When Boonville wrestler Charlie Pumel signed a national letter of intent with Central Methodist University in Fayette, he was doing so knowing that he would be the first wrestling class in Eagles history.
In front of friends and family during the signing in the media center at Boonville High School, Pumel said he chose CMU because it has the major he wanted and the campus is very welcoming.
A four-year starter for the Boonville Pirates wrestling team, Pumel leaves the program with some big-time credentials while qualifying for state two years-once placing fourth-and finishing with the most wins in Boonville High School history at 141-46.
Former Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock said this is something that Charlie has talked about his entire career in getting a chance to go to college and wrestle.
“It is something we talked about face to face several times and he mentioned the fact that Central Methodist was talking about opening up wrestling and I told him I thought it would be a good fit for him,” Stock said. “Charlie is going to do well with them because of his work ethic. He is definitely one of the hardest working kids I have seen in a room and wrestling work ethic gets you a long way. He has a great amount of experience and his work ethic will help him over the top.”
Dr. Joe Parisi, vice president of enrollment management at CMU, said it’s a big deal starting a program from scratch. “It’s not just recruiting to a program, you are recruiting the person, the individual, the work ethic and Charlie brings a whole package to our program here,” Parisi said. “When you think about prototypical type of student athletes that you want to build a foundation program from, Charlie exudes that foundational aspect. I think for several reasons he will have an opportunity to be very successful in our program. He will have a very competitive schedule right from the jump. One of the things that I love about Charlie, I truly feel his best wrestling is yet to come. Getting him in workout groups that are all just as skilled as he is, that’s when the magic happens. This is a big deal for Howard and Cooper County for wrestling, bringing youth wrestling to our area to help support the college programs simultaneously providing wrestling within those communities at that level and then my hope is that they continue to flourish in even some of the high schools that don’t have high school programs.”
Pumel also has history on his side while participating in wrestling for the past 14 years.
Pumel, however, said he feels like wrestling more people at his level or better will help him in college.
“I want to improve as a wrestler and put myself out there,” Pumel said of his short-term goals. “As for my long-term goals, by my fourth year I want to be one of the best.”
Although Pumel wound up choosing CMU, he said he also looked into Missouri Valley College in Marshall-who is also a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
“CMU approached us,” Pumel said. “They watched me wrestle and then looked at my record.”
Of course Pumel accomplished a lot in his four-year career at Boonville while hitting the 40 win mark twice. However as far as the highlight of his career, he said as a team and individual going to state had to rank right up there.
“I would have liked to have placed at the Virginia Beach National Tournament,” Pumel said, “but as far as what I am going to miss at CMU, I am going to miss spending time with my coaches and teammates.”
As for the biggest influence on him in wrestling, Pumel said his dad is the person who supported him the most. “He has coached me my whole career or been there in the stands,” Pumel said.