FORT HALL, Idaho – Highland High School Senior Gaylen Edmo, 17, has come a long way in his wrestling career. His early days on the mat started out with Mike Hugues and the Fort Hall Bucks. In August, he will join the prestigious United States Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island for a year and then advance to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Gaylen is 44-2 in his division and is the returning 5A heavyweight champion. Right now Gaylen’s biggest challenge is finding opponent’s tough enough to challenge him. He is kept in shape with the help of his coaches Travis Bell, Ty Mathews and Kolby Cordingly – all who take turns wrestling with him. The coaches push him pretty hard considering they know he will be wrestling at a higher level of Division 1. “My coaches are really proud. They’ve helped me a lot,” he said grateful to his other coaches at Pocatello High School, where he wrestles in the off-season. The highlight of Gaylen’s high school wrestling days has been holding three All-American Honors at Nationals in Freestyle and Greco. From the east coast to the west coast Gaylen received several other offers from colleges including Old Dominion, Cal Poly, Hofstra University, Utah Valley and George Mason. He chose the Naval Academy for the purpose that it is number one in academics and will provide him with vast opportunities. Gaylen’s current GPA is 3.4 and he is taking a heavy class load including advance placement classes. The standards of the Naval Academy are very unique meaning one must first be recruited and maintain a high GPA, good ACT scores, pass a fitness assessment, demonstrate outstanding character and have a congressional nomination letter. Both Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch provided letters. His other reason for choosing the Naval Academy was the quick bond he was able to form with the coaches, in particular head coach Bruce Burnett. Burnett started his coaching career at Meridian High School and has been honored six times as Idaho Coach of the Year. Gaylen’s first visit to the Naval Academy provided him his first glimpse of the ocean. Despite never really being far away from home he is looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of attending the prominent school. As far as future plans, Gaylen originally wanted to go into wildlife biology but the closest thing the Naval Academy curriculum offers is oceanography, which he thinks may also be interesting to pursue. Besides graduating from the Naval Academy and becoming a fully commissioned officer he would like to one day retire from the Navy and of course, win a Division 1 national championship. Wrestling has taught Gaylen to be more accountable in life. “It’s all up to you. You only get out of wrestling what you put into it,” he said explaining if you slack there is always someone out there working harder than you are. Gaylen says one must have dedication to the sport by practicing and finding a good coach and work out partner. “Wrestling is hard work,” said Gaylen adding one must always keep their goals in mind. He applies his same philosophy of wrestling towards life. From a young age he has strived to work towards leaving the reservation and making a name for himself. Most of all he has desired to make his parents proud because they worked hard to provide for him throughout his life. Gaylen gave up playing football his senior year to focus solely on wrestling. Although he misses it he is glad to see his sacrifice has paid off. “I’m really happy with my decision to go to the Navy,” said Gaylen, hopeful that one day he may be able to breathe easy. Gaylen encourages student athletes looking to get into college to prepare to work hard and always keep their goals in mind. “Prepare yourself for the adversity that may come your way,” he said. “Always remember what you want to do and never stop fighting for it.” Gaylen is the son of Wes and Nancy Edmo. His father says the family is very proud of Gaylen’s accomplishments and hard work is something that has been passed down from their forefathers. Wes was excited of the possibility of seeing Gaylen become the first time Shoshone-Bannock to wrestle at a Division 1 institution that is also notable for its distinguished alumni.
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