In possibly his last year wrestling, Cal Poly senior heavyweight Cody Parker is hoping for a big finish.
Currently 11-4 in matches, Parker is ranked No. 14 in the nation among heavyweights in the InterMat/NWCA poll released Tuesday. He has won two straight matches and nine of his last 11 overall.
“I have the potential to do well,” Parker said. “Placing in the top eight at nationals in definitely a goal.”
Only time will tell how the season will end at the NCAA Championships in Detroit from March 15 to 17. But for now, Parker is just “doing all that (he) can to prepare for competition.”
Cal Poly head coach John Azevedo said that Parker’s athletic abilities combined with his upbeat personality and goofy attitude make him “a great addition to the team.”
Parker, who completed his undergraduate education at University of Oregon in 2005, attended Fresno State for a year until the school’s wrestling program shut down for what Parker called “bogus” reasons.
For the most part, the reasons as to why the program – which some are still fighting to get back – closed are still somewhat mysterious.
Last spring, though, Parker began considering other schools in which to finish his master’s degree in horticulture and enology (wine-making). Applying two weeks after the application deadline had passed, he went through the hassle of getting a waiver signed and squaring away everything else needed for the process to be completed.
But no worries now – Parker has successfully made the transition to Cal Poly, and is enjoying his time here.
“The weather’s great, the people are great, the team is great,” Parker said. “I have a core group of friends to be around.”
Wrestling is a tradition that has been in his family for years (his dad and uncles also wrestled), so it seemed only natural that Parker picked up the sport too.
After attending private schools through junior high, Parker was finally exposed to the wrestling atmosphere upon entry to Roseburg Senior High School in southern Oregon.
“I had the opportunity, and the timing was good,” Parker said. “And my high school has a really reputable team.”
Parker competed in wrestling all four years, finishing his high school wrestling career with a 31-1 record.
But now after nearly nine years on the mat, Parker makes no promise as to whether he will continue after this season.
“After five years of college wrestling, your body starts to feel the effects,” he said.
Instead, he wants to focus on finishing school and “getting this phase of (his) life completed.”
After this year, Parker has two years left at Cal Poly finishing the master’s program. Then he plans on joining the family business, Melrose Vineyards, a vineyard and wine label in Roseburg, Ore.
Parker, who has a passion for traveling – and more specifically trekking to different wine regions around the world, including Bordeaux, France – hopes to see more of the world after finishing his studies. He’s “looking forward to spending a significant amount of time in New Zealand” on his next adventure.
Because New Zealand is in the Southern hemisphere, grapes are harvested during the spring, rather than the fall harvest of California. He hopes to spend about six months in the country learning more about the wine-making process there.
The next home dual meet for Cal Poly (4-6, 4-1 Pac-10) is a crucial Pac-10 contest against 17th-ranked Oregon State (13-1, 5-0) in Mott Gym at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Mustangs host Northern Colorado on Feb. 9.