Football standout on sidelines for senior season

William Thompson

Nick Wiegel, a 2003 all-state defensive end, and second team all-state tight end for the Tucumcari High School football team, is out for the season due to a knee injury. Wiegel said it has been a difficult adjustment.

“I was pretty upset for a long time after I was told I wouldn’t be able to play football or basketball my senior year,” said Wiegel. “I was hoping to do well again this year.”
Wiegel injured his knee in practice prior to the regular season. Wiegel received the bad news about his inability to play this season in Albuquerque, the same day as his team’s first regular season game. He said football was his main focus prior to the injury. “Football was my life, and now I have to come up with something else to do. It was also my parents’ life in a way because they were always there for me during football season. They were my biggest fans.”

Wiegel has refocused on academics, according to his mother, Audrey. “He has rechanneled his energy into academics and is doing really well,” she said. “He has also become more connected to others. He has more empathy with people who have encountered loss. He has really had to reach inside.” Wiegel’s father, C.J., said his son’s injury has been a character builder. “I told him that there are difficult lessons in life,” he said. “His not being able to play football will build his character. He is now trying to score high on his ACT’s and SAT’s next month.”

Wiegel, who is president of the Tucumcari High School National Honor Society and currently carries a 4.1 cumulative grade point average, said his parents have tried to get him interested in a variety of pursuits to keep him from getting depressed. His mother said they have even found a way for her son to enjoy his love for dove hunting.
“We got a lounge chair for him to sit in, so he can hunt doves in the evenings on our property west of Tucumcari,” she said.

Wiegel said he is grateful to his coaches. “Coach Smith (Dub Smith, Rattlers’ Head Coach) has been very supportive. He told me that he still wanted me on the sidelines during games to provide leadership to the team.”
Smith said Wiegel is one of a kind. “Nick’s injury was a big disappointment to me because he is a quality person and his leadership is outstanding,” said Smith. “When it came down to game time, Nick was the most focused of any of our players.”

Smith said Wiegel is learning the lesson that there is more to life than football. “We tell all of our players to play each play as if it were their last because you never know,” he said. “We always try to explain to our players that the most important thing is to get an education and to build character. Nick is the type of person that will do well in life because he recognizes the importance of an education and he is a leader.” John Span, the basketball team’s head coach, said Wiegel could possibly have been a starter on the court this season. “I always knew that when Nick was on the court he was going to give you 110 percent,” he said.
Audrey Wiegel said her son expects to do well in golf this spring.

“The surgeon is also very optimistic that Nick will be able to run track this year. Nick has a very strong faith. He told us soon after the injury, ‘I don’t guess God intended for me to play football this season.’”
Wiegel participated in the state golf tournament last season and was on the 800 meter and 1600 meter relay teams which took first place in state track.