Baylor School wrestler Nick Corday has won high school championships in two states and has a No. 13 national ranking, but the 113-pound junior takes nothing for granted when he steps on the mat.
Corday leaves his campus housing early each morning to lift and train before classes begin. After school, he drills with his teammates and has even challenged himself by inviting three-time Tennessee state champion Daniel Uhorchuk of Signal Mountain and Uhorchuk's brothers Caleb and Ethan for extra training time together.
"Wrestling has always been good for me because it is always a grind. What you put into it is what you get out of it," said Corday, who has committed to Army, where his future teammates are set to include Daniel Uhorchuk and Cleveland's Trae McDaniel.
"I am motivated to be the wrestler I can become, and that goes for my teammates and others like Daniel. We are always trying to be the best and create the best group. We love to compete and win. Baylor has been the perfect program for me."
Corday tries to take advantage of his opponent's mistakes and make each match as short as possible, something he did at last year's TSSAA Division II state traditional tournament as he won the 106-pound bracket with a trio of first-round pins. He also won a state title in Georgia as a freshman at Buford High School.
Now he's one of three Red Raiders with a top-20 national ranking, according to FloWrestling — fellow juniors and two-time individual state champs Garrison Dendy (145) and David Harper (195) are the others — but Corday may be a bit undervalued at 13th. He has beaten six wrestlers ranked ahead of him, including a 5-4 win against the No. 1 wrestler in October at the Super 32 Challenge in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
A team captain, Corday won by pin twice last weekend as Baylor beat both Father Ryan and Christian Brothers in convincing fashion to win the program's third straight state duals championship.
Baylor coach Rex Kendle sees a lot of similarities between himself and Corday in their devotion to the sport. At Michigan State, Kendle went from being a walk-on wrestler to a team captain and starter his final two years with the Spartans.
"Nick's drive is what stands out to me," Kendle said. "Every day at practice, he shows up and never has a bad day. He is always looking for extra workouts. To him, wrestling is more than a sport — it's a lifestyle. You see it in the way he trains and takes care of his body. It means a lot to him."
Like Corday, Dendy and Harper, Jackson Bond (126) is a two-time state champion for Baylor, and other key team members include senior homegrown talents Kade Hartline (106), Matthew Smith (285) and Heath Snodgrass (220), plus Omaury Alvarez (170), Gunnar Garriques (182) and Michael Tisdale (138).
Baylor was ranked before the season as one of the top 50 programs in the country, and the Red Raiders have been No. 1 in Tennessee all season. They're heavy favorites to win another DII state title when the traditional tournament is held next Friday at the Chattanooga Convention Center, although they will compete before then in the DII East Region tournament Saturday at Knoxville Catholic.
While COVID-19 shut down plans of competing in prestigious national tournaments — though they were runners-up at the Knockout Classic in Florida — the Red Raiders are excited about the chance to show out in their own backyard soon.
"This means something to each and every one of us," Corday said. "We want to be at the top. The plan is to go out there and dominate. Our coaches have really motivated us and helped us grow this year even with all the cancellations. They have pushed us to keep working and have allowed us to stay on the right path to success."