Joey Fick’s father (Joe), and his uncle Kerry, were wrestlers in high school. Joe was a very good wrestler at Oley Valley back in the day. It’s not surprising that Joe’s son, Joey, is also wrestling well at Oley.
In fact, Joey earned a gold medal in the 132 pound weight class at the Berks Individual Wrestling Tournament held in Reading earlier this month.
Joey started wrestling at the very young age of four years old. He quickly fell in love with the sport and hasn’t stop since.
“My dad introduced it to me to wrestling when I was very young,” said Fick. “I did it for something to try out, and I fell in love with it. I can’t image my life without wrestling.”
His father coached him until he was in high school. Joey gives credit to his father for teaching him everything he knows.
“It’s (wrestling) something he enjoyed, something he loved, and he wanted to share that experience with me,” said Fick.
Coming from a wrestling family gives Joey a good support system. He has people around him that understand the sport, people who know how hard and grueling the sport really is. After every match or tournament, Joey and his father go over what he can improve on. Joey feels that it’s “awesome” to have a father who wrestled and knows what the sport is about.
His mother, Daniean, (Melcher) was with his father when he wrestled, so she understands how demanding the sport can be.
“She supports me greatly,” said Fick. “She understands the pressure of the sport and what needs to be done. It’s great.”
New Oley wrestling coach, Eddie Keichel, knows that coming from a wrestling family does help him a lot.
“He’s been wrestling his whole life,” said Keichel. “He wrestles year-round, and his dad runs a mat club that he wrestles for year-round. It’s tough to find kids that want to dedicate the amount of time that Joey has dedicated to the sport. It’s nice to see kids like that who have dedicated the amount of time that they do to the sport and to achieve the goals that they’re achieving. It shows that if you truly put in the time, the reward will be there.”
When he first started, Joey was wrestling for fun. He still has fun with it, but he knows that this is a sport that you have to work hard at to be successful. He’s not afraid of hard work.
“Like any sport, if you want to be good at something, you have to put in a lot of extra time,” said Fick. “Wrestling really takes the cake on that. It’s countless hours and it’s purely because I love the sport. All of the hard work pays off and it’s enjoyable.”
Joey will quickly admit that his father’s coaching was not always easy for him. It was tough to take advice from his father when he was younger. Joey would fight and argue with his father when he was just trying to help him. Finally one day, something clicked and Joey realized his father knew what he was talking about. He started listening to his father and now Joey and Joe have a great relationship.
When asked what clicked, Joey said that it was hard to explain, but something along the way changed his mentality about the sport.
“I started taking the advice of everyone,” said Fick. “I put it together instead of trying to do things my own way. By taking everyone’s advice, I created my own way indirectly. It happened between my freshman and sophomore year.
“I put so much time in. I realized I needd to run more needed to lift more, and needed to practice each move - so I just did it. I figured that my way isn’t working too well, I might as well take advice from others.”
Fick isn’t surprised by how well he’s doing in high school. He loves the sport so putting in the extra work, and putting in the extra time isn’t hard for him.
“Doing well, comes from doing the extra work and putting in the extra time,” said Fick. “I do well because I have fun. There are still people out there who are better than me, and there always will be. I try to do my best that’s all I ask of myself.”
Coach Eddie Keichel feels that Fick’s style of wrestling is different from what most people think of wrestlers. Fick not the intense, “in your face” type of wrestler. He’s a little more layed back.
“I love the way he wrestles,” said Keichel. “He never gets a hot head if he gets shoved going out of bounds. He keeps his cool. He has a very cool manner when he’s out there.”
Last year Joey finished eighth in the state at the 120 pound weight class. That was very good considering that he missed half of the season coming back from Mono. Fick will be the first to admit that he didn’t expect much of himself coming back so late in the season. He knows that it’s a long road to get to the state level and to compete with the top contenders.
“It really killed me sitting on the sidelines,” said Fick. “It actually helped me push myself harder to try and make up for lost time. I was extremely happy to be there.”
Fick would love to see himself as a state champion this, his final year of high school athletics. He’s confident that this could happen, but, like he said before anything can happen when you step onto the mat.
“I expect him to be in the district final competing for a district title” said Keichel. “I expect him to be on the top half of the podium this year at states, if not contending for the top spot.”
“It’s all about who shows up the day of the tournament and who wants to win,” said Fick. “Who has the biggest heart.”
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times. You can follow him on Twitter @writersprtsBT