​Grandpa Wrestles Late In College During Senior Year​​

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March 6, 2021

Rick Chipman is a grandpa who wrestles at the University of Southern Maine, with a full scholarship, and he was named co-captain of the Huskies. This grandpa wrestles during his senior year at age 44.

Last weekend, he finished his four-year collegiate wrestling career at the NCAA Division III Northeast regional tournament. Wrestling with a fractured rib and at 174 pounds — two classes above his weight to make room for a teammate at 157 — Chipman lost on opening day, according to the Wall Street Journal. Chipman finished his collegiate career with a record of 32-46 and no postseason wins.

Chipman was a high school wrestler in a small town in Maine, nearly winning the state championship twice. He had dreams of wrestling in the Olympics, but Chipman’s high school coach advised him to try wrestling in college first. Life happened to Chipman, as it often does, and circumstances forced him to drop out of college in his first year and start a career as an insurance salesman, and eventually a firefighter and paramedic.

Chipman had always wondered how good he could have been had he wrestled in college, and at age 40, he enrolled at Southern Maine to prepare for his life after firefighting. Because of the NCAA’s rules on eligibility, he also got the chance to wrestle again.

He wanted it so bad that he added wrestling to a full course load, 42 hours a week as a firefighter and one full-day weekly shift as a paramedic. Despite a less-than-stellar freshman season in which he was “ostracized by his teammates, ridiculed by his son (a fellow student on campus) and clobbered by opponents,” Chipman persisted and will graduate from the university this spring.

The grandpa made the dean’s list each semester, and he plans to enter law school, at age 45, in the fall.