The Indian River wrestling program has been a dominant force over the years with overpowering performances and notable state finishes, but now they have another feather in their cap, and a student athlete brimming with pride. Following his graduation this year, wrestler Michael Magaha will look to further his education and athleticism on the mat at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. This Monday, he became the first Indian River athlete to sign with a college or university, solely for wrestling.
Magaha has accumulated a credible career at the high school — one that flourished following his performance on Selbyville Middle’s wrestling team. The four-year starter, four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer earned recognition with the Indians.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “There was some pressure at first, coming up to the high school level, wrestling as a freshman.” He finished his career this winter in the 125-pound weight class, and captured a 127-26 record over four years. This year alone, he finished with 38-6 record. He admits there’s no true secret to his success. “I just go with the flow once I’m out there on the mat,” he said.
Magaha is among the first class of students that coach Jeff Windish will see graduate, as he began his head coaching career four years ago. “Mike has definitely had an outstanding career,” he said. “Anytime you’re wrestling as a freshman and finish up as a two-time state finalist is pretty impressive. It definitely shows that he’s putting in the work to get to that level. There’s no doubt that Mike works constantly for what he does. He really makes it a year-round sport.”
His effort on the mat reflects the guidance he receives from his coach. “Coach Windish has been a great help,” said Magaha, “and I’ve enjoyed working with him. There was a lot that I learned through my time on the team.” He extended his career outside of the high school season, as well. “Going to tournaments in the off-season taught me a lot, and it helped me learn different techniques,” he explained.
While numerous student athletes test their athletic ability across the board with various seasonal sports, Magaha prides himself with focus and discipline, centered on perfecting his skill and maintaining his weight with the sport to which he has devoted most of his time. “I work out, myself,” he said. “I try to stay in shape on my own.” Wrestling has become a healthy obsession for Magaha, who perceives the sport as more of a lifestyle than a pastime.
He’s projected to wrestle at the 125-pound or 133-pound weight class at Limestone, a Division II liberal arts school with less than 1,000 enrolled. “It was always my goal to get to college and continue wrestling,” he said.
Windish is confident that the class and school size will accompany his continuing career quite well. “Mike hit a growth spurt this year and was fortunate to be able to hold a 125 class,” he said. “Limestone College is a good fit for him. It’s a school where he’s probably going to be able to get in there and contribute right off the bat, and that’s what he was looking for. That’s not always the case, and he has the potential of doing well at the collegiate level. The coaches at the school agree with that, wholeheartedly. Seeing him sign the letter to Limestone was not only a big moment for him, but for our program and for the school, itself.”
Windish added that the appeal of the location can also attribute to athletic performance. “He wanted to go south and went down on an official visit and fell in love with the school and the area,” Windish noted. “That’s what you want. You want a place you’re going to be comfortable for four years. He’s put himself in a position where he’s going to succeed on the mat and in the classroom.”