Hilltop High School senior Dominic Gurule-Metzig is a man for all seasons. That goes with the territory as a multi-sport athlete.
He has competed in football, wrestling, track and field, swim and dive, judo and karate. He’s obviously a well-rounded sportsman. Until the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, however, each sport had its own season.
“I have always done multiple sports, but the seasons rarely interfered with each other,” he said. “But more recently doing three sports at the same time while attending school was not the easiest.”
He still excelled.
Gurule-Metzig finished runner-up at this year’s Mesa League boys diving championships, earned MVP defensive honors on the school’s football team with 37 tackles in four games and scored a perfect 16-0 season on the wrestling mat as the Metro Conference and San Diego Section Division III champion at 152 pounds.
He was unscored upon this season in 15 wrestling matches.
The physical aspect of competing non-stop in overlapping seasons this spring has to be grueling enough. The mental aspect might be even more challenging to maintain that focus.
“My mentality is to just get the work done, so you can relax later,” he said. “Pain and suffering are only temporary, but you gotta put the work in to benefit from it.”
In the beginning
Gurule-Metzig started his amazing athletic journey playing soccer with his sisters Valerie and Isabella at the age of 4.
“Although playing soccer was fun, I knew it was not my sport,” he said. “Shortly afterward I started playing club football with my dad being the coach which gave me the advantage because I was coached on and off the field. My dad motivated me in football because he is one of my role models and it’s crazy how much I am just like him in so many different ways. At the age of 7, my uncle Mike invited me to go wrestle with my cousin Mikey.
“At the time I thought wrestling was like WWE and that I would be jumping off ropes and 619 people like Rey Mysterio, but to my surprise, it was nothing like that. Nonetheless, me and my cousin were naturals to the sport and immediately fell in love with winning. At the time I started I really did not have any motivation for it, but as time went on, I got addicted to the feeling of winning that gold medal.
“In my sophomore year, I decided to do swim and dive to stay lean for wrestling and I was not expecting to become a diver, but one day at practice coach Ernie (Ernie Medina), let everyone try diving off the diving board. My first-ever dive off a diving board I did a front-one-and-a-half and the coach immediately put me on the dive team.
“I’ve been competing in wrestling and football ever since I was a kid. There are countless tournaments and football games that I have competed in. I have met so many awesome people I can call friends. I try to maintain a 3.5 or higher throughout my academic career and my favorite subject in school would have to be science and engineering. Both my parents were active in sports growing up. My dad played football for University City and his stats were pretty good and my mom cheered for Hilltop High School.”
But there have been obstacles to overcome along the way that have helped shape his psyche — and outlook on life.
“There’s nothing else I can do but live life to its fullest,” the Lancer senior said.
That has been an understatement.
Pride and honor
Gurule-Metzig, at 5-7 and 140 pounds, said he approaches training for each sport differently.
“I think there is a big difference because nothing I do matches the intensity that I put into the wrestling room,” he said. “Nothing compares to the thrill of hitting someone on the football field. Nothing compares to the nervousness of being on the diving board while the whole swim team watches you.
“For me, optimism is what drives me on the playing field. Whether that be in the middle of a game or a wrestling match and just knowing that one move or a good drive can change the outcome of the match or game is very important to me and it gives me the drive to give my best.”
He admits his favorite sport is wrestling.
“Because no matter what anyone says it is only me on the mat with my opponent and I love the satisfaction of knowing that I won because of the work I put in,” he said.
“Wrestling has always had my back for the past 10 years. I learned that win or lose wrestling will always give back to me, whether that be a gold medal or more experience and drive to win the next one. Wrestling has taught me to control my emotions and the discipline that’s not only helping me now but will continue to do so from now on and has truly shaped me to be the person I am today and for that I am truly grateful.
“The countless number of friendships and memories I have made because of wrestling is just another reason for me to thank wrestling and. although this is my last high school year wrestling. I will not be sad but grateful for everything wrestling has given me.”
But he takes pride in everything he has accomplished — not just on the mat.
“My most recent accomplishments that I am proud of is being first team all-league for defense and getting most valuable defensive player for my team, as well as taking first at Metros and earning the outstanding wrestler award for pinning everyone in the first round,” he enumerated.
“I feel I have taken the brotherhood and camaraderie from football and it has completely influenced who I am today. Wrestling has given me one of the toughest mindsets and has taught me how to overcome adversity and to just keep moving forward no matter how bad things may be.”
Gurule-Metzig is also involved in the school’s associated student body program and was named homecoming king.
“It has been fun considering the year of COVID-19,” he said.
He will be furthering my education at the community college level and hopes to get into an engineering program. He plans to get a real estate license in the near future.
He does have words of wisdom for younger student-athletes who are considering the multi-sport route in high school.
“Always remember to be student first, athlete second,” he said. “Do the sports you love but try different sports, too. You never know you might have a lot of fun and be good at it.”