Redshirt Senior Finds Niche in Wrestling
By Catherine George, Assistant Sports Editor
After his poor attempt at playing baseball, Christopher Giddens Jr. found his niche in high school, wrestling.
Giddens, 21, has an older sister, Brittany, and is the son of Chris and Tina Giddens.
A native of Winston Salem, N.C., Giddens is a graduate student at UNCP and is on the final wrestling season of his career.
The criminal justice alumnus is now pursuing a graduate degree in public administration.
On top of trying baseball, Giddens also played football for four years. During high school, he started wrestling to stay in shape for football.
However, the roles soon reversed when he fell in love with wrestling.
“What I really enjoy the most about the sport is seeing how my hard work pays off. Anytime I win a match or a tournament, regardless of size, it’s something that will go down in my memories,” Giddens said.
One of the matches that deeply marked Giddens’s memory was the match against Newberry during his redshirt junior season.
“The score was tied 15-15 going into my match and I defeated the No.2 ranked heavyweight in the country to win the dual for the team. After I won, chaos ensued in a packed gym, emotions were hard to control for everyone there; it was big” Giddens said.
Giddens has had a successful career as a wrestler at UNCP.
He is currently ranked as No. 6 in the nation in the heavyweight category.
The graduate student has also performed in the classroom. During his sophomore and junior years, he was recognized as a member of the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll.
Giddens derives the inspiration to perform in every aspects of his life from his father, Chris Giddens.
“My dad has been through it all, multiple surgeries and illnesses, and still continues to fight for what he loves,” Giddens said. “He has taught me a lot, not only in the sport but also in life.
“Quite honestly, he, along with my mother and sister, are the reason I am still in college and doing what I love so much.”
When he started his career at UNCP, Giddens was not sure if he would fit as a Brave, he was even thinking about leaving.
Now, as a redshirt senior, he does not want to leave.
“Being a Brave turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve evolved as a person here and I owe it all to the wrestling team, the institution, and the great people I’ve met here,” Giddens said. “Whenever the day comes that I will no longer be an athlete for UNCP, I will take an insurmountable amount of experiences with me.”
Although Giddens has acquired several academic and athletic achievements during his time as a Brave, he said the greatest thing he will take from his college experience is the friends, mentors and memories he made.
“I am thankful and lucky to be a Brave,” he said.
Giddens will be back to compete in the NCAA Midwest Super Regional regionals Feb. 27 and 28 at the English E. Jones center.
After he finishes his wrestling career he plans to work for a local government agency and eventually for the federal government.
“Later in life I would love to utilize what I’ve learned during my tenure at UNCP and own a small business or perhaps work in the private business sector,” Giddens said.