Ever Changing, Always Evolving.

“Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is a continuous state of evolving, refining, adapting, enhancing…changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.” – Steve Maraboli

For those of you who know Pat Lugo, this quote truly embodies who he is, not only as an athlete, but a person. He’s never satisfied, working harder to not only better himself but everyone around him. He’s the kind of wrestler that most coaches in the world wish they had. An example of leadership, discipline, someone who responds to pressure rather than reacts to it. There’s no mats, gyms or arenas too big for this guy. You’d never know that just talking with him. He’s calm, collected and well spoken. He gets the big picture. Pat Lugo wants to grow the sport of wrestling, his love. He wants to start where he grew up.

Pat Lugo grew up in South Florida, specifically Homestead. He began wrestling in 2001 at the age of 4. The wrestling scene in this area was bleak. There weren’t a lot of programs as the sport was still in it’s infancy stages back then. Pat’s father, in an effort to get him some practice partners and an effort to grow the sport founded a club. One club turned into a second which was larger and it led Lugo to success. Pat was a 4 time place winner in the state of Florida and a two time champion. He knew he was destined for better. His work ethic and drive would push him to Edinboro University.

Lugo states, Edinboro’s  coach at the time, Tim Flynn had a lot to do with his early success in college. “He was a great mentor, made you look at things differently.” After Flynn’s eventual departure to West Virginia University, Pat decided he had a bigger calling, more important goals he wanted to achieve. He needed somewhere that would align with his goals and a training facility that would push him to be his best. Enter the University of Iowa.

I’ll spare you all the details. Pat Lugo made a great decision. He ended his college career being a two time All American for the Hawkeyes, winning a Big 10 title as well as a Midlands title. He wanted to be better, push his limits, he did just that. Iowa provided some of the best training partners in the world and with Pat’s self motivation and strive to be the best, he made the most of it. Pretty impressive from a guy that grew up in a state that didn’t wrestle much. That says something about him. It shows his tenacity, the mindset it takes to be great. Pat Lugo is as mentally tough as anyone I’ve ever known.

Pat then decided to join the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. When asked his favorite style of wrestling, he stated “ It’s all the same to me. I’m a competitor. I train the same for every match.” “I don’t have a favorite style, just grateful to compete.” He was afforded many great opportunities, wrestling in countries like France, Egypt, and Poland. That builds character, toughness and grit. Those are all qualities that Pat Lugo had already, these trips and tournaments only enhanced those characteristics. In 2023, Lugo decided it was time to retire from Senior Level competition. It wasn’t results oriented, rather a feeling he had internally that it was time to do more.

That feeling Lugo had led him back to South Florida. It led him to starting the Miami Hawks Wrestling Club. The passion within him grew as he wanted to develop the talent and grow the sport in the state that provided him so much as  a youth wrestler. He knew he had the  experience, knowledge, and drive to do this. He relied on some former teammates that had opened some clubs in other state for advice. He wasn’t too proud for that. He took trips to coach, teach but most importantly learn.  Pat said, “ I want to be a mentor, someone positive in a young person’s life. Seeing kids grow from their first practice to placing at states and beyond, that is why I do this.” “I want to create opportunities for the youth.”

Pat is well aware of where his team is located. Miami, some of the nations best athletes come from Florida, specifically South Florida. “If I can get some kids who aren’t necessarily football, basketball or baseball stars to just come out to wrestle, I know I can make them great.” Pat isn’t alone in his Hawks Wrestling Club venture. He’s got a great lineup of coaches, working with him.

Right now Pat has put together a wrestling camp for not only boys but girls. The clinicians include Spencer Lee, Austin DeSanto, Michael Kemerer, Max Murin, Forrest Molinari, Nosomy Pozo as well as his own high school coach, Humberto Reyna. To say that this is an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the countries best coaches is a gross understatement. This guy is making it happen. He knows the value each of these technicians offer.  Lugo credits Reyna for really turning him into not only the wrestler he is but the man that he is today. That’s a big statement from such an accomplished wrestler. That line up of coaches provides  an opportunity not just for locals to go learn from the best of the best but kids that are willing to travel as well. This camp will take place June 6th-9th. It’s incredible the amount of detail that has gone into this. If you miss it for any reason this summer, please keep an eye out. This will be an annual camp.

What Pat Lugo is doing for Florida wrestling is commendable, hell it’s inspiring, truly a great thing to watch. The best part is he’s doing it for all the right reasons, a better person than any of his other accolades will  ever convey.  That says all you need to know about Pat Lugo.

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Based in Western PA. Right in the heart of WPIAL country, Todd brings an insider’s view from the country’s epicenter  of wrestling. He’s excited to build on the TKDWN tradition of starting with the story first. The athletes, the coaches, their families and supporters, there is no shortage of stories to tell. And Todd will bring his unique perspective to help us continue to deliver top notch content for the world’s greatest sport!