godeski found out that his great-grandmother died.
“It crushed me,” he said. “We didn’t get any warning. I didn’t see it coming. … We were really, really close.”
Though he was missing his great-grandmother, Olga, in a big way, Godeski had a whale of day in Montrose, finishing second in the 138-pound weight bracket and qualifying for this weekend’s state tournament in Denver.
With White and Olga still very much on his mind, Godeski kicked off that state tournament Thursday by dominating his first-round opponent – Berthoud’s Preston Pickert – en route to a win by technical fall (18-2).
Godeski will wrestle against La Junta’s Josh Del Rio in today’s quarterfinals, and he isn’t short on motivation as he chases a 138-pound state title.
“I promised that, no matter what happens, they were in my heart and I wouldn’t quit,” he said. “Every time I wrestle, I’ll have the heart of all three of us. It’s amazing, you know. There’s nothing I want more than to please my grandma and Tristan.”
Family is important to Godeski. Very important.
He has a butterfly tattoo over his rib cage in honor of another of his great-grandmothers, who died when he was young. She often took care of young Devon when his mom, then single, was busy working multiple jobs.
“The last time I saw her was when I was 7,” he said. “She passed away and her favorite thing was a yellow butterfly, so I got a tattoo closest to my heart.”
Godeski knows he wouldn’t be where he’s at without guiding forces like his great-grandmothers.
“My family has always been the most important thing to me,” he said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I’d be at state. They’re my heart and soul when I’m out on the mat.”
It’s Godeski’s family that has always kept him on the right path in life. When he got mixed up in a school incident in the fall, his parents urged him to find another sport or activity to keep him centered.
“My parents said I needed to calm down or go do something else,” he said.
Godeski found mixed martial arts. He trains with Pat Carmichael, who operates a studio out of his house in New Castle.
It’s bettered Godeski both on the life and wrestling fronts.
“It’s helped me dramatically,” Godeski said. “I used to go in all nervous and worried about the opposition. Now I go in knowing I have everything they have – legs, feet and arms. You have to beat them mentally. Mixed martial arts taught me that.”
Godeski’s mind and body certainly worked in synergy on Thursday. He hopes that remains the case as the state tournament continues today and Saturday.
“I’m just hoping for the best,” he said. “I want to win state.”
Godeski will take aim at that state title with more than just his fallen friend and family member in mind.
“My mom promised she’d quit smoking if I do it,” he said. “I’m wrestling for a lot of reasons.”
And for a lot of people.
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