Crawfordville, FL - Inside Wakulla's wrestling room, Zach Malik, Carl Adkison and Kevon White lead the team. They've been together throughout high school.
"It's good to have them here," Adkison said. "Most of them are state qualifiers. Zach's third place. So it helps me out a lot to wrestle him."
About six months from now, they'll be Marines together.
"We talk about it almost everyday," White said. "Just talk about what it's going to be like, what our jobs are going to be like."
It was a decision Malik and White made three months ago. Adkison followed a month later.
"It's been a delight coaching the three of them and just watching them turn into soliders now, it's just incredible," Wakulla Head Coach William Pafford said.
"I knew they'd be going with me and I think it's going to be a lot better that they'll be going at the same time as me," Malik said.
But Malik initially grappled with the decision to attend college. He's one of Wakulla's all-time best wrestlers with more than 100 career wins.
"I just want my name to stay up there forever, as long as this school's around," Malik said.
All three realized the lessons they've learned on the mats are best served representing the country.
"All the mental toughness you gotta have because to be a wrestler you gotta work hard and be dedicated," White said, "and it's going to be like that to be a Marine."
"I don't care about W's and L's," Pafford said. "I care about turning them into men and leaders. And they're born for it."
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