Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wrestling Was His Vital Steppingstone

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wrestling Was His Vital Steppingstone

Article excerpt

When David Germakian's wrestling career came to an abrupt close, the door to his future was just beginning to open.

Looking to qualify for the 2003 NCAA championship tournament, the Pascack Valley graduate and Harvard senior faced a showdown with another New Jersey grappler, Lehigh's Terrance Clendenin of Toms River, in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association quarterfinals.

"We both shot [in takedown attempts]," Germakian, 34, recalled of their head-to-head collision that left both stunned and him with a severe concussion and a loss.

"It was pretty quick; very early on in the first period," he said, managing a laugh. "I was having a pretty solid year, but there are so many variables and there was plenty of stiff competition in my weight class [125]."

Germakian earned a degree in pre-med biology, but chose not to go into medicine. Instead, commissioned as a Naval officer through the ROTC, he served as a lieutenant on the destroyer USS Preble out of San Diego and earned his master's degree in systems technology through the Navy. He was deployed twice during the Persian Gulf War, and as he often says, "Wrestling opened a lot of doors."

For example, a teammate who was a senior when Germakian was a freshman, had been hired at EDENS, a retail shopping center developer in Washington, D.C. The teammate was so impressive, the company owner said he preferred to hire yet another Harvard wrestler. Germakian was the choice.

A native of Hillsdale, Germakian reveres all the coaches who guided him. He credits his high school coaches, Gary Beyer and Scott Kelly, and Harvard coach Jay Weiss for inspiring him. Another key mentor was a man he considers more as an uncle, Bill Savage, who wrestled at Bergenfield High with Germakian's father, Gregory, and coached at Paramus and Elmwood Park.

Germakian refers to each of those men as mentors, and they all emphasized hard work and unity. …

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