From wrestling to playing lacrosse, MacArthur High School’s Nick Dougherty is one of the most versatile student-athletes in Nassau County.
Standing at almost six-feet tall, Dougherty has been a varsity wrestler since he was in the eighth grade. He’s grown quite a bit with the Generals, finishing fifth in Nassau County this year, certainly impressing prior to graduation.
Head coach Rob Paletta couldn’t be prouder of his gutsy wrestler and the growth he’s seen since Dougherty joined the team as an eighth grader. And Paletta coached both of Dougherty’s brothers, so the sense of friendship only helped him over time.
“It has been a long road for Nick,” Paletta said. “This year was a special year for him and for us. His grit and determination embody what our program is about. This year, he came in on a mission be a county champion. However, he injured his knee severely in mid-January and looked to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. He went on to put on the gutsiest performance I have ever witnessed in 20 years of coaching. He battled on one leg in every match against the best wrestlers in his weight class and almost won each one. The accomplishment is one he can be proud of as he will be on our Wall of Fame forever. The special part for me is how he got there, with grit, perseverance and, more importantly, like a gentleman.”
Dougherty discussed his incredible battle back from an injury, how he made it to the county tournament and more.
Q: How was the season for you?
A: It started a little rough. But the season came out the way I wanted it to. I left it all out there and there was nothing more I could do. There were definitely a lot of hills and valleys.
Q: How important was it for you to know your coach was supportive of not only you, but of your brothers?
A: It was a big driving force, having him and knowing that he cared so much about me. He was always in my corner. He definitely pushed me harder. He was definitely tough on me, but all of that toughness was because he loves me and he wanted me to do the best I possibly could.
Q: You finished fifth in the county this year. What does it mean to end your high school career on a strong note?
A: I’m definitely proud of my efforts. I wrestled as hard as I could, and with my leg the way it was, there wasn’t much left that I could do. In neutral, I wasn’t even able to shoot. I was giving up the first takedown in every match, and I just had to battle back.
Q: What is your biggest strength when it comes to wrestling?
A: I have a lot of determination. I have a lot of heart. I get that from my mom. My mom is a battler, so I get that from her. I know I’ll be able to grit it no matter what situation I’m in. If I can’t grit it out, I’m going to try as hard as I possibly can.
Q: What’s your go-to move?
A: Me personally, I favor the position of top because I’ve been better there. It’s my best position since I started wrestling when I was younger. That’s where I scored most of my points in the county tournament.
Q: How have you grown as a wrestler throughout your five years at MacArthur?
A: I matured a lot and I’ve learned a lot of life lessons. I’ve learned that hard work and determination can get you very far in life.