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Scholar Stories: How Accountability in Wrestling has Helped Lombard Excel Off Mat


Scholar Stories: How Accountability in Wrestling has Helped Lombard Excel Off Mat

Continuing the series that began in 2016-17, each Wednesday will highlight a Michigan student-athlete and their academic pursuits. These are our Scholar-Athlete Stories, presented by Absopure.

By Jonah Wolf

There’s more to sports than the competition.

Wrestling since the age of 6, Nick Lombard has always welcomed both the team environment and individuality of the sport. Not only has Lombard shined on his way to competing at the University of Michigan, but the sport has led him to greatness off the mat as well.

A native of Monroe Township, N.J., Lombard moved from one block M to another. Lombard learned about U-M from alum Sal Profaci (2015-19), who also was from Monroe Township. After Profaci committed and it was Lombard’s time to decide, Michigan was already one of his top choices.

“I have been wearing the block M ever since I started high school and when it was my time to make the decision, the academic resources and athletics across campus made things easy for me,” he said. “I get to be surrounded by student-athletes who want to be great on and off the field.”

Lombard soon will graduate with a degree in business administration, but he was not always set on joining the Ross School of Business. Going into his first year at U-M, Lombard kept an open mind with regards to seeking out career paths. After learning more about the business school and taking the required courses, Lombard wanted to apply and was accepted into the rigorous curriculum of Ross.

His interest in supply chain management and operations stems from his father.

“My father owned a logistics company that he built from the ground up,” he explained. “I already had some background with how logistics is involved in the supply chain management and operations side of business. After taking an operations class, I became [even] more interested.”

The first transition year into Ross was definitely trying for Lombard, learning new materials but getting to meet new people. Through balancing time and maintaining a routine, not only has Lombard settled in as a business student — he has thrived. Off the mat, Lombard has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors (2018-19) as well as the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award (2018-19), two awards that require sustaining a minimum 3.0 grade-point average.

Lombard credits the sport of wrestling for his ability to succeed academically.

“The sport itself teaches you an incredible amount, from learning how to hold yourself accountable if you perform poorly on an exam to improving your mental toughness and having the confidence to keep moving forward.”

That word — accountability — comes up often for Lombard. Of all the lessons he has learned, it is the one that he has been able to consistently apply both on the mat and in the classroom.

“If you make a mistake, it’s on you, you have to own up to it,” he said. “Wrestling might be a team sport, but at the end of the day, it’s just you and one other person on the mat.”

“I take what the sport teaches me into my academics. If you are not doing well in a class, it is easy to blame everything else aside from yourself. Ultimately, it is really all on you. Part of the reason why I came to Michigan was because of the resources, people and coaches available. There is no reason not to succeed.”

Wrestling has been more than just a sport for Lombard. While competing over 30 times in the 149-pound weight class for U-M through his first three seasons, Lombard is relishing his time as a Wolverine.

“We have so much team camaraderie,” Lombard said. “These guys are my brothers for life.”

Lombard hopes to help others learn and grow through the sport of wrestling. Last summer, he volunteered with Beat the Streets, a non-profit organization based in New York City. The organization aims to develop the human and athletic potential of urban youth through the sport of wrestling.

While volunteering, Lombard worked with high school students to prep them for the SAT while helping them improve their character skills.

“Beat the Streets does a lot to help young kids,” he said. “The sport has given me so much, and to help give back is a great feeling.”

Studying business has created great opportunities for Lombard, who is now considering utilizing his fifth-year option to explore MBA graduate programs. One specific master’s program, supply chain management, has piqued his interest. In one class Lombard is taking this semester, he has the opportunity to meet weekly with companies, gaining real-world experience through efforts to help provide them with sufficient ideas.

“One thing that I have been working on in class is this really great hands-on project with actual companies,” Lombard said. “We are looking at their supply chain and operations, finding sources where they are producing waste and identifying ways for the companies to become more efficient and sustainable.”

While Lombard is keeping his options open and exploring opportunities in the business world, his current focus is staying prepared for the possibility of next season.

“Whether we wrestle this season or not, we are coming in every day and just trying to get better. We are managing the situations we can control, staying safe and improving together as a team.”

Lombard is looking forward to what comes next and is grateful for the opportunities he has had as Wolverine.

“To me, Michigan is the opportunity to be a part of one big amazing family, and you can see that from the numerous alumni that continue to show their support once they leave here,” he said. “It has allowed me to meet the most amazing people and develop relationships that will last a lifetime, which I am so grateful for. The phrase ‘Forever and Always’ has real meaning. From academics, athletics and everything in between, Michigan offers the best resources. It has an amazing history and culture of success which is special to be a part of.”

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