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April 24, 2012
By Megan Akers
Josue Gaytan and Andrew Morales, members of the Nevada Boxing Team, a club sport, achieved the coveted National Champion title in their respective weight classes at the 2012 National Collegiate Boxing Championships.
The Boxing Championships, held at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 5-7, was an eventful weekend for both Gaytan and Morales. After months of extensive training and numerous competitions, Morales defeated Brandon Knox of East Carolina by decision (5-0) to defend his 125-pound title, while 185-pound Gaytan beat defending national champ Ryan Johnson of Army, also by decision (5-0).
The win was the best reward possible for the arduous work Morales and Gaytan have put into developing their boxing skills to peak levels, particularly in the last year. For the two, 19-year-old, University of Nevada, Reno students, college has been a balancing act between work, school and boxing. Despite the weight of this trifecta of responsibility, Morales and Gaytan have maintained positive attitudes and good grades throughout their journey to becoming National Champions.
"Being dedicated to something like boxing and training all the time has helped me become more disciplined as a person," Gaytan said. "Somehow, putting so much time into boxing has given me the focus I needed to become a better student."
Gaytan, who has been boxing on and off since he was 11, rededicated himself to the sport just a year ago after watching his past training partner, Morales, win the 125-pound title in 2011. Gaytan began training with Morales and the Nevada Boxing Team that summer with one goal in sight: to become a National Champion just as Morales had. Throughout the last year, both students' spent countless hours doing grueling cross training, fueled by the idea of proving at the National Championships that they are top, national collegiate boxers.
Gaytan and Morales' dual wins helped the Boxing Team clutch fourth in overall team standings. Morales was additionally named Outstanding Boxer for the lightweight divisions. The Nevada Boxing Team is nationally recognized for producing quality boxers such as Gaytan and Morales and, as a member of the national governing associations for collegiate boxing, adheres to NCAA eligibility rules for collegiate student athletes. Mike Martino, boxing team coach and University alumnus, is impressed with the students' performances at this year's National Championships.
"If you take a close look at the overall team standings you can get a better picture of just how much Nevada accomplished," Martino said. "Nevada was the top non-military Academy institution, finishing only behind the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy."
Gaytan and Morales' early success in the collegiate boxing world has created a bright future for the two University students, who are thrilled with their present accomplishments and fully intend on defending their National Championships at the 2013 National Collegiate Boxing Championships. As for now, it will soon be back to the training grind for Gaytan, Morales and their fellow teammates on the Nevada Boxing Team, all who have their sights set on challenging the Military Academies at next year's National Championship for one of the top three spots in the overall team standing.
Megan Akers is a student writer for University Media Relations.