TV20 Meldon Law Scholar Athlete: TJ Bowen (Buchholz)

Bobcat wrestler tackles life and opponents head on
Buchholz athlete pins down the books and opponents
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 6:47 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Buchholz High School senior TJ Bowen never backs down from his competition.

The 140 pound wrestler has been on the Bobcats team since he was a freshman, and believes the sport creates an appreciation for accountability.

“If you’re out there, like, you make a mistake, you have to make up for it,” said Buchholz High School wrestler TJ Bowen. “Where as, like, other sports you have teammates to help you, but ultimately, it comes down to how hard you wanna work and how hard you wanna push yourself to be good.”

While Bowen admits he’s thoroughly exhausted after every practice and match, he also feels there’s nothing more gratifying.

“It’s like the toughest sport there is. It’s also one of the most rewarding.”

On top of going 35-17 in his final season for the beige and black, Bowen qualified for the state tournament. And while he didn’t place in the competition, he still made the most of his last year for Buchholz.

His recipe for success is simple and effective, just like the wrestler himself.

“Hard work is kind of a good mindset, so I kinda have that mindset for a lot of stuff.”

But Bowen isn’t just a standout athlete, he’s equally accomplished in the classroom. He holds a 4.87 weighted G.P.A. thanks to taking college level courses since he was a freshman.

Earning the highest marks possible has always been something the senior has strived for.

“Wrestling is a big part of my life right now, but at the end of the day, my future is also gonna involve more than just wrestling. It’s gonna involve a job and going to college and everything. And academics has always been really important to me.”

The drive and determination to be the best at anything he attempts is why his coach believes he’s in a class of his own.

“For me, the true indicator is, would I trust TJ with my 2-year-old daughter and TJ’s on the short list of guys who’s an awesome human being,” said Buchholz Wrestling Coach Thomas Pankey. “His work ethic is unmatched.”

And since Pankey’s been coaching the Bobcats for more than a decade, he’s seen more than few student-athletes who have left a legacy for others to follow.

“It’s really proud to hear how well he does. I get a lot of great compliments on him. And to be fair, one thing we’re most proud is our culture here. All of our kids usually get really high marks and do really well here, so TJ’s set that example.”

Bowen’s willingness to devote his time and energy into everything does sets him apart from everyone else in Pankey’s mind.

“If you could take what TJ has and give it to every kid, it would be the easiest job in the world. TJ’s just got it.”

TJ Bowen’s incredible accomplishments on the mat and in the classroom have earned him the honor of being named the TV20 Melton Law Scholar Athlete of the Week.

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