To say that Chase Pami’s parents must be proud is a huge understatement.
Pami, a communications sophomore, is the No. 11 wrestler in the nation at 157 pounds and on Monday night, he became a Pac-10 Conference champion.
Pami earned a 3-1 overtime victory in Eugene, Ore. over Boise State’s 10th-ranked Tyler Sherfey, who defeated Pami twice in the past.
“I think one thing about Chase is that he’s very organized and comes with a game plan and he listens to his coaches,” said Cal Poly assistant coach Sammie Henson. “The sky’s the limit for him.”
With the Pac-10 out of the way, Pami (24-4) now has his eyes set on a national title, which he’ll grapple for at the NCAA Championships from March 20 to 22 in St. Louis.
Last year, he qualified for the championships but failed to win a single match.
However, because of the medial collateral ligament sprain he suffered earlier this season, Pami feels he is more mentally prepared this year.
“I had to sit out two duals and it gave me a chance to recuperate and re-evaluate where I am before this last push for Pac-10 and nationals,” Pami said.
The national title hopeful started wrestling in a freestyle program when he was 10 years old, right after winning a national title in Judo.
Although involved in a variety of other sports including Judo, gymnastics, cross country, track and football, Pami was completely dedicated to wrestling.
“I was too small for football and not fast enough for track,” Pami said, although he lettered in both sports during high school. Mostly, he used other sports as a means to stay in shape for wrestling, he explained.
Pami, from Las Vegas, continues to pursue a plethora of interests despite having practice four to five hours a day.
He plays the guitar and drums, and also sings. He occasionally acts and line dances as well. After his move from the desert of Nevada to the shores of the Central Coast, he took up boogie boarding, although he admits he is terrified of sharks and is easily spooked while out in the waves.
“San Luis Obispo is everything Vegas isn’t,” Pami said. “But home is home – I love Vegas. I really miss it when I’m not there.”
As far as Pami’s future in wrestling is concerned, he’s not too worried about the next year as much as he is the next few months.
He says his mother has Olympic aspirations for him partly because it runs in the family; he had an uncle who qualified as a marathon runner.
However, he’s not sure that’s what he wants for himself just yet.
“My mom wants me to go to the Olympics, but it’s never been my own dream – it’s something I need to grow into,” Pami said.
Yet the modest 21-year-old admitted he did think it was a possibility, but not until at least 2012.
Until then he plans to focus on his studies and maybe become a pastor.
“I love people, I love listening to people and I love helping people,” Pami said. “So pastoring is the ultimate thing I want to do.”
In fact, Pami attributes most of his success to both listening to his coaches and adhering to his faith.
“I know it’s God that gives me the strength to do this,” he said.