The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features a Diplomat who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition.
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Edgar Garcia '18 has come along way in Franklin & Marshall's wrestling program.
He traveled to America as a toddler after his parents left Mexico for better lives here. And the 5-foot-2-inch grappler started for four years in the 125-pound class, emerging as a leader on the team.
"I enjoy a challenge," said Garcia, who wrestled at Avon Grove (Pa.) High School before coming to F&M. "I wanted to be part of a top wrestling program, and I wanted a good academic experience. I found that here and I enjoyed being part of a team with such great guys."
The Diplomats compete at the Division III level in all sports except wrestling—which competes at the Division I level as a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA)— and F&M is the only institution in collegiate athletics that can make that claim.
One of Garcia's high points during his senior year was defeating his opponent from Penn State, often the No. 1-ranked squad in the country.
"That was a satisfying win," recalled Garcia, "but I compete primarily because I like a challenge."
Garcia's parents came to this country seeking economic opportunity and a place to raise their three children. They chose Pennsylvania because they had relatives here. Initially, Edgar's parents did agricultural work.
"I am very happy that I grew up in Pennsylvania," Garcia said. "I learned a lot from working with my dad on farms or landscaping. Plus, Pennsylvania is the best wrestling state in the country.
I have family in Mexico City, and all of my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins live in Mexico. I've gone back to see them a few times but I haven't gone back since freshman year of high school. I think about them daily and truly miss them all."
Over the years, Garcia's father became a welder and his mother learned to be a baker; trades they taught themselves. Because his hometown is about an hour away from Lancaster, his family saw many of the Diplomats' home matches as regulars in the Mayser Center bleachers.
Edgar became the first in his family to earn a college degree when he crossed the Commencement stage in May with a bachelor's degree in public health (biology). He plans attend medical school, but first he will work for Dr. Carl Becker, an alum and orthopedic surgeon in Lancaster.
"One of the things I will be doing at Dr. Becker's office is working with his Hispanic patients," said Garcia, who is fluent in Spanish. "During the year I will apply to medical school."
During his time at F&M, Garcia tenaciously worked to stay in shape and get better every year.
"Edgar was a hard worker and a leader on the team," said head coach Mike Rogers. "He gave his best effort in every match, and was a great teammate."
Some wrestlers shed pounds so they can compete in a class that would be below their actual weight. However, Garcia stays around 127 pounds during the offseason, giving him the disadvantage of competing against larger opponents who cut weight before matches.
"I am a little undersized, but to me, it's about the challenge," said Garcia. "In wrestling or in the classroom, I like to be challenged."
Whether studying in the library for an arduous exam or training on the mat for a difficult Division I opponent, his time at F&M has fully prepared Garcia for the new challenges that lay ahead. He certainly has come a long way. And, if his diligent four years spent at the College are an indicator, his grit and determination is sure carry him much further.