Ely Times Staff Writer
Christopher Gamberg is surrounded by wrestling. His dad Mike Gamberg is his wrestling coach for White Pine High School. His older brother Mike Gamberg Jr. wrestled for the team before him. Even his sister travels to watch his matches and track his stats as team manager.
After winning his division at 120 pounds at Pahranagat Valley High School Saturday, the team captain is poised to head into the state championship in Primm on Feb. 22 as a favorite to win it all.
According to Gamberg, it’s just another competition in a life that has been filled with them.
“We always competed against each other in competitions like jumping or running just to see who was better,” Chris Gamberg said of him and his brother growing up in a competitive household.
Mike Gamberg Sr. said he never forced the boys to go into wrestling, but they still picked up on it at an early age. Chris began at age 6, his brother Mike at 8. Though they started young, their dad said it took them a while to join a team and take it seriously. For Chris, that started in sixth grade, with his dad as the coach. From then on, wrestling never left him alone, at practice or at the dinner table.
“Sometimes it comes home with you, mostly about cutting weight,” Gamberg said of how he would have to watch what he ate at home around his dad.
While it might have been a pain, the hard work and careful dieting paid off when he entered the Bobcat wrestling team as a freshman. In his first year, weighing in at a little over a 100 pounds, Gamberg placed second in his weight division and competed for state. Since then, he won his division sophomore year at the same weight and on Saturday won again, this time at 120 pounds.
For his father and coach, Mike Gamberg says it has been a joy to watch him grow up with the sport.
“It’s fun to watch him win,” he said.
As a coach, Gamberg doesn’t give his son any preferential treatment in practice. In fact, he has been coaching most of his team since they started in sixth grade alongside Chris, and admits he has built a strong relationship with each and every one of them over that time. But when it comes to watching his son wrestle for a state championship, he will be more than a coach encouraging an athlete, he’ll be a proud father. And he won’t be the only Gamberg there to cheer Chris on.
“It’s a family event for us,” he said. “My wife is a chaperon for one of the managers. My daughter is one of the managers and has been since she was old enough to keep scores. My oldest daughter, she was a manager all the way through high school. They travel every weekend. It makes it fun. For most coaches you have to spend so much time away from your family, but for me, my family gets to come with me.”