WESTPORT — The chance for gold came with a side of revenge for Nico Provo on Sunday.
Wrestling for the 51-kilogram freestyle championship at the United World Wrestling Cadet Pan American Championships in Morelia, Mexico, Stratford’s Provo found himself against Enrique Herrera Huacre. That’s who beat him to start the Greco-Roman competition on Friday.
Provo, 16, beat the Peruvian by fall 1:41 into the final, giving him the latest championship in what’s already a fine run.
“It was surreal, super-fun,” Provo said Tuesday morning outside the wrestling room at Greens Farms Academy, where he recently finished his sophomore year with his second New England prep school 113-pound championship.
“It was kind of what I expected, but I was super-excited when it happened. Visualizing it, and it actually happening, is kind of different. I got a little rush after the fall was called, got the hand raise, kind of cooled down. It’s a great feeling after.”
Provo had a delayed and rerouted trip Monday, getting home after midnight, but he was back at it Tuesday morning.
“He’s great in the room,” said Greens Farms coach Jack Conroy, who also coaches Provo at South Side Wrestling Club in Trumbull.
“He has a lot of fun with wrestling. It’s tough when you have to pull guys’ teeth to get them in the room. It’s nice when you have guys who are fans of wrestling, excited about wrestling, like-minded people.”
Provo took bronze in Greco-Roman on Friday. He’d arrived in Mexico on Wednesday, but there wasn’t a lot of time for sightseeing fun.
“Me and my friends make a joke, call it a business trip,” Provo said. “After wrestling’s done, you can hang out with your friends more, but you hang out with them anyway. We all want to compete well and win.”
The United States team won the team boys Greco-Roman and freestyle competitions as well as the girls competition. There were 14 countries represented, from Canada to Chile.
Provo started wrestling very young, so young he really doesn’t remember beginning.
“My dad wrestled in high school. My older siblings wrestled. I really started getting into it around age 8-9. It took off from there,” he said.
“Every little kid wants to follow in their siblings’ footsteps.”
He has been wrestling at South Side since the club began in 2014. Conroy said Provo picks up technique quickly; something that might take another wrestler a couple of weeks to implement flows right into Provo’s technique.
Conroy said Provo is smart, and his mental game has improved in the few years they’ve known each other.
“He’s had it for a while,” Conroy said, “but learning to not get too high, not get too low, to really let the highs and the lows of the match come to him, has allowed him to compete at a much higher level.”