HOLLYWOOD — Next summer Sammy Micco Sanchez plans to return to Canada as a defending champion in the Native American Indigenous Games. But before he hits the mats in Toronto, Sammy has plenty of other athletic endeavors that will keep him busy, notably his junior seasons in football and wrestling at Fort Gibson High School in Oklahoma.
It’s been an active offseason, too, for Sammy. After he helped Fort Gibson finish runner-up as a team in Oklahoma’s state duals and he placed as an individual at states, Sammy hit the road for wrestling tournaments in Missouri and Virginia.
In April, Sammy finished second at Brute Nationals wrestling championships and earned another All-American wrestling honor.
“Two years in a row he’s an All-American, which is pretty special,” Sammy Johnson said.
As Fort Gibson’s head wrestling coach and assistant football coach, Johnson has witnessed first-hand how much Sammy has moved up the charts.
“He’s improving every time he steps on the football field and on the wrestling mat,” Johnson said. “Wrestling-wise, for starting as late as he did and doing the things he’s doing, he’s doing an amazing job. On the defensive side [in football], he’s doing special things.”
So special, in fact, that Sammy was invited to attend Oklahoma State University’s mini-football camp for high school juniors and seniors in late July. The camp in Stillwater is led by OSU head coach Mike Gundy.
While Sammy has started to earn more recognition and accolades in his sports, he’s making sure he remains grounded. He said the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has become a bigger part of his life.
“I’m working on my FCA thing, trying to give more glory to God,” he said. “I went to FCA camp this year and I realized that I loved it and it’s fun to be part of it. That’s something I really enjoy doing.”
Sammy also enjoys winning, which he did a lot of during his trip to Independence, Missouri for Brute. He won a handful of matches – mostly by pins – before losing to a fellow Oklahoma high school wrestler in the final.
“It didn’t go my way in the final match. I thought I had points I should have scored, but they didn’t give it to me,” Sammy said.
In Virginia, Sammy was seeded No. 4 at the NHSCA tournament. He reached the quarterfinals and held a big lead but lost late in the match, an experience he said he will learn from and apply to his future matches.
At 16, Sammy is 6-foot. His weight fluctuates with his sports seasons. Heavier for football, lighter for wrestling.
“For a little while, I was losing weight and I didn’t know why. I went from like 210 to 185,” Sammy said while visiting the Hollywood Reservation with his family during the Fourth of July holiday. “My coach told me I need to get back up. I think I’m at a solid 195, 199 now. Hopefully I will get back up to 210 for football.”
Fort Gibson’s football team is slated to start practicing in mid-August.
(The location of the OSU football camp was incorrect in an earlier version of this story).