Making the most of second chances: UW-Madison wrestler overcomes adversity on, off mat

Video Credit: WISC - Published
Making the most of second chances: UW-Madison wrestler overcomes adversity on, off mat

Making the most of second chances: UW-Madison wrestler overcomes adversity on, off mat

Stepping into the space where the UW-Madison wrestling team practices is like entering a sauna.  The air is thick and humid, the energy is sky-high and at the center of it all is a graduate student named Seth Gross.

We don't hear much about wisconsin wrestling... but there's an all- american stand- out on the team..

Who wouldn't have been here..

Without someone believing in him.

As dannika lewis and photojournalist steph olson show us... it's one thing to get a second chance... but what you do with it... makes all the difference.

Nats - wrestling team running coach bono: there is a second chance, and if you do get that second chance, you've got to take it and run with it.

1511 nats - wrestling team running the thing is... when it comes to wrestling... there's not a ton of forward motion.

But if you get some space... a little room to advance... it can mean everything.

Seth: 0509 i knew once i had that opportunity, i was going to give it everything i've got to go all in and give it the very best i can.

15 seth gross does that... every... single... round... seth: 06 you have to control the little things that you can.

An n-c-aa champion... a member of the u-s-a junior world team... an aspiring olympian... gross is a man of faith... the mats... his second sanctuary... and a place of salvation from the past.

Because just as one move can make the difference... a misstep... can cost you just as much.

Nats - news clips from the mats on the top of his game as a hawkeye... gross was arrested with two of his teammates... and suspended from the wrestling team.

He found himself back in his minnesota hometown... working at target... far from his dream.

Seth: 1030 i think about that a lot, and it's just crazy the opportunities i've been given through everything that's happened and thankful to be where i'm at.

37 coach bono: 1537 i want to be able to give someone a second chance.

I do want to be able to take care of somebody who is down and out chris bono was at south dakota state at the time... looking for strong recruits.

Coach bono: 13 looked me dead in the eye and basically said, i did everything you heard about, i made the mistakes, and if you give me a second chance, i will never disappoint you or ever let it happen again.

33 coach believed him... knowing some things... coach bono: 1812 hustle, effort, attitude. can't teach.

Still... gross had one more challenge to pin... his health.

Seth: it was out of my control completely.

At iowa, it was a mistake that i made that caused that, and now, it was something that i couldn't really do anything about.

0611 a spinal injury gross had suffered in high school progressed to the point where he'd wrestle one day... and barely be able to stand the next.

The solution meant months off the mat... and sitting out his senior season.

Seth: 0754 i specifically remember one doctor saying, you know, we don't typically see athletes compete at a high level after this surgery, and that's something that's kind of in the back of my head pushing me every day.

I like to prove people wrong and go out there and do what you're not supposed to do.

0808 it was coach bono who called him with another opportunity... the n-c-aa let him transfer to u-w for grad school and compete one more year.

1826 you can't ask for anything more.

Which brings us here... gross' old stomping grounds... where he's now competing for a new team... as a new person.

Seth: 06 it was all about keeping a positive attitude knowing that it's going to get better.

59 his undefeated streak as a badger... is broken... but that faith... is certainly not.

Seth: 1013 no matter what obstacles in life you're going through or things that you're struggling with, it's always going to be a day-by-day process of getting to where you want to be.

20 because every day... every match... is a w... when you're not wrestling with your past... but pushing... fighting... for a future... proving you're worth that second chance.

Bono: 13 to this day, it's been the best decision in my life right now.

44 the next goal for gross... an olympic gold medal in wrestling.

He has already qualified for the 20-20 olympic trials.

Those happen in april..

So good luck to him for the rest of the badger

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