ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- Ever since Real Woods was a kid, he always wanted to go to Stanford University. That dream has come true for the now high school junior, as he verbally committed on Sunday to attend the University after he graduates.
Woods is an Albuquerque native and started wrestling at the age of six-years-old, but when he started middle school he met a coach that would change his life. “I was in town training Jon Jones and Holly Holm, getting those guys ready for world title fights and in my down time I have a passion for wrestling and we invited a bunch of youth local boys to the gym and I met real woods”, said Montini Catholic High school/ Jackson Wink Wrestling Coach, Israel “Izzy” Martinez.
“He and I would work together a lot. So, we built this connection and we had the idea that we should move out to Illinois, and go to his high school because he is the head coach at Montini Catholic High School”, said Real Woods.
It was a move that could help Woods in the long run. Montini is known for its academics and Real currently holds a 4.0 GPA. The school is also known for its wrestling team, which has taken state 6 out of the last 7 years in Illinois. Woods himself is a 2-time state champion and a state runner-up in Illinois, but making that leap to uproot from his home was not only tough on him but his family as well.
“That move was huge, you know it made a big difference in all of our lives and a lot of heartaches you know, but eventually you know it pays off”, said Woods. “It was hard. I cried every single day the first year, and I am not kidding. I did not miss a day when I didn’t cry. I have gotten used to it, but it’s not any easier”, said Real’s Mother Jennifer Woods.
In the summers Real will take time off from wrestling to spend time with his family, but the 2-time state champ also takes the time to train with some of the world’s best fighters. Fighters like Holly Holm, Jon Jones, and Cub Swanson. “It’s amazing you know, to be around those people, and they are champions, and if you be around champions you soar with the eagles you know”, said Real.
“He has been able to handle the famous fighters, those type of athletes because he trains just as hard as them, he works just as hard as them”, said Coach Izzy. UFC Featherweight Cub Swanson has known Real for a couple of years now and knew from the moment he met him that he was the real deal. “Yeah the first thing I noticed about Real was his mental toughness, and in our sport, we are attracted to that because there are a lot of people that are great athletic talents, but it’s the people that are mentally tough and willing to do whatever it takes. You know, we recognize and appreciate that”, said Cub Swanson.