YORK – York senior Harrison Gocke narrowed his decision down to three schools.
On Monday in the York High School commons area, he made it official by signing to attend Chadron State College next fall and join the Eagles’ wrestling program.
Gocke said the decision was close, and he gave a lot of props to his tour guide when it came to his final conclusion.
“My tour guide actually helped a lot and was a huge part of my decision. When I go back out there I am going to let her know,” Gocke said. “She was a chemistry major and was a nutrition minor and that’s what I’m looking at right now, is a chemistry/nutrition-type major. So she can actually tell me about both programs and that stood out for me.”
Gocke stood out his entire career at York High School, too, as he qualified for the Nebraska State Championships all four years.
This past season Gocke was the Class B state runner-up at 152 pounds, and over his four-year career at York he amassed 179 wins against just 55 defeats.
Gocke was 57-2 this past season with 38 pins. He was rated as the No. 1 wrestler for most of the year at his weight class by the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association.
Along with Chadron State, Gocke was also looking Nebraska Wesleyan and Morningside College.
Gocke said that the Chadron State program has made some changes and is trending in the right direction. Another huge factor was that Chadron State was extremely affordable.
“A lot of the decision was based on the atmosphere and the culture,” Gocke said. “They had a few issues out there but they have fixed those and changed a few things. I have some friends out there that wrestle and other friends that don’t wrestle. It’s extremely affordable for me and I kind of like the idea of getting away from home and being on my own a little bit and growing up.”
York head coach Chad Mattox sees Gocke’s decision as a very positive step for him.
“This is a really nice fit for Harrison,” Mattox said. “Chadron State has an improving program and it’s so cost affordable and this works great with what he wants to do, he wants to be an educator and there is not a better combination in our state as far as I’m concerned with him going to Chadron. I’m really happy for him and he has the ability to be a successful college athlete.”
Gocke added that his first year he will be doing a lot of learning and getting used to things at the college level.
“I’ll be wrestling at 157 is the plan, but I will not be the starter,” Gocke said. “Most likely my freshman year I’m supposed to redshirt and then their top guy, who I have a lot of respect for, will graduate. I don’t know who else they have at 152 yet, I’ll see when I get out there and see where I stand.
It will be a good learning experience and it will be fun to get out there.”
Mattox said that Gocke will face some challenges as he adjusts.
“For him, just having to compete against some athletes that are on his level and maybe a little higher as far as ability level goes,” Mattox said. “He’s going to have to fight and scratch and claw his way into contention to earn a spot. There are only 10 weight classes in college and competing at the Division II level, I don’t think people realize just how difficult it is. In wrestling there is not as many wrestlers and not as many programs, so obviously the competition is much, much greater than what we see at the Nebraska high school level.”