La Center wrestler pins down West Point

Mayolo stays on path to make him an Army Cadet

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



LA CENTER — Patrick Mayolo is too smart to be overconfident. It is not a done deal.

Still, he is determined.

“I’m not really looking into a backup right now,” he said. “My goal is West Point.”

Mayolo, a senior wrestler from La Center, has committed to compete for Army at the United States Military Academy. The coaches want him there. He has the grades. Mayolo has gone through the congressional nomination interview process, calling it a positive experience.

Mayolo would be a candidate for West Point even without wrestling. He carries a 3.99 grade-point average at La Center with an interest in science and physics. That he also is a standout wrestler — he has placed at state in his first three seasons with the Wildcats — just gives him more of a chance to be nominated.

“Going to West Point, it’s an opportunity for a great education, great leadership training, and an honorable career,” Mayolo said. “It’s the best of both worlds for me. An honorable career and the ability to wrestle. I’ve always wanted to wrestle Division I.”

Now, he is just waiting on his Letter of Assurance, which he hopes to receive in January. The letter means the candidate will likely be offered admission upon completion of the application.



Highly-ranked in state by Washington Wrestling Report

CLASS: 4A: Michael Nguyen, sr., 113, Evergreen; Matthew Nguyen, sr., 120, Evergreen; Tyler Davis, sr., 132, Union; Rosailio Contreras, sr., 138, Evergreen; Sam Berry, so., 138, Union; Dillon Thomas, sr., 170, Union; Ian Overton, sr. 285, Heritage.

CLASS 3A: Tyler Markham, fr., 106, Camas; Jonah Hansen, jr., 126, Mountain View; Aaron Blaine, so., 138, Hudson’s Bay; Emilio Alcantar, sr., 152, Hudson’s Bay; Cody Geary, sr., 195, Praire; Sterling Reynolds, sr., 195, Mountain View.

CLASS 2A: None.

CLASS 1A: Patrick Mayolo, sr., 145, LaCenter; Jacob Schneider, jr., 145, Stevenson; Karl Bell, sr., 152, Stevenson; Marcus Carter, sr., 220, Stevenson; John White, jr., 220, Ridgefield.

GIRLS: Tiffany Hu, sr., 112, Union; Kyra Batara, sr., 112, Mountain View; Kira Kelsey, so., 118, Union; Stephanie Simon, sr., 145, Evergreen; Mixtly Simon, jr. 170, Battle Ground.

For more rankings, go to The Columbian’s prep sports blog at

Mayolo said he is ready to accept the challenge, the duty, associated with the academy. Upon graduation, he must commit to five years of military service.

“I’m prepared to do that,” he said.

Just being this close to a nomination to a service academy is quite a thrill for Patrick’s parents, Shawn and Julie.

“He’s got his mom’s brains. I can’t take credit for that,” Shawn Mayolo said. “He’s a good boy. Being considered to be going to West Point is quite an honor. We’re very proud of him for sure. He’s always been a really focused student. He has a love for learning.”

Patrick’s first trip to West Point came last school year when he tagged along with his older brother. Chris Mayolo went on an official visit to the academy. While Chris — state champion wrestler and two-time state academics champion — opted to take his wrestling and academic skills to Utah Valley University, Patrick was awed by the mystique of the Black Knights.

“I really got a feel for that environment, the campus, the cadets,” Patrick said. “The campus was very impressive. I really liked the coaches. It was very motivating.”

The coaches contacted Patrick last summer. Patrick began the application process in the fall, and the coaches asked him to commit to Army in November.

His coach at La Center believes Army made the right call with Patrick.

“He’s a great leader. Even as an underclassman, he was one of the leaders on the team,” La Center coach Jef Nevels said. “He was always that kid with the ability to lead.”

And listen, too.

“He’s probably the most coachable kid I’ve had, ever,” Nevels continued. “He has a great knowledge about wrestling. I can tell him something, he picks it right up and knows exactly how to twist it to fit his style.”

This season, Patrick Mayolo is trying to figure out how to get over the hurdle that is the state tournament.

While proud of his accomplishments in his first three years, he believes he could have done better.

“Every year I’ve gone to state with the goal to win it,” Mayolo said. “Every year I’ve come up short. There were a few close matches that went down to the end. I know I’m there. It’s just hard to break through to the top.”

Mayolo finished fourth at 103 pounds as a freshman, then fifth as a sophomore at 112 pounds. Last year, another fifth-place finish, this time at 130. He is planning on wrestling at 138 pounds this season.

“I’m definitely looking for a state title,” Mayolo said. “The key is pushing myself to go that extra mile. Extra workouts. Go to club practice after high school practice. To continuously improve.”

Those traits are a part of Mayolo’s foundation. Working hard is not a problem. It starts in the classroom.

Mayolo remains bummed by the A-minus he received his freshman year in a world history class.

“That one A-minus. So close to perfection,” he lamented.

In wrestling, one tiny imperfection can be the difference between winning and losing. In academics, it is the difference between 4.0 and 3.99.

Mayolo, always the competitor, sought to make sure it was all A’s the rest of his time at La Center.

It is the same philosophy he uses in his sport.

“Wrestling is about pride. It’s hard to pick yourself up after a loss,” Mayolo said. “But you can learn from it, stay motivated, and look for the next level.”

Mayolo’s next level just might lead him to West Point.

It is not a done deal, but Patrick Mayolo has done everything he can to put himself in such a solid position.