By Avery Friedt
If you’ve been to any of Central’s sporting events this year, you’ve probably seen Martin Mueller. Leading all our cheers, he’s always in the front row and the loudest voice on the Central side. Martin is more than just a super fan, though. He’s one of our star athletes.
At the age of six, Martin began his wrestling career. His dad had been a successful wrestler, winning second place at state, and Martin hoped to follow in his footsteps. He showed a natural talent for the sport immediately. “I don’t wrestle like the other guys. I’m funky. I have a funky style that most people haven’t seen.”
It’s that “funk” that has helped propel him to success. Martin has achieved many impressive things in his 12 years of wrestling. He was a member of the South Dakota national team, a group of 14 wrestlers, one from each weight class, that represent South Dakota all over the country. (Mueller represented the 195 lbs weight class.) He’s placed in, or won, countless tournaments. He was voted team captain, along side Hayden Hansen. The thing he says he is most proud of, however, is his state title, which he won last year, a feat he is hoping to repeat this year. “I had so many people telling me I couldn’t do it, but I also had a lot of support from my team, coaches, and my family. It was so rewarding. I cried a little.” The road hasn’t always been easy though.
Adversity has always been a part of Martin’s life. From family problems to people telling him he’d never go undefeated or win at state, he’s been through it all, and overcome it. “I know there’s always going to be someone telling me I can’t do it, or someone who’s better than me. So I work harder. I have a lot of drive, and now it’s paying off. I’m undefeated, and hopefully I’ll win another title.”
He’s also had to work through serious injuries. During a match last year, an opponent fell on Martin’s arm, breaking it just below the wrist. After recovering from that, he had to get surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, a procedure he will repeat on his left shoulder after this season. One of his worst injuries occurred just a few weeks ago, when he suffered a severe concussion during a match, causing him to lose his memory. “I thought I was still dating my ex-girlfriend. That was bad.” Not only was he unable to wrestle, he was confined to his bed with no TV or phone, to prevent too much brain stimulation. Like all his other injuries, Martin recovered and came back better than ever.
Humble is the perfect word to describe Martin. He credits all his success to his team, coaches, family, and God. “Mama Annie is great. She buys me all my healthy food I need to make weight. She’s always there to support me. She can’t be more than 5’4″, but she has the biggest heart, and the loudest cheer. She’s the strongest person I know. She’s my role model.” His faith is also something he depends on. “I use my faith to help me overcome challenges and inspire myself to do better.”
Martin is much more than just a wrestler, though. He has a secret talent: baking and smoothie making. He claims to be the most talented barista in South Dakota, the only time he bragged during the entire interview. “I don’t care that I’m not getting twirped this year. I know I can make better food than anything a girl would make me.” If his chosen career doesn’t work out, he wants to open a coffee shop, where he would make all the drinks and food.
When asked if he would stay in state for college, his reply required little thought. “No. South Dakota is great, but I want to experience more. I’m going to study dentistry, because because I love teeth. Hopefully at a school I can wrestler for. It’s humbling that these big name schools want me to wrestle for them. It’d be great to continue: college , pro, the Olympics. But honestly, my main focus is having a family. I want a wife and four kids, and I can want to support them. If wrestling works with that, great. If not, I will focus on my career.”
Whatever he decides to do, I know Martin will be successful. With his humble nature, dedication, kindness, and talent, Martin is bound for greatness.